Sunday, July 15, 2012

From our Garden: Tomatoes

After we re-did our backyard last summer, my husband made us three great raised beds for planting our own herbs, veggies, fruits... and, still, the occasional weed. (grr!)

Our first official crop is basil, followed closely by tomatoes. Both are plentiful and beyond delicious. So, over the weekend we decided to start harvesting our ripe fruits and enjoy them during their perfection.

Our first harvest - 9 tomatoes. Hmm... what goes well with tomatoes? Basil! (umm.. I don't have a picture of our basil but trust me - it's amazing)

We decided on some bruschetta - chopped up a couple of tomatoes, added some minced garlic, chopped basil, a bit of olive oil & salt & let it marinate for about 30 minutes. There is something about fresh, organic produce - the flavors are so much stronger and better than anything you could buy in the grocery store. After I mixed all of the ingredients together you could just smell the goodness wafting out of the kitchen. So good.

 To go with our bruschetta I whipped up a batch (actually, a half-batch) of pizza dough from my Williams-Sonoma cookbook. I grew up on home-made pizza dough and love it so it was worth the extra effort. And toasts are not good enough for our home-made bruschetta!

To make it an official meal we served our bruschetta with some cheese, salami and two kinds of olives. 

Here's our final product - amazing, fresh and packed full of flavor. And... maybe even slightly healthy. Ok, let's go with healthier... than a lot of things we could have had for dinner. 

Cheers to the cook!

Bruschetta Bread (adapted from Williams-Sonoma's Pizza Dough)


  • 1 Tbs. active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. lukewarm water
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup for
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil


Turn oven on to 500 degrees. Place pizza stone in oven while it preheats.
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and let stand until slightly foamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, stir together the 2 3/4 cups flour and the salt and form into a mound. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture to the well. Using a fork and stirring in a circular motion, gradually pull the flour into the yeast mixture. Continue stirring until a dough forms.

Lightly flour a work surface with some of the 1/2 cup flour and transfer the dough to it. Using the heel of your hand, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. You will most likely need to add more flour as you knead; you do not want your dough to be sticky. Form the kneaded dough into a ball.

Brush a large bowl with the olive oil and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap (or light-weight towel) and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour. More if you have it

Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with some flour. Punch down the dough and, using your hand, begin to press it out gently into the desired shape. Stretch the dough until it is the desired thickness, about 1/4 inch thick for a crusty pizza base and 1/2 inch thick for a softer one. Flip the dough over from time to time as your work with it. (Or roll out the dough with a rolling pin.) The dough should be slightly thinner in the middle than at the edge. Lift or pinch the edge of the pizza to form a slight rim.

Take pizza stone from oven & transfer the dough to the stone. Gently spread dough onto the stone. Brush with olive oil & add minced garlic, salt, herbs.. whatever you like. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for just a few minutes - cut into squares and serve.

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