Summer Bruschetta & Garlic Chard

September is my favorite month. It’s like setting the reset button on the year. The air gets a bit crisper, we get to wear fall clothes, we’re all back to work, back to school and looking down the road toward things like (dare I say) the holidays. September is “festival month” here in Portland with PICA’s Time Based Art Festival, MusicFest NW and Feast Portland.

If you haven’t gotten your tickets to any of these said events, particularly Feast Portland you need to jump on them! We’re excited for this to kick off on September 17th. Celebrity chefs and food personalities from around the country are descending upon our city to compete, lecture and give demonstrations on the newest thinking and trends in food and cooking. Here’s the website for schedules and tickets.

To me, nothing says end of summer more than fresh tomatoes. We had them bountifully available in upstate NY, but it’s been harder to grow them in Oregon (at least for me) the last couple of summers because our seasons have been shorter. Last summer we had a few cherry tomatoes but this year I thought we’d try to grow a San Marzano variety to jar marinara sauce.
A few of them are starting to peak which gave me a hankering for bruschetta.

Bryce was at the neighbor’s house watching a movie and with Ben away in NYC it was a simple, light dinner for one which also involved Annie Hall, poetically set in the fall in NYC. Every time I watch this movie it’s as if I can simultaneously smell the air and feel the energy of a NY September. Come on, take a walk down memory lane with me. Thanks Woody.

Back to dinner — I’ve been eating tons of chard and kale lately after watching a TedX talk about Dr. Terry Wahls who, reversed her MS symptoms by eating 4-6 cups of dark leafy greens every day as part of a 9 cup per day fruit and vegetable (+ high protein) regimen. She was in a wheelchair at the beginning of this diet and now participates in 18 mile cycling races. (You read that right.) I’m always amazed by these types of stories which further solidify the idea that we should never underestimate the healing power of foods, especially those that specifically nourish the brain. Here’s her TedX Talk.

Of all the darker greens, Swiss chard is actually my favorite because it has a heartier, more substantial leaf that not only has nice flavor, but stands up well to heat.

Summer Bruschetta & Garlic Chard

Bruschetta
1-2 ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, whole
2-3 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Splash of red wine vinegar (lemon juice or balsamic would also work well)
Drizzle of good olive oil
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1-2 slices of crusty bread, toasted (baguette would be great)

Garlic Chard
1-2 cups of fresh chard washed, dried and chopped in large pieces
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the bruschetta:
Put the tomatoes, garlic, basil, vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper in a bowl and combine. Let the flavors get acquainted for at least 10 minutes.

Put the bread in the toaster or under the broiler. If using the broiler, keep an eye on it as you’ll need to flip the bread!

For the chard:
Heat the tbsp of olive oil in a pan and add the tbsp of chopped garlic. Once you see the oil is heating up add the chard with a pinch of salt and pepper and toss. Note: Don’t wait until the garlic starts to brown to add the chard as the garlic at this point will taste bitter. The garlic will infuse the oil quickly and tastes better warmed, not crispy. The chard will wilt in just a few minutes, so watch it closely. I let mine cook about 2-3 minutes total.

Back to bruschetta:
Take the whole garlic clove and rub one side of the toasted bread. Spoon the tomato mixture over top and finish with fresh ground pepper.

Total prep + cooking time: about 20 minutes.

Have a fantastic day!

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