FRESH TOMATO BRUSCHETTA
8 ripe tomatoes (any variety), chopped
5 fresh basil leaves, stems removed and sliced in strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of kosher salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste
2-3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 loaf Italian style (or French) bread, cut into diagonal slices
*In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. If necessary, use more olive oil to coat the entire mixture. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 10-15 minutes for flavors to marry - refrigerated overnight, even better!
*In the meantime, preheat a broiler. On a baking sheet, arrange the slices of bread in a single layer & lightly brown on both sides. Remove from the oven.
*Spread the tomato mixture on the crostini slices and enjoy!
**variations - add fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced black olives, sliced fresh mushrooms, chuncks of grilled chicken...be creative!
FRESH TOMATO AND CUCUMBER SALAD
1/2 cup champagne vinaigrette, or favorite vinaigrette dressing
3 small fresh cucumbers, peeled & cut into chunks
2 large fresh tomatoes, cut into chunks
½ medium onion (either sweet yellow or red), sliced
*Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, adding enough vinaigrette to coat the mixture. Allow to sit at least 15-20 minutes to blend seasonings - refrigerated overnight, even better!
*Serve alone as a side, on a bed of greens, or as a refreshing sandwich between 2 slices of fresh Tuscan bread.