Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Joanie:  This recipe is definitely one of my most requested!  I don’t know if this qualifies as a true bruschetta since there is no olive oil in the recipe, but it’s still delicious!  You could substitute olive oil in place of the butter, but I have yet to try that.  This would actually be a perfect recipe to use Janna’s Homemade Butter.

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Ingredients:

1 narrow baguette, French or the like

2 cups fresh diced tomatoes

1/3 cup minced red onion

Fresh basil, approx 20 large leaves (dried will NOT do!)

1/2 cup butter

Fresh garlic cloves (I use 4 or 5 large cloves, I like a strong garlic flavor)

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

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Start with red, ripe tomatoes.  Finely dice yield approximately 2 cups.  Set aside in a bowl.

Mince red onion, add to tomatoes.

Chiffonade basil leaves by stacking them, rolling them lengthwise, and slicing them into thin ribbons.

Add basil to tomato mixture.  Salt to taste.  Set aside.

Heat oven to broil.

Slice baguette on the diagonal to desired thickness.  I like mine about 3/4 inch.   Arrange on a baking sheet and gently toast them on broil in your oven.  WATCH THEM CAREFULLY so they don’t burn.  You want these to be slightly golden and crusty.  They will go back into the oven for final step so don’t let them get too dark.  Remove when toasted.

In microwave safe bowl, add 1/2 cup of butter and minced garlic.  Microwave until melted and creamy.  Give butter mixture a stir, then add generously to each slice of toasted baguette.  I like to make sure the garlic pieces are evenly distributed on the bread.  Don’t go cheap on the butter!  This adds SO MUCH flavor to the recipe.  Next, use small slotted spoon to add tomato mixture to each slice of bread.  Top with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Place back in the oven and broil.  Again, WATCH CAREFULLY!  They are ready when cheese is melted and bruschetta is hot.

Most of this batch was eaten within minutes, so this is all I could get for a picture!

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Homemade Butter Is Better!

So here it is, our first blog post!  This has been a long time coming, as we have been talking about putting together a cookbook for years.  However, it was Janna who said “I want to start a food blog!”  That idea has now become a reality and we are so excited to get started!

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Janna here!  I’ve been thinking hard about what recipe I want to share first.   I want it simple, yet intriguing…maybe a little inspiring.  So I’ve chosen BUTTER.  Yes, butter!  You will not believe how easy it is to make your own butter.

I had just started working in the kitchen at Hedges Family Estates Winery, with Deborah Culverhouse, the Liason.  Deb (as we all call her) told me we were going to make butter and I thought, seriously?  Where’s the wooden butter churner and the rickety front porch?

Deb pulled out her food processor and some heavy cream and it literally took under ten minutes to make delicious, creamy, sweet butter!  This was only the first of many fantastic things I would learn from Deb.

AMAZING!!!

To make your own butter, you will need:

8oz heavy cream (unpasturized or pasturized but NOT ultra pasturized, I use pasturized, organic, grass fed)

Food processor, stand mixer or hand mixer with a paddle attachment (a whisk attachment will NOT work)

Rubber spatula

Cheese cloth or mesh colander

Very cold water

Fine sea salt

Put cream into mixing bowl or food processor and start on med/high.  Cream will start to thicken and will resemble whipped cream in about 4 minutes.  Continue mixing.

The cream will “break” and the butter will start to separate from the buttermilk at about 6 minutes.  The butter will look dry and grainy.  The buttermilk will slosh out at this point so, use the splash guard attachment on your mixer if you have one.

*Note:  The “ghosty” look of the pictures is just the paddle spinning.  Don’t turn your mixer off during the churning process, even for pictures.  =)

Drain the buttermilk out of the bowl (you can reserve it to use in another recipe).  Press the butter up against the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula, squeezing excess buttermilk out.  Drain off buttermilk again.

Scrape butter into bottom of bowl and add about ½ cup of the cold water.  Turn mixer on low for about 10 seconds.  Press butter against the bowl again and drain water.  Do this 2 or 3 times.

As a last step, to make sure all the buttermilk and water is out, put the butter into a mesh strainer and press with rubber spatula over the sink or a bowl.  Turn butter and press several times.  It may be useful to pat lightly with a paper towel to get all the moisture off the surface of the butter.

*If you don’t have a mesh strainer, you can do what Deborah does and wrap the butter in a cheesecloth and press excess moisture out.

At this point you have delicious homemade butter!  Aren’t you proud of yourself?  It was easier than you thought huh?  I don’t make this every time I want butter because it is a little more spendy than buying it already made, but for some recipes (like homemade bread), no other will do than freshly made butter!  Your friends and family will be completely impressed and will think you were hunkered over the churn all day!!

If you want your butter salted, use a fine grain sea salt and stir it into the butter.  a little goes a long way so start with a very small amount (a pinch) and add to taste.

Enjoy!!

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Update:  1/15/13

Here’s a couple snapshots.  Top: Janna’s butter next to a store-bought stick of butter.  Bottom:  Joanie’s first attempt at butter.  Turned out lighter in color, but still delicious!

JannasButterJoaniesButter

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