Tag Archives: bruschetta

Growing and Growing and Growing…the Garden!

This summer has been absolutely beautiful.  It’s been cool with low humidity, and just about perfect, or at least where I am.  In fact, it’s mid-August, and I don’t even have the air on.  Judging from the way the garden is performing this summer, the plants are enjoying the mild weather too.

This year, I haven’t had to do much watering, not even in the vegetable garden.  And the weeds haven’t been as bad as they’ve been in the past.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m out there pulling weeds quite often, or just letting them slide, but it doesn’t seem as bad this year.  Maybe it’s the mild weather.  So, since the garden keeps on putting on a show this summer, I thought I’d give you an update.

As you can see from my picture above, the butterflies are loving the butterfly bush.  And, this time of year, it’s covered with beautiful lavender blooms.

Hot Pink Crape MyrtlePink and Purple Crape MyrtleI have three kinds of crape myrtle in my garden, and they are spectacular this time of year.  These above are the hot pink, which I think is my favorite, but also purple and pink.  If you look closely at the second picture, you can see the purple blooms.  They’ve sort of grown into each other.  One of my absolute favorite shrubs.

Black-Eyed SusanThe black eyed susans are at their peak this time of year.  I have yellow blooms all over the garden.  They add such great color, and, as you can see from the picture, they are just covered with beautiful blooms.

PhloxAnother show stopper this time of year is the phlox.  I have white and purple, but this one steals the show.  It’s a pink and white mix.  I just love it.  Too bad the phlox season is a short one.

HollyhockThe hollyhock are also putting on quite a show this time of year.  When I first planted hollyhock, I think I was in college.  I bought seeds and planted a great double variety I found at Burpee.  I loved their bold colors and huge double blooms, but, as I get older, I appreciate the simple single blooms as well.  The single blooms have more of a cottage garden look to them, and I love the show they put on, rising high above the rest in the garden.

DaisyDaisies have to be one of the best perennials out there.  They are so versatile, with there beautiful white blooms.  They are so hardy.  And, probably the best thing, they have a long blooming season.  These have been blooming for a while.  And, although the show isn’t as big as it first was, they are still popping up in the garden.Cone FlowerThis one is a new addition to my garden this year.  It’s a coneflower named Raspberry  Truffle.  Isn’t it just great?  The blooms are big and colorful, and it’s quite a showstopper!20140805_194601Another must have for any shady spot in the garden is a hosta.  I have quite a few in my garden, and this time of year they send up those lovely blooms.  I am a huge fan of the big, beautiful leaves, but when those blooms come up, they are just perfection!

PumpkinsAs a lesson to everyone about the importance of properly disposing of pumpkin seeds, I found this surprise in my perennial bed in front of my back porch.  I must have dropped some pumpkin seeds last Halloween, and it looks like they sprouted quite a big pumpkin plant.  I can’t wait to see what starts growing off this shoot.

TomatoAnd because an update of the garden wouldn’t be complete without a vegetable update, and I have spoken enough about the squash and zucchini, this is a picture of one of my favorite things!  It’s my FIRST red tomato of the season!  This beautiful Brandywine was found just 2 days ago, and I couldn’t have been happier.  I have been waiting for a long time for these to turn red.

Of course, I couldn’t wait to dig in, so, I turned that beautiful baby into one of the best bruschettas I ever made!  Bruschetta

Hope you’re enjoying your garden or maybe a neighbors! 🙂  And I hope you’re having great weather this summer too!

Tomato, Basil, Garlic, Olive Oil…Ah Bruschetta

I am not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I love tomatoes.  I love them in all forms, cooked, raw, doesn’t matter.  And one of my favorite ways to eat tomatoes is in bruschetta.

Bruschetta is incredibly simple to make, and absolutely delicious.  And, because it’s all about fresh ingredients, it’s a perfect summer recipe.

Diced TomatoesTo start, find nice, ripe tomatoes.  I prefer the Roma or plum tomatoes for bruschetta because they aren’t as juicy.  Their texture holds up well.  However, really any tomato will do.  And if you have them fresh from the garden, well, they are always the best!  For this recipe I use 5 tomatoes.  And, you may remember a while ago me going on and on about ceramic knives for cutting tomatoes, but I really do taste a difference.  So if you have a ceramic knife, now is the time to use it.  Remove the seeds and dice the tomatoes and add them to a bowl.

Minced GarlicAdd to the tomatoes 3 garlic cloves, minced.  In traditional bruschetta, the garlic would be rubbed on the toasted bread, but I find this works well and is easier.  You want the mince to be pretty small to avoid people getting a huge piece of garlic.  Also, I should warn you, I love garlic, so you may find 3 cloves is a bit much for you, or you may want more.  Feel free to adjust.

To the tomatoes and garlic, add 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.  I also add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.  I think purists would probably just stick with the olive oil and not include the vinegar, but I think it adds a great flavor to the bruschetta.

BasilFinally, add 6 basil leaves.  I chiffonade them.  Sounds impressive, right?  Well, it just means you roll the leaves up and cut them into strips. Now give the bruschetta a stir and you’re done.

I prefer bruschetta at room temperature.  Also, as it sits, the tomatoes release their juices, adding to the delicious liquid.  Serve the bruschetta with toasted sliced Italian bread.  Just grill the bread, or toast it on a cookie sheet in the oven.  The crispy bread Bruschettadoes a great job of soaking up the delicious juice.

Bruschetta makes a great appetizer, but it’s also a good side.  And it works well at barbeques or picnics.  I might whip up a batch for Memorial Day!  Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!