mushroom and sun-dried tomato bruschetta

We Americans often think that bruschetta is the mixture of tomatoes, garlic, and basil on a slice of toasted bread. Bruschetta, from the Italian word bruscare, meaning to toast or burn, actually refers to the thick slices of grilled bread. Often served as a snack or appetizer, bruschetta is traditionally prepared by rubbing the bread with garlic and drizzling it with olive oil before toasting it over hot coals.  Then the bread is topped with a simple mixture of tomatoes and fresh herbs.  It is an easy way to showcase the excellent quality of freshly-pressed olive oil as well as a way to preserve bread that is beginning to get stale.

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creamy herbed polenta with mushroom ragout

We tend to associate comfort food with winter but this creamy bowl of polenta is also good on a summer evening.  Simple and comforting, it is like sunshine in a bowl.  It is luscious without being heavy and satisfying without being overly rich.  Well-made polenta, with plenty of butter and parmesan cheese, is delicious by itself.  Topped with an earthy mushroom ragout, it’s even better. I served this polenta alongside Grilled Lamb Chops marinated in olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and a green salad with a simple meyer lemon and olive oil vinaigrette.  The whole combination was hearty, yet still fitting for supper on a warm summer evening. Continue reading

bacon and egg cups with cremini mushrooms

I knew immediately when I saw this post on Joanne’s amazing blog, Fifteen Spatulas, that I would be making mini bacon and egg cups. After all, it’s got three of my favorite things – bacon, eggs, and cheese. The beauty of a recipe like this one is that it can be easily customized to our own particular tastes.  The eggs can be cooked over easy, medium, or even scrambled. There are many varieties of cheeses that would work well.  Proscuitto may be substituted for the bacon.  You see, the possibilities are endless.  For my version, I added some crimini mushrooms that I sautéed in butter with a little garlic and chives.  For the bread on the bottom, I cut rounds from a couple of slices of buttermilk bread. Continue reading