Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Foodie Mad Scientist: The Bruschetta Explosion

I don't consider myself a good cook.  Never have.  In fact in the wee years of marriage when the hubby didn't know yet if I was the type that was easily offended (I'm not, in case you were wondering), he rarely commented on the flavor of my food.  After one particularly nasty dinner disaster of tater tot casserole, he mentioned quite kindly that it wasn't MY cooking that was the problem, it was the confounded recipe.

Sure it was.

But I was naive back then and I took him at his word.  I think he is regretting it.  I rarely, if ever, use a recipe.  I don't cook.  I concoct.  And it don't always come up roses.

Last night's combination of chicken, ginger, Chardonnay, onions, jalapeno, red pepper, chili powder, and cumin was not one for the books.  The Chardonnay infused the spices into the meat a little more than I expected and we were all spouting steam out our ears.  I do give myself credit, however, for creating intense flavor.  Next time, I'll add a little less of... well, everything!

Other times, I stumble upon a concoction that is pretty good.  And when I say stumble, I mean that in actuality the outcome was a complete food surprise and I am scrambling for a pen and recipe card so I don't forget what I did.

Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

5 big fat tomatoes (I think I used Costco's Steakhouse Reds)
     Place on a roasting pan and shove in the oven onto the top rack at a broil
     Roast until the skins are blistered and a little black.  Let cool and take off skins then chop and drain out excess juice

1 shallot or half of a white onion

5 ish chopped up garlic cloves (if you are lazy like me and go to the store and buy it in the jars already chopped and mashed up, just heap in a few tablespoons)

Handful of Portobello Mushrooms chopped (I decimate those little fungi.  Usually I have some rocking tunes going on the ipad and I go nuts with the knife.  In the end they look murdered)

Fresh Basil (or dried.  I use both.  Sometimes at the same time)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Baslamic Vinegar

Toss the onion, garlic, mushrooms in the hot oil in a frying pan and cook it until they are soft.  NOT BROWN.  I burn things.  Often.  Trust me, you'll want them just softened.  Takes about 3 minutes total.  Add spices at the very end.  Do it to taste.  Frankly I LOVE thyme and basil so I go hog freaking wild tossing it in with my arm pumping like I've won a medal.  Not all tongues are created equal.

Remove from heat (I know, duh, right?  But I forget, hence the burning problem I have).  Slop it into the bowl with your diced tomatoes and slurp it all together.  When it's good and sloppy, add the Baslamic Vinegar to taste (1/4 ish cup).  I think the Vinegar is the most important part so don't go all cheap and buy the low grade stuff at the store.  I use a brand called Mountain Town from a specialty shop I have to face death via crazies on the freeway to get into the city to buy it.  It's worth watching my pitiful life flash before my eyes to get.  You can order it online here... MOUNTAIN TOWN  For this recipe I bought the 18-year Traditional.  The flavor is DIVINE!!

And now you know how to make salt-free Bruschetta.
My sons, who are always so wonderfully blunt, tell me it looks like vomit, but when they eat it they sing a different tune.  They really hate tomatoes, but they'll eat my Bruschetta.

Son's quote of the day: As long as it doesn't LOOK like a tomato, I think I might be able to gag it down.

Awesome.  I can work with that!

Meniere's Survival Tip of the Day:  Basil is a natural anti-inflammatory.  Got a headache?  Snarf a few leaves of fresh basil and it'll make you feel like a million bucks.  That, and you'll have very fresh breath!

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