I don't have a sweet tooth.
I'm all about the fruits and vegetables.
What? You don't believe me?
And yes, I did eat all of the above in NYC with Kirsten's help.
But I truly do love my small vegetables. Especially if they are small bites. I can make a meal out of bruschetta toppings.
We had two traditions here when the kids were younger. One was "small bites Sunday" which I would do in the winter. There was something about a lazy winter day - when the house was cleaned, the homework done and the weather forbidding that called for a late afternoon nosh. Starting with a substantial slab of bread, cut and waiting on the kitchen table. It would soon be surrounded by warmed mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, cheeses, olive spreads and artichoke hearts.
These little bites would magically appear on the dining room table and everyone could come and go at will - stopping to fill their plates as they wished. There were no guides such as "eat your vegetables." Just a mini feast of small plates.
On Fridays in the summer, I would set up a no-cook spread similar to antipasto platters - of meats, cheeses, vegetables, breads and condiments and let everyone dive in and eat inside or out - whatever struck their fancy.
There was a sense of being out of the routine, being whisked away to a resort when these small bites appeared at the table. It was not "business as usual" and these meals were a welcome break from our normal routine.
It is no wonder that when I first eyed April Bloomfield's recipe for a Mushroom Bruschetta, I knew it would come to my table. April Bloomfield is Chef #43 on Gourmet's List of Women Game Changers in Food.
She is best known for receiving a surprising Michelin star in 2005 for her West Village, NYC restaurant The Spotted Pig. Later in 2007, Food and Wine named her one of the best new chefs to watch. Born in Birmingham, UK, April Bloomfield had no intention of becoming a chef. A missed deadline to apply for the police academy sent her instead to cooking school. Her mix of satisfying Italian and British ingredients has enchanted New Yorkers who wait outside in long lines for a chance to dine at The Spotted Pig. Find more about Ms. Bloomfield here. On to the recipe - it's a good one: earthy with a smattering of decadence - you will want to bring this to your table.
Mushroom Bruschetta Ingredients (Serves 4)
5 tablespoons olive oil - divided (extra if needed)
1 pound mushrooms, cleaned chanterelle or trumpet (I used a gourmet blend)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons fresh, minced Italian parsley
1/4 cup creme fraiche (I used less)
w tablespoons fresh,. chopped chives
4-2/3 inch rye bread, toasted (I use whole grain ciabatta)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups arugula
salt to taste
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add the mushrooms and lightly salt. Saute, stirring until mushrooms are browned (7-10 minutes). If needed, deglaze the pan with a few drops of water. Stir in garlic, butter and parsley (about 1 minute). Just lightly brown the garlic and remove from heat. Add creme fraiche and chives. Blend till combined.
Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet with a little olive oil and add bread and toast (I did it in the oven). Whisk 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the lemon. Toss with arugula. Spoon mushrooms over the toasts and serve with the arugula on the side.
This dish provides a most satisfying line between the "work-a-day world" and "I'm home now, let's put away the day and be calm and comforted." And it's easy. Remember - I am all about cooking with ease.
Please check out what the other bloggers are doing for Week 43 of Female Chef Gourmet Game Changers. And if you want to join in the fun, e-mail Mary at One Perfect Bite. Mary started this delectable journey.
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds,
Linda A - There and Back Again,