Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bruschetta or Blue Jay for Dinner?

Just about now, I start into the hate stage of my love:hate relationship with the birds.  I have several bird feeders and faithfully provide seed and water so we can watch the birds as the seasons and populations change.  But then they start messing with my tomatoes and I question any feelings of fondness.

They generally don't completely destroy any given tomato, just peck a hole in them when they are still orange, (not really ripe by my standards).  I have tried picking them earlier but the birds seem to adjust as well and just start pecking on less ripe tomatoes.  I put up netting to reduce the damage but it's never completely secure or the wind blows it open, you get the idea.  

So you have to pick the damaged fruit and try to salvage it.  Sometimes, I cut out the damaged area and freeze the remaining portion for use in soups when cold weather arrives.    But tonight, the damaged fruit was destined for Bruschetta.  A wonderful way to use fresh tomatoes, even blemished ones, and basil from the garden.  It makes a fresh, light appetizer or side dish on hot summer days but should be made with ripe flavorful tomatoes for the best results.

1/2 baguette
several small tomatoes (1 1/2 cups of chopped tomatoes)
2 minced garlic cloves
4-8 large basil leaves chopped
1 T. olive oil
balsamic vinegar to taste
kosher salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper

Thick slice baguette and toast.
Chop tomatoes coarsely.  If you want to fully assembly the bruschetta on top of bread, then remove the seeds and only use flesh so the bread doesn't get soggy.  I do not remove the seeds and serve separately  to be assembled as eaten.
Mix tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Serve with toasted bread. 

After dinner that included the bruschetta, I am able to forgive the birds, for today. 

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