Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Monday, March 19, 2012


Viv, me and Myrinda at the
Dallas 2012 St. Patrick's Day Parade
After the 5K Run!
Dear Family and Friends!

I hope y’all had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day!  Myrinda and I ran in the Dallas St. Patrick’s Day 5K race on Saturday, then watched the fantastic Dallas parade on Greenville Ave.  Good times had by one and all!

On Sunday evening, I spend a fantastic dinner with Jackie, Landon and Viviana at Sambuca 360 where we heard Daniel Chrysler sing (he is a great friend and always a pleasure to hear him serenade the crowd.)  We enjoyed a delicious meal of appetizers… but their Bruschetta was particularly delicious.  Bruschetta is a healthy, fresh dish that can be enjoyed in a plethora of settings – appetizer for a formal dinner, shared at any type of athletic event, pass-around hors d’oeuvre for a more sophisticated setting, or a simple family dinner side dish.  This is an incredibly simple recipe, yet tastes delicious and looks fantastic when plated in a beautiful, artistic manner.
Landon, Jackie and me at Sambuca

Bruschetta - Basic
3 Large Organic Roma Tomatoes (can use regular tomatoes as a substitute, but I prefer Roma)
2 Cloves Garlic – fine dice
2 Basil leaves – chop fine
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp. Salt/Pepper (or more if so desired).
1 Whole Wheat Baguette – cut into ½ inch slices on the bias cut (diagonal). 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  On a baking sheet, brush slices of baguette with olive oil, rub with garlic clove, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place in oven and allow to cook until lightly golden brown.  Be aware of bread in oven, as it toasts quickly.

Begin by cutting the Roma tomatoes into quarters.  Remove the seeds by cutting the inner membrane, then dicing the tomato into small cubes.  Since this is a rustic dish, do not worry about the uniform shapes and sizes of the tomato cuts.

Fresh Basil
Place diced tomatoes, garlic and basil (desired amount – I love basil… ergo, I add more than usual) in a bowl.  Sprinkle the ingredients with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar and salt/pepper to taste.

Allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

Serve on toasted bread and enjoy!  I like the drizzle reduced balsamic vinegar on a white plate (swirled design), then place toast with tomatoes atop on said plate.  If serving as a pass around hors d’oeuvre, cut the toast into small circles, then place the tomatoes atop the bite-sized toast.  When watching an athletic event, leave the tomatoes in a bowl and the toast on a separate platter… it will be more of a “dip” in this presentation.

Variations to the basic Bruschetta:
Toss in roasted almonds, pine nuts, artichoke hearts, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, goat cheese… experiment with likes/dislikes!  With the remaining Bruschetta, store in the refrigerator.  Can be a great addition with eggs for a morning breakfast or served with a salad at lunch/dinner.

Bruschetta reminds me of a similar recipe that I served while working as the private chef at The Bradley Oaks Ranch in Texas. 

Roma Tomatoes
Tomato Concassé is nothing more than peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes.  In order to remove the skin from a tomato, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  On the top of the tomato, remove the vine and cut away the core.  Score the bottom of the bottom with an “X,” then drop the tomato into the boiling water.  When the skin begins to peel away (fast process – can be finished in as little as 7 -10 seconds, depending on the ripeness of the tomato!), immediately remove the tomato with a spoon and refresh into iced water.  The ice water provides a “shock” to halt the cooking process.  Remove the tomatoes from the ice water and peel away the skin.  Cut the tomato into quarters, then cut away the seeds and inner membrane.  You are left with four “tomato petals.”

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place the tomato petals in a bowl and sprinkle with dried Italian herbs, 1 basil leaf (fine chop), salt, pepper, juice of ½ lemon, 1 garlic clove (diced) and olive oil.  Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and allow to roast until almost falling apart.  The tomatoes should be tender and juicy.  (about 10-20 minutes, depending on the strength of the oven). 

Haricot Verts
(French Green Beans)
Remove from the oven and place tomatoes in a bowl.  Mash the tomatoes together with a fork, then allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least ten minutes.

Haricot verts (French beans) accompany the Concassé beautifully.  Wash haricot verts with cool water, then dry and chop beans into 2 inch long segments.  Instead of a heavy, calories-laden dressing, toss the cooked haricot verts in Greek, plain yogurt.  Season with salt, cayenne pepper (a little bit goes a long way!) and lemon juice.  Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least ten minutes.

Tomato Concasse with Marinated
Haricot Verts, Olive Oil and
Micro Greens
This dish makes for a beautiful presentation.  Remove the marinated Concassé from the refrigerator.  Place a circular-shaped cookie- cutter onto the center of the plate.  With a spoon, carefully add the marinated Concassé to the center of the mold (only about ¼ inch high).  Remove the mold and place stacks of the marinated haricot verts in the center of the marinated Concassé circle.  Garnish with mirco greens, olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.  May also add roasted almonds/pine nuts or feta/goat cheese/ Parmesan cheese.  Serve chilled.

I encourage you to try to make these recipes.  The colors are gorgeous and the tastes will be sure to tickle your palate.  Remember… the presentation is essential when serving food to guests.  It is very much all about the minute details… taking the time to arrange and rearrange.  Food is art.  Your white plate is your blank slate.  Taking the time to allow your creativity to shine reflects the love and care behind your passions.

On that note, Happy 5 Year Wedding Anniversary to my brother and sister-in-law (although I prefer to refer to her as my “sister”) – Stephen and Susan!  Congratulations!! 

Love from Dallas, y’all,

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