One of my friends named Sue, captured some epic photos of our tomatoes and basil that I had just picked a few hours before we arrived. The wood charcuterie board was made by my husband, who hand crafts them with my 9 year old son Dakota. They fashion them out of naturally fallen local California oak trees. If you want one- just email me for an order! JK. The baguettes are from my one of my favorite cafes in Southern California: Gjusta on Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach. If you have never been, you MUST go and be sure to take a fresh loaf of their sourdough bread home with you.
In the photo above, you will see a savory sourdough loaf from my favorite baker who owns Bob's Well Bread up on the Central Coast in Los Alamos (just outside of Santa Ynez Wine Country). Please, please go there on your way up to Pismo Beach or San Luis Obispo and grab a steamy coffee drink and one of their famous chocolate almond croissants. Be sure to get there early as they sell out quickly each day. Paired with the bread is my homemade bruschetta. It's a flavor of summer and fall all rolled into one dish. Here's my recipe- try it out and let me know what you think!
- harvest or purchase fresh 8-10 medium sized vine ripened tomatoes- organic (obviously!!!)
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- parmesan Cheese
- salt & pepper
- garlic (optional but gives optimal flavor)
- 2-3 organic basil leaves
- Dice tomatoes (choose red and orange heirlooms to make it look prettier) and add to a bowl
- Stir in olive oil. I use about 1/2 cup depending on how many tomatoes I dice. Basically just enough to make a light sauce for the tomatoes to sit in with the tomato juice
- Add a 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, less if you don't want it too strong of a flavor
- finely chop organic garlic, I love 1-2 cloves. Add to mixture
- finely chop basil leaves and stir into mixture
- stir in some parmesan cheese- around 2 tbsp.
- add salt and pepper to taste. Remember that the parmesan adds a salt flavor so less salt than pepper
- put in a decorative bowl, garnish with basil and serve with fresh bread
Here's another one of my favs that my whole family polishes off in one sitting:
PESTO: (no photo-sorry!)
- 2 cups chopped organic basil *** the trick is not to wash the basil. Simply use your hand to gently wipe any dust off of your organic home picked basil. Getting it wet changes the flavor of the pesto. However, if you purchase from a store or it's not organic, please wash!!
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup parmesean cheese
- a clove or two of garlic
- 3 tbsp of pine nuts, walnuts, or pistachios- I prefer pine nuts
- salt and pepper to taste
- Blend basil first and then add other ingredients. Stop when it's at your preferred consistency
- Put in a bowl and add pepper to taste
- I like to add a tablespoon of parmesean cheese and whole pine nuts for texture