Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2-on-Tuesday: Tomato Crostini (inspired by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa)

Oh. My. Goodness! Amazingly good & simple!

My son gave me Ina Garten's newest cookbook for Christmas! He knows me pretty well. It was my utmost pleasure when he wanted to cook one of the recipes for his fiance while I --not permitted to touch a thing-- coached him through it! Chicken with Wild Mushrooms never smelled so good prepared with love and you're not allowed to eat any!

Now, later in the year, as the bounty of summer's harvest piles in, I'm poring over Barefoot Contessa Foolproof Recipes You Can Trust to find a perfect vehicle for the varied colors, types and tastes of tomatoes. I used little yellow toms, red Romas and Kumato Brown Toms with fresh Basil! Of course, I just gotta play with my food, so I edited ever so slightly.

Tomato Crostini ... slightly modified

8 oz  Fat Free Cream Cheese (softened)
6 oz  Goat Cheese (softened)
2/3 cup  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons  Balsamic Vinegar
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons+  Simply Greek Greek Salad Spice (but one could use minced garlic and onions)
2 tablespoons  Red Wine Vinegar
2-3 lbs ripe heirloom, cherry or Roma tomatoes 1/2" chunks
3 tablespoons julienned  fresh Basil Leaves (reserve some for garnish)
Baguette sliced diagonally into 1/2"-3/4" slices, slightly toasted
opt: toasted pine nuts
  • A food processor makes it easier to pulse the softened cheeses, 1/3 cup of olive oil, Balsamic Vinegar, S&P into a smooth cream; however, the same may be accomplished a little slower with a fork or whisk.
  • Up to an hour before serving, whisk together the Greek spice (or minced garlic and onions) with remaining olive oil, vinegar and some S&P. Add tomatoes and basil, stirring gently and set aside for 10+ minutes. Sample a bite to see if you need to add a little more S&P.
  • To assemble the crostini, spread each toast with a generous amount of cheese mixture. With a slotted spoon, place colorful tomatoes on top, gently pressing them into the cheese so they don't fall off. Sprinkle with extra basil and serve.

I served the crostini alongside a version of Ina's French Flageolet Beans (page 192) in which I added a fistful of kale to bump up nutrient content when I converted it to fit my plant-based nutrition.

So, why do I play with my food and edit a great recipe? One reason is due to my choice to eat mostly-plant-based because of high LDL cholesterol and have seen a significant decrease.  The other reason is that I use what I have in my pantry. If it's fairly comparable, the flavor will be similar. And, it's a frugal way to manage your cupboard budget as a good kitchen steward! I'd like to think Ina would approve. ;)

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