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Entries in Bruschetta (5)


A Post About Toast

I have many food and memory associations, but I'd like to talk specifically about toast.

Yes, toast.

John and I have been very lucky to have spent every summer since our respective births at the Iaciofano shore house in Beach Haven, New Jersey. Consequently, as the days turns very slowly warmer, I start to think about my food memories that my summers there have given me.

The Shore House (as we Iaciofano's call it) used to be turquoise, have outrageously ugly 1970's furniture, a creak in the wood-panelled staircase, an odd musty-humid smell that was strangely comforting, a white stone yard and a breakfast table nestled up to two, large windows that overlooked the bay.

At this table, my grandmother would have her breakfast while the sailboats drifted lazily (or purposefully, depending on the wind) outside the window like an animated painting.

You may be thinking, "Oh, we are about to learn a Iaciofano family, fancy breakfast recipe!"

But you'd be wrong.

My grandmother always had toast for breakfast. Burnt toast with butter.

I would sit across from her at the table and watch her spackle butter onto her blackened bread, the knife scraaaaape, scrape, scraping across the surface, sending ash-like flakes onto the tabletop.

Even though there was nothing special about this meal, I wanted it. I thought there was something unmistakably grown-up and therefore sophisticated about toast and coffee, even though I couldn't understand why my grandma ate it so charred.

Did she like it that way?

Had she just not mastered the family toaster?

I never asked and it is unfortunately too late to do so.

However, even now, I think there is something somewhat magical about toast. It's the caterpillar to butterfly transformation of a piece of bread taking on a new texture, color, smell and even flavor by spending just a few minutes in its heated cocoon.

These days, I have very specific ideas about what I consider to be a perfectly toasted piece of bread. I don't like mine burned. I like it a nice caramel color – just cripsy enough to allow for some residual chewyness and the absorption of butter or other condiments (should you use them). Too much time in the toaster and you essentially produce bread jerky – a veritable shingle of stiffness in consistency. 

Consider the following shade diagram:

Once you have determined your desired level of toasted-ness, you can dress it up. Toast is the perfect blank slate to apply edible accessories and make a....well...a "grown up" dish.

Let's use the above Country White slice as an example. Perfectly bronzed with a light, buttery make-up application, a frilly arugula skirt, topped with a poached egg and a glittering of salt and pepper.

Once cut, the gooey yolk runs into the porous toast, creating a crispy-oozing mess of rich deliciousness. And there's nothing more grown-up than arugula. The bitter smell released by the heat of the cooked egg is like that rare childhood aroma of my mom's perfume when she was getting ready for a night out with dad.

We can make toast more sophisticated still by swapping the bread with a baguette or Italian loaf. Sliced on the bias, lightly toasted and drizzled with olive oil, it becomes the vehicle for any number of cocktail-napkin treasures.

My personal favorites are the Avocado Bruschetta: tangy and smooth with a hint of hot pepper punch.


Also eloquent are Gorgonzola and Roasted Pepper Bruschetta: a dollop of creamy gorgi with slippery peppers and salty capers.

As with much cooking, it's the foundation that's the key. The base, in this case, being a perfectly toasted piece of bread. So crack open a loaf and make some toast...and memories. Sailboats and shore house are optional.


A Collection of Bruschetta!

We have a holiday weekend upon us. Here at John and Elana Talk About Food, we have recognized this approaching Memorial Day with a collection of bruschetta recipes with that goal of giving you something easy to offer to your hungry guests should you be having a party.

Should you not be having a party, go find one and bring these along. Everyone will be happy.

So to recap, we have a total of three new recipes, plus one from the archives which I am bringing back because it is such a crowd pleaser. Really, I've been asked again and again to make my Avocado Bruschetta, so I'm including it in this post.

First up, is our Shrimp Roll. You could also make it with lobster or crab. Find the recipe here.

Next, roast some peppers (so easy The Box can do it!) and throw them on toast! Add in some goat cheese, and I believe you have a balanced meal. Check it out here.

Finally, what the devil got into those eggs? Sriracha sauce, that's what. Yes, that can go on bruschetta too. Here's how.

And from the Archives, the Avocado Bruschetta that makes everyone happy. And if it doesn't that just means there's more for you.

Don't forget to load up on baguettes! Get a few kinds: semolina, whole wheat - throw in a rye, because rye not?

And have a great weekend. We'll see you on Tuesday.


Deviled Egg Bruschetta

What the devil do you do with eggs?

As you may have noticed, I'm in a bruschetta makin' mood this week. This is for two reasons:

1. Bruschetta is an easy way to make 1200 different small bites for a Memorial Day party (or any party).

2. I have a thing for turning om my broiler and seeing how many tiny pieces of toast I can burn at once.

How many times do you think I've set off my smoke detectors? Too many to count. And burned myself? Let's not even go there.

So, making bruschetta for me is like tempting Fate. And if there's something I love, it's Fate tempting.

I believe I could tempt Fate with this recipe for Deviled Egg Bruschetta that utilizes a secret ingredient: Sriracha sauce. This stuff is spicy, but it also has flavor. It's not just heat for heat's sake.

For heat's sake (that was funny only to me, yes?). OK, here's the recipe:

What You Need:
3 hard boiled eggs
Salt - to taste
2 tablespoons mayo (I used low fat)
Squeezes of Sriracha sauce (up to your discretion and based on how HOT you want your eggs)
1 cucumber, sliced
Fresh dill - a few sprigs, chopped
A baguette of Italian bread, sliced

What To Do:
Place your cooled and peeled hard boiled eggs in a bowl and mash them up with a fork. Mash 'em good - this is the fun part!

Add in the salt (start with 1/4 teaspoon, but you can use more if you like), mayo and the Sriracha sauce. Mix it all up with a fork until it is well combined (it will turn slightly orange from the Sriracha sauce).

Heat up your broiler and toast the baguette slices on a baking sheet for a few minutes on each side - until golden brown.

Place your toasts on a platter and top with one cucumber round. Place a scoop of deviled egg mixture on top of the cucumber.

Garnish with a few sprigs of dill and a tiny squeeze of Sriracha sauce for color.

Now stand back and wait for Fate to be tempted. Wait for it....


Pep it Up! More Memorial Day Bruschetta Options

Yes, it's STILL raining in New York. So I need to come up with new and inventive ways to use Roasted Peppers. You may recall me talking about how they help prevent bad hair days due to inclement weather.

It was time to take all these peppers, puddles and poodle hair and do something proactive: like making them party-ready for your Memorial Day festivities.

As an added bonus, this is so dang easy, you will have more time to spend on figuring out how to make your hair party-ready (much more challenging, for me anyway). Here we go:

Roasted Red and Green Pepper Bruschetta:

What You Need:
1 red pepper
1 green pepper (you could use yellow or orange if you like - go for color!)
Olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Chopped fresh rosemary - a few sprigs
Chopped fresh thyme - a few sprigs
Chooped fresh basil 5 large leaves
black pepper - two turns from a mill
1 Italian baguette, sliced
Optional: goat cheese

What To Do:
Roast the peppers according to my previous instructions.

Place all the spices and chopped herbs in a Ziploc bag and shake to mix.

Once your peeled and seeded roasted peppers have cooled, chop them up into tiny bits and place them in a small bowl. Add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and your spice mix.

Toss with a fork to coat everything evenly.

Heat up your broiler and arrange your baguette slices on a baking sheet. Toast each side of the slices - about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Arrange scoops of pepper topping on your toasts and serve!

For an added punch, spread some goat cheese on your toasts before you place your peppers on there.

Magic, I promise. Have I lied to you yet? Don't answer that...


Le Poisson for Memorial Day

How I LOVE le poisson!

For today's Meals on Reels I want to concentrate on Memorial Day eats. Because I am assuming two things:

1. You are having some kind of party/BBQ.

2. You are inviting me. John will be golfing (of course).

And to me, nothing says summer like eating a good crustacean. Dipped in butter, mixed up into a roll, formed into a cake....pass the cocktail sauce. Please. And the butter.

Le Chef from Disney's The Little Mermaid has similar thoughts on the topic as demonstrated by this maniacal ode to his flippery friends:

HEE HEE HEE HAW HAW HAW. I really can't help but sing along.

While Le Chef sings mainly about "le poisson" or "fish", I'm going to focus on crustaceans, and honor Sebastian the Crab's Wyle E. Cyote and Roadrunner-esque esacpe from the boiling pot.

What I bring to you here is a form of a Lobster Roll. Made with shrimp. You could use lobster or crab meat as well (there's a long story on why I didn't, which I won't bore you with). Suffice to say, here are:

Shrimp "Roll" Bruschetta (because bruschetta makes everything betta).

What You Need:
1/2 cooked and peeled shrimp (or equivalent amount of lobster/crab meat)
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 gala apple, diced
Fresh dill (as much as you want, I love this stuff)
2 Tablespoons of mayo (I used light mayo)
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 Semolina baguette (the kind that is slightly yellow and has sesame seeds on it)

What To Do:
Chop up your crustacean meat and place it in a bowl.

Add in your chopped cucumber and apple.

Then throw all the other stuff in there and mix it around with a fork until everything is well combined.

Set this asside and heat up your broiler.

Slice the semolina baguette and arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet. Toast them in the broiler for just a minute or two on each side.

Pile some shrimp topping on there and you have yourself a party.

When should I show up?