Easy Bruschetta

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Bruschetta is and italian antipasto  that boasts a  mixture of chopped tomatoes, balsamic, basil, and garlic, spooned over olive oil brushed slices of toasted baguette or rustic bread. It’s like summer on toast!

You can  prepare the topping  and toast the baguette slices ahead of time if needed. Then you can assemble right before serving.

Easy Bruschetta 

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Makes 24 small slices (serves 6-10 as an appetizer)

Ingredients

  • 2 pints of cherry tomatoes (I like to use 1 red and 1 yellow)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced* or chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more or less to taste
  • 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus a little more for brushing the toast)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Prepare the topping: Finely chop the cherry tomatoes (in 6 pieces) and place them in a medium bowl. Mix in the minced garlic, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and the balsamic vinegar. Stir in the thinly sliced basil and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, adding more to taste. Set aside to marinate.

3. Prepare the baguette slices: Use a bread knife to slice the baguette on the diagonal making half-inch thick slices. Brush one side of each slice with olive oil with a pastry brush and place on a baking sheet or roasting pan.  Sprinkle with a little kosher salt.  Place in the oven on the top rack and toast for 5-6 minutes. Check for doneness and if needed, toast for 1-2 minutes more until lightly browned and slightly crunchy.  Allow the toast to cool.

4.  Assemble the bruschetta:  Place a small spoonful of topping on toasted bread and place on a serving platter. These can be made up to 30 minutes before serving and still be crunchy due to the toasting with olive oil.

You can also serve the toasts plain with a bowl of the tomato bruschetta mixture on the side for people to top their own.

Psst!   Trader Joe’s offers Bruschetta Sauce in a plastic carton in the refrigerator section and is a great substitute for making your own tomato bruschetta mixture when you are in a hurry.

 

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Spicy Korean Chicken Wings

We like heat in our meat and I recently discovered a new kick it up ingredient  called Gochujang that is a chile paste used in many spicy Korean dishes.   I think you’ll like it.  My family does.

Spicy Korean Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • Pounds Chicken Wings
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Scallion (top green portion)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Glaze
  • 1 1-Inch Piece of Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Gochujang (I like Mother In Law’s found at World Market)
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Black & White Sesame Seeds

Instructions

2. Prepare the ingredients:

Thinly slice the top green part of the scallion (Save the white part  for the bok choy side dish). Peel and mince the garlic and ginger.  To make the sauce, in a medium bowl, combine the soy glaze, vinegar, sesame oil,  garlic, ginger and as much of the gochujang as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be.

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3. Glaze & finish the chicken wings:

Remove the roasted chicken wings from the oven and evenly brush or drizzle with the sauce. Return to the oven and roast 6 to 8 minutes, or until browned on top. Remove from the oven.

4. Plate your dish (if preparing as main course):

Divide the finished chicken wings between 2-3 dishes. Garnish with the sesame seeds and green top of the scallion. Serve with the seared baby bok choy on the side if you like.  Enjoy!

PSST!  This is a tasty appetizer too.  Don’t forget the napkins though!

Carmelized Onion and Apple Tarts


Carmelized onion and apple tart
Looking for an easy and elegant appetizer to serve guests at your next soiree?  This recipe is just the thing: simple, pretty and delicious, with caramelized onions, apples and grated Gruyère cheese atop store-bought puff pastry. I think the fresh thyme and chives make all the difference.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lb. yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. tart apples, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 – 2  1/2 oz. aged Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh chives
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 1 package (1 lb.) frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten with 2 Tbs. water

Directions:

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Shrimp Gazpacho

light and healthy, no-cook meal for a warm summer night.

light and healthy, no-cook meal for a warm summer night.

Shrimp Gazpacho

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2-3/4 pound cooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes diced into 6ths (I used a combination of red and yellow ones and rinse off most of the seeds)
1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1/4-1/2 inch dice
1/2 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped into a 1/4-1/2 inch dice
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2-1 large jalapeño chili, minced
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) V-8 spicy tomato juice, chilled
Lemon wedges

Preparation

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Thai Lettuce Wrap

Fresh and Spicy

Fresh and Spicy

Thai Lettuce Wrap

.    2 pounds ground pork
.    2 garlic cloves, minced
.    2 small shallots, minced
.    1 large jalapeño, seeded & minced, plus sliced jalapeño for garnish
.    Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges, for serving
.    2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
.    1 teaspoon light brown sugar
.    1 teaspoon Sriracha (chile sauce), plus more for serving
.    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
.    1/2 cup chopped cilantro
.    1/2 cup chopped mint
.    1/2 cup chopped basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
.    1 cup chopped salted peanuts
1 large head Boston or other leafy lettuce, separated into leaves

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Lemon Grilled Shrimp

This is a great appetizer for a summer BBQ...never any leftovers!

This is a great appetizer for a summer BBQ…never any leftovers!

Lemon Grilled Shrimp

48 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on (approx. 1 lb)
3 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, finely minced with ½ tsp. coarse (kosher) salt
1 T finely minced fresh rosemary
Finely ground fresh pepper to taste

Directions

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