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Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic — Bruschetta!

Juliet
Juliet

The tomatoes are coming on gang-busters and I’m struggling with ways to capture their sweet-tartness without over processing them – besides – there are only so many tomato sandwiches that one person can eat!

This year I planted several tried and true varieties (Early Girl, Big Boy) but my current favorite – by far – is Juliet.  It is a small, prolific plum that  ripens even in the late fall, has a great flavor and is versatile enough for slicing or salads in a pinch.   I have been making gallons of fresh salsa and freezing a wonderful roasted tomato & pepper sauce for pasta next winter, but there is a limit there too.

Basil
Basil

Today I stopped at the Silverdale Farmer’s Market and picked up three large bunches of basil to make some pesto.   Basil has always been a breeze for me to grow.  Toss the seeds in the trench, weed it periodically until the plants are about 6″ tall and then start harvesting soon after.  I typically harvest from mid-July until the first frost kills the plants and have buckets of pesto in the freezer.   Not this year.  The first planting was too early and didn’t germinate in the cold, the second was eaten by the slugs (voracious, slimey hordes of them EVERYWHERE) and the final attempt is currently in the garden and is about 2 ” tall.  Everyone I talk to tells me what an awesome basil year they are having – which isn’t much consolation for me at this point – but I finally decided that I couldn’t wait any longer for fresh pesto and hit the market!

I whipped up a batch of the pesto and added some cream and hot bow-tie pasta for a quick dinner.  And I thought I was done – but then I grabbed a loaf of french bread, sliced it up, drizzled some olive oil over it and tossed it under the broiler.  I diced up some tomatoes, a couple cloves of garlic and some basil, drizzled a couple teaspoons of olive oil over top, and seasoned it with kosher salt and fresh pepper.   Heaven on earth!

Bruschetta
Bruschetta

Even the “no tomatoes for me” kid dove in, piling the mixture onto toasted french bread and munching appreciatively.  

The pesto pasta, usually a big hit in our house, was left begging.  It will make a tastey lunch tomorrow – but bruschetta won’t keep!

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