Boy was it hot this past week! Despite upper ninety degree temp’s camps, parades and outside games go on. Last week my two youngest kids participated in day camps and parades. I ended up spending more meals than I am used to eating alone and I didn’t like it! It reminded me of the eighties song from Bananrama; Cruel Cruel Summer. They sing about being left all alone and their friends are all gone. It’s not much fun doing anything alone when you’re not used to it, especially cooking for one during the summer.
I’m used to cooking for a large crew, sometimes in the excess of hundreds of people. Put me in the kitchen to cook for just myself and I’m all thumbs. I must admit the first couple of days I consumed a pitiful diet of left over cookies, pistachios and tuna salad. I enjoy those things, but I found I was dragging by day three and had to come up with a new game plan. Hopefully, one that involved fresh veggies and limited amounts of easy junk food.
At the same time I reached my cooking for one food dilemma, my first tomatoes were ripening and that gave me many healthy cooking for one ideas. Fresh BLT’s, bruschetta and fresh tomato caprese salads came to mind. Tomatoes saved the day once again.
Tomatoes are wonderful for one person to cook with. They come in many different sizes flavors and shapes. I didn’t realize what an intricate part of our American diet the tomato is until I sat down and thought of all the different things we make it with. We use it in condiments, toppings, main body of many foods, from ketchup to spaghetti sauce. In fact, all of our favored American foods have the tomato involved in some way. ketchup on hot dogs, hot tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes on tacos, sauce on pizza, and fresh sliced on hamburgers. Tomatoes really are the star of potentially “cruel” summer in my book!
Bruschetta is easy and so good on hot summer days. You can adjust this recipe to serve one or 400. It is my new eating alone go-to recipe and there is nothing cruel about it! In fact, with a glass of cool white wine and a good book in the shade, it’s just about as good as hanging out with family and friends!
Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
3 Tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 pint red grape tomatoes, coined
1 pint yellow grape tomatoes, coined
1 -2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Pinch of sugar
16 whole basil leaves cut into very thin strips
Salt and pepper to taste
1 whole baguette cut into ½ inch slices
8 Tablespoons butter or olive oil (optional)
In a small sauce pan sauté the garlic in the olive oil for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant. Do not overcook, garlic burns very easily. Set aside to cool.
Cut each grape tomato into three coins each and put them in a medium size bowl. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the sugar. Let the tomatoes rest while you cut the basil. Pour balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, cooled garlic and oil over the tomatoes. Add the basil and stir. Scoop into a serving dish.
Butter each piece on both sides of bread with the butter or oil. Heat a large fry pan over medium heat. Cook each side of the bread until golden brown (I cook the bread this way so I don’t have to turn on the oven). Cool. Place bread on a serving plate and serve with the tomatoes.
To adjust this recipe for one: use one clove of garlic in one tablespoon of oil. Cut up ten tomatoes and 3-4 pieces of basil. Cook 4 slices of bread.
For all recipes from wild chow’s column, click here. Sun News Paper
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