Friday, May 22, 2009

TGI-Friday Happy Hour with a litle help from Trader Joe's and Stacey



This has been a long and difficult week at the office. Fortunately, hubby and I are off for the next three days. I've got several recipes I need to upload, but I just haven't had time! This weekend, I'll catch up.

While scanning some of my favorite food blogs (I'm also behind in that department), I caught "Stacey Snacks" posting on her antipasto, "al fresco". The part of my brain that is connected to my taste buds set it's sights on the same idea.

I decided that I'd pop into Trader Joe's, just down the street from where I work. I bought prosciutto de parma, salami and asiago cheese, kalamata olives (pitted, no less), roma tomatoes and a fresh baguette. I already have basil plants in my back yard that I buy at Trader Joe's-- already potted and ready to enjoy, for less than $3.00. What a deal!

My husband chilled a bottle of white wine for us and I decided to make bruschetta. Bruschetta is very high on my list of favorite things to eat. Actually, tomatoes are a fruit that I never tire of eating.


We have 20 container tomatoes, that I am anxiously waiting to bear it's first beautiful fruit. I think it will be another month. Buying store bought tomatoes just isn't the same for me. Those of you who grown your own tomatoes know what I'm talking about-- there is nothing as sweet and wonderful as sun-ripened, homegrown tomatoes.

There are so many ways to make bruschetta. I keep mine very simple:

I remove the seeds from roma tomatoes, and dice them. To that I add some sea salt & fresh ground pepper, one small finely minced clove of garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and fresh chopped basil. While that sits a bit, I slice the baguette and brush with olive oil. Broil for about 2 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from the broiler, and rub a garlic clove.

Spoon the tomatoes on each crostini and add freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano. Sometimes, I drizzle balsamic over the top. I could eat a dozen of these, no problem!


I also decided to make a basil pesto, since I have three thriving plants. In a food processor I used fresh basil, of course, and pine nuts (I keep them in my freezer), parmesan, salt & pepper, garlic and olive oil- and a little bit of lemon juice, for some zip. I used the pesto to add to some sliced baguettes for the salami and prosciutto.


I also sliced some apples and cheese and we were all set.

I live in the sunbelt, so it is highly unusual that we had overcast skies. Instead, we opted to nosh in our living room while watching a DVD.

Ah, yes... this is a wonderful way to start a three-day weekend! Thanks, Stacey, for the inspiration!


Oh, by the way-- I think I'm learning to bond with kalamata olives. For most of my life, I've not been a fan of them. I'm going to start playing around with incorporating these into my recipes. What took me so long to realize that while they're a little salty, they're pretty darn good!

I think I'm going to join Stacy in her Friday tradition of antipasto during the warmer months of the year. If you haven't visited her blog, please pay her a visit. Please tell her I sent you. She's funny, talented and she knows her way around the kitchen. I'm amazed that she posts something new just about every day! I've made a few of her recipes, that have always turned out delicious.

Bruschetta with fresh basil

This is such a simple recipe to make, and it ...

See Bruschetta with fresh basil on Key Ingredient.

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Coleen's Recipes said...

Your "sandwiches" look more than tasty, I just love this kind of dinner.

Kristen said...

I love bruscetta too! Looks so tasty!

Jamie said...

I love bruschetta and simple is so nice! Especially in summer! Yours are so perfectly Italian and look wondrful!

Stacey Snacks said...

Maybe we have started a trend?
Your bruschetta looks so perfect, mine is always so sloppy, I throw the tomatoes all over the platter!

I love Friday nights on the patio!
Your herbs are on steroids!! must be the Calif. sun! Enjoy the weekend.

Monica H said...

This looks delicious as always.

I went to California Pizza Kitchen last night with a friend and we shared a garlic cheese foccacia topped with checca. Checca from what I observed was chopped tomatoes, with basil, garlic and olive oil. It was delicious!

Donna-FFW said...

These look just wonderful , perfect dinner appetizers.