All Posts By: NANCY DeLUCIA REAL

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Nancy’s Express Tomato Bruschette

In Appetizers / Starters, Fun Foods On March 26, 2010 1 Comment

 TomatoesfromGardenWatermark

One night last week I came home from work late and realized I had not prepared dinner in advance – I usually do this a day earlier. I looked around my kitchen and spotted some ripe tomatoes in a basket. I made these bruschette (Italian for “toasts”) in a rush – 10 minutes.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
8 one-inch thick slices Italian bread
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
4 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped red onion (cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley leaves
3 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup grated cheese (Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano)

1. Place bread slices on a baking sheet and position 6 inches away from top oven broiler-grill.

2. With oven setting on “broil”, toast the bread slices on one side only.

3. Transfer the bread slices onto a platter and drizzle them lightly with some oil; set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, gently toss together the tomatoes, onion, chopped basil or parsley with 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.

5. Taste and adjust oil and seasonings.

6. Spoon equal amounts of the tomato mixture over the bruschette and top with some cheese.

Serve immediately.

Note: Traditional bruschette recipes begin with the rubbing of a cut clove of garlic on each slice of bread, followed by the toasting procedure.

Tip: To remove the bite but not the flavor from sliced or chopped raw onions, place them in a bowl of cold water, give them a squeeze and drain. Use in recipe as directed.

Text ©2010 Nancy Real

Springtime Strawberry Jam

In Fruit and Jams On March 19, 2010 0 Comments

Spring and all of nature’s bounty are finally here! I was so excited when I saw the first fresh crop of strawberries at my local farmers’ market, that I immediately created this recipe for homemade strawberry jam. It’s natural, light and delicious on toasted bread, or as a topping for ice cream, yogurt or cookies. And the best part is that it only takes about 20 minutes to make.

Active prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Inactive prep time: 2 hours (for cooling)
Makes: 1-1/2 to 2 cups

Ingredients:
4 cups (1 quart) whole fresh strawberries
1/2 cup pure cane sugar (this sugar is light golden and less processed)
1/2 cup water
Juice of half a lemon
1-1/4 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water in a small cup or glass

1. Rinse and dry the strawberries.

2. Remove stems and cut the strawberries into fourths lengthwise.

3. In a 3-quart saucepot, combine the strawberries, sugar and the water.

4. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. After 3 minutes, mash the strawberries with a potato masher, and cook an additional minute. Stir in the lemon juice and the  cornstarch mixture.

6. Taste and, if a sweeter jam is desired, add 1 additional tablespoon sugar. Cook and stir for an additional 30 to 45 seconds.

7. Remove from heat, cover and cool completely.

Transfer to an airtight glass container and refrigerate up to one week.
Makes 2 cups

Text ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real