Bruschetta with Arugula
1 to 2 large loaves Italian bread seeded
1/3 cup olive oil
8 ounces fresh mozzarella
3 to 4 large tomatoes
1 bunch arugula
1/4 red onion
salt and pepper
1. Oven 375 degrees.
2. Wash several times, fresh arugula. Rinse and put on paper towels
drain. Cube the mozzarella, set aside. Chop tomatoes into small
cubes. Dice the red onion. Chop arugula into small pieces. Cut up
a few fresh basil leaves, then place the arugula and basil into a
medium bowl, add mozzarella, tomatoes and red onion and toss
together and set aside.
3. Slice Italian bread and put a cookie sheet covered with
aluminum foil. Toast the bread slices 8 to 10 minutes each side
or until golden. Remove bread from oven and rub cut garlic
cloves on one side of bread. Not too much.
4. Drizzle olive oil over tomato, arugula mixture, and sprinkle in
salt and pepper. Place tablespoonfuls of tomato mixture over
bread slices and serve immediately.
5. ENJOY – A slice of bread just became a meal!
Cooking and writing recipes are easy for me. Writing a column to go with the recipe is not always so easy. What should I write about Bruschetta? I came upon the idea for the Bruschetta recipe after a Japanese cooking student of mine gave me a beautiful Italian cookbook, Giuliano Bugialli’s Foods of Italy, as a gift. I love that book, and I cherish it. As I was reading, I came upon a Bruschetta recipe, and then I remembered my own Bruschetta recipe. So, I taught my students my version of Bruschetta. Bruschetta should contain olive oil, bread and tomatoes, but any extra ingredients can be added to make your favorite version of it.
The season for having home-grown tomatoes is coming up. My neighbors, who live to my right, are serious gardeners. They are a German family and everything about their home and garden is exact and perfect. I have to admire their beautiful green beans as they grow along their fence on tall wooden stakes (poles in the ground used for planting). Our friends, Charlie and Laurie, who live diagonally behind our house, also have a wonderful garden along the side of their house. The garden is Charlie’s pride and joy. Every year Charlie is out there faithfully planting his tomatoes and cucumbers along with other vegetable surprises. And sometimes Charlie buys too many tomato plants to fit in his garden and, luckily, we get one or two to plant in our yard.
I highly suggest if you plan on trying to grow your own vegetables, tomatoes and cucumbers are the easiest to grow and care for. Even I can do it. I really am not a dirt person. My husband used to do that and my youngest daughter helped. If you don’t want to do it, let your kids/grandkids plant. One year, I bought all these flowers from my daughter’s school from the flower sale, and they just sat there. I had no time to plant them. My daughter was eight years old at the time. Just before they all died, I gave her the project of planting the flowers for me wherever she wanted in our back yard. Of course, I told her to plant them along the fence and near the bushes. I tried to steer her away from planting any flowers in the middle of the yard. Let me tell you, she did a great job. The flowers grew and flourished. She enjoyed taking care of them and watering them.
I have a very small garden area blocked off. I planted two tomato and two cucumber plants this year. With all the rain we have been having in the Northeast, the cucumber plants didn’t make it. The tomato plants thrived, and I have many yellow buds for tomatoes and a few small green tomatoes actually growing. On my deck outside my kitchen door, I planted basil, parsley, rosemary and two other herbs in individual pots. I don’t recognize the two herbs that washed away, but the basil, parsley and rosemary are thriving. It is great that in the middle of cooking, I can just step outside my kitchen door and pick my herbs and then continue cooking. If you want to grow your own garden, start putting those kids to work, and you will be enjoying home grown tomatoes on your Bruschetta before you know it.
But sometimes, my garden isn’t ready or I only have one green tomato on the vine like now, then I buy from the farmers market. The local farmers produce are fresher and more plentiful than the supermarkets at times, and these markets are easily accessible. The best thing about the farmers market is that you get what you need, when you need it, and not have to wait for more than that one tomato to be ripe enough to pick. The farmers market tomatoes are the best I have seen all summer.