Friday, August 10, 2012

Baguette Picnic

I have tomatoes coming out of my ears so I made up a batch of bruschetta to use some of my fresh tomatoes up.  Going on a long drive to Tama for their Powwow Saturday and thought it would be something I could take for my family to picnic on.  I also have this avocado spread I thought I’d make up and take also.  I’ll put the spreads in my mason jars and take a big baggie of a sliced French baguette along with some plastic spoons and we will be good to go.  I will also add some left over pepper jelly and cream cheese left over from my Chicago trip to the picnic basket and let everyone pick what looks good to them. 

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

1 ½ lbs of ripe tomatoes 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Season with onion and garlic powder to your taste
1 French baguette
1/4 cup olive oil

Take the skins off the tomatoes by cutting out the top core and put them in boiling water for a few seconds and then plunge them into cold water.  The skins should peel right off.  Chop the tomatoes into small chucks and toss them into a wire strainer to strain out some of the juices. 

Roll your basil up and chop your basil leaves as thinly as possible. 

Combine the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. I get to use some of my new beautiful balsamic vinegar I picked up in Chicago. 

Cut up slices of your baguette and drizzle olive oil on it.  Put under the broiler and watch until it is toasted.  Do not walk away or you will burn the toast.  I leave the door open and stand and watch the bread.  It only takes about a minute. This step is optional.  It is really good on just a sliced fresh baguette also.

Store your tomato and basil mixture in a mason jar and chill it in the refrigerator.  With the olive oil and vinegar, it should last for several weeks.  It makes a nice gift with a baguette if you want to share it with a friend.
Avocado Spread 

I love bruschetta, but this is even better.  I love avocado so will pick this over tomato and basil first.  Or add a little tomato to it and have the best of both worlds. Try it and see if you don’t agree.  

2 thick slices of your favorite toasted bread
1 avocado
Juice of 1/2 a lime
2 teaspoons chopped mint, plus a bit extra for presentation
2 oz. goat cheese or feta cheese
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (like a little heat add a pinch of pepper flakes)

Try making garlic toast by drizzling olive oil your sliced baguette and putting it under the broiler until it is golden brown.  Do not walk away or it may burn.  Also always leave the door to the oven open while toasting your bread. Once the bread is nicely browned, take a garlic clove and rub it on the toasted bread.   Or toast your favorite crusty artisan bread in the toaster.  You could also put it on toast points for a nice presentation.

To make your spread, first halve and pit your avocado.  Scoop out the flesh with a spoon. 
Mash the avocado with a fork and mix in the lime juice and mint. Crumble your cheese and fold it into the avocado mixture, leaving some bits chunky.

Spread the avocado mixture onto your toast and salt and pepper and drizzle with a little with your favorite olive oil.  Top with a mint leaf to make it pretty and serve with lime wedges on the side.  This makes a great breakfast or a great appetizer.  This time though, I won't be fussing with looks since I'm taking it on our road trip picnic. 

Last but not least is the pepper jelly and cream cheese on a baguette.  This like the avocado spread will make for a great breakfast, appetizer or our picnic.  

You can make an entire picnic out of a French baguette.  What would you pack with the bread for a picnic?  Maybe a simple bottle of wine, some cheese and sliced salami.

Make this a great day and be happy.  May God bless you and yours.

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