Bruschetta with Mediterranean Tomato Topping

Inspired by a great recipe from Emeril Lagasse, this bruschetta recipe is vegan friendly!

Ingredients

20 (1/2-inch) slices French bread
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and small diced
2 tablespoons basil chiffonade, plus more for garnishing
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the slices of French bread on a baking sheet and lightly brush with half of the olive oil. Season with half of the salt and half of the pepper. Bake until lightly golden and crispy, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

While the toasts are baking combine the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and stir to blend.

Serve each toast with a heaping tablespoon of the tomato mixture and garnish with additional basil, if desired.

Reference
Bruschetta with Mediterranean Tomato Topping

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Cucumber Salad

After the first time I made this, I almost ate the whole batch in one sitting. It’s so easy to make and I had all the ingredients in my pantry except for the cucumbers, which I picked up at a Japanese market in Little Toyko. I made this a second time using regular cucumbers and it was just as tasty.
This can be served as an appetizer before serving sushi or another Japanese dish. Or you can do what I did and have it as a snack.
Ingredients

2 cups thinly sliced Japanese cucumbers
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

If Japanese cucumbers are not available, English cucumbers can be substituted. The English cucumbers need to be peeled, cut lengthwise, seeded and sliced into thin half moons. In a large bowl, combine cucumbers and salt and mix well. Add sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil and mix well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and mix. Let marinate for 20 minutes before serving.

Reference
Cucumber Salad

Pico de Gallo Salsa

Pico de gallo is my favorite salsa. Once it’s made, it’s hard for me to stop eating and walk away. Don’t ask me how it got it’s name, which literally translates to “rooster’s beak,” but it’s amazing and really easy to make.

Ingredients

1 fresh jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 pound fresh ripe tomato, any type, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2/3 cup white, chopped
Fresh lime juice from 1 lime
Kosher salt, to taste (I did 1 1/2 teaspoons)

Combine and mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

References
Pico de Gallo

Caramelized Onion Dip

Serious Eats posted a recipe for Michael Schwartz‘s Caramelized Onion Dip with Thick-Cut Potato Chips. I love onion dip! Normally I make the pouch version that just requires sour cream to be added, however the dehydrated onions always grossed me out. Thus, making this with fresh onions appealed to me. Of course I changed some of the ingredients to make this into a healthier version of the original and I changed some of the quantities too.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” or other butter substitute
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup light mayo
Chopped fresh chives

Put a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the onions and season with 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden brown and caramelized, roughly 20 minutes. Watch carefully—you don’t want the onions to burn. Set aside and let cool.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and free of lumps. Mix in the sour cream and mayo. Fold in the onions with all their juices; season again with salt and pepper if needed.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. I left this in the fridge over night. The next morning the dip looked like this.
And it smelled AMAZING!
I garnished with chives and put some potato chips on the side.

Considering that I used fat free or reduced fat ingredients for this dip, it still tasted extremely rich and full of flavor. I would also recommend not using the chips in the picture above. This dip is really thick so get some Ruffles instead. I got baked Ruffles and they were great. I took this dip to a meeting and a party. People that tried it really liked it. I will be making this again!

Hummus with Wheat Pita Bread

After doing a lot of research and trying out various hummus recipes, I developed this one on my own. Hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients

1 15 oz can of reduced sodium garbanzo beans (when draining the can, reserve the juice in a cup)
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. olive oil plus a little more for drizzling after
3-4 large garlic cloves, pressed or minced (depends on how garlic-tasting you want it)
2 tbsp. tahini
Dash of Kosher salt and white ground pepper
Dash of paprika

Combine the beans, lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, tahini, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds.

Add a little (about a couple of tbsp) of the garbanzo juice to the mix and pulse again–this gets it creamy. If your hummus isn’t creamy enough, just add more juice.

After it’s at the consistency you want, put it in a bowl, sprinkle paprika and drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Serve with wheat pita bread. Enjoy!

Emeril’s Macaroni Salad-Modified

I found Emeril’s Macaroni Salad on Martha Stewart’s website. (Love her.) Read over it and sounded pretty good except for a few things. I don’t like tomatoes and I’m not a big fan of capers or parsley in a pasta salad so I decided to do my own take on this.

Ingredients

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto cut into strips
1 small shallot minced
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sun dried tomatos, sliced
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (2 ounces)
1/2 cup sliced black olives

I followed the rest of the recipe as it was.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni until al dente. In a small skillet, cook prosciutto over medium until crisp. Before cooking the prosciutto, I cut off the white fat off the slices.


Combine shallot, vinegar, and mustard in a large bowl; whisk in oil in a slow, steady stream.

Add sun-dried tomato, cheese, prosciutto, and olives.

Drain pasta; add to bowl with tomato mixture, and toss. Season with salt and pepper.

Cool to room temperature, and serve.

Well, this was ok. I intend on eating the rest of this but I can’t say that it was great or one of the best things I have made. I can’t rave about it to be honest. If you are considering making this, I would recommend to double up on the olives, tomatoes, and prosciutto. Tossing this recipe unfortunately.