Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

Bruschetta is one of the most popular appetizers and one of the easiest to prepare finger foods for parties. The original Italian “bruschetta” meant just toasted bread slices rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil. The first known use of this word dates back from 1954 (information source: Merriam-Webster). Nowadays, the meaning has been extended to garlic – olive oil toast slices with various toppings such as tomatoes, mozzarella and herbs.

This is my version of bruschetta with tomato and basil which I serve as appetizer at parties. It’s my favorite finger food recipe for summer time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 French baguette, sliced thick
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 6-7 basil leaves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, diced
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

In a pot, bring water to a boil. Remove it from heat and add the tomatoes. Wait one minute. Drain the tomatoes, peel them, chop them and remove the seeds and the stem areas. Parboiled tomatoes are very easy to peel.

Mince the basil leaves and two garlic cloves, dice the mozzarella, then mix them with the chopped tomatoes. Add salt and pepper. Refrigerate while you prepare the bread.

Cut the French baguette in diagonal slices about 1/2 inch thick. Toast the bread slices. Cut one garlic clove and rub the toast with it, then drizzle some olive oil on top. Spoon the tomato – basil mixture on top of each toast slice, on the side that’s been rubbed with garlic and oiled. Serve the bruschetta immediately.

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Tomato Soup Recipe

Tomato soup is considered one of the most popular comfort foods in the US. It can be made from scratch, but it is also available in shops in powder form. Although instant powder soup is very fast to prepare, it may contain food additives and preservatives, which make it not so healthy. Besides, a homemade soup made with fresh, high quality ingredients will always taste much better.

Ingredients for 4-5 servings:

  • 7-8 medium size, ripe, fresh tomatoes
  • 1 medium size yellow onion
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth (for a vegetarian version of this tomato soup recipe, use vegetable broth instead)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Peel and slice the onion. Core and chop the tomatoes. Peel and crush the garlic cloves.

In a pot, melt the butter, then add the onion, garlic, Stir, cover and cook over low temperature for about 5 minutes. You don’t want the onions to go brown. After 5 minutes add the garlic, stir, then add the tomatoes. Gradually add the chicken broth and simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes.

Puree the soup using a food processor or a blender. Return the purred soup into the stockpot, add salt, peppercorns, bay leaf and fresh basil and bring it to a boil.  Serve the soup hot. Croutons are a nice addition.

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