Wednesday, August 4

Saturday Night Picnic (Tomato Bruschetta, Corn-mato Salad)

Since moving into our house, I've been clamoring to host a party.  I didn't care who came or how many there were or what we were eating, I just wanted to play Martha Stewart.  So, less then 2 weeks after we moved in, we had a Halloween party.  Then we hosted Thanksgiving for both our families.  Then we had a Christmas party.  Then we hosted Christmas dinner for both our families.  Then I took a looooooong nap.

Then, one hot Saturday morning, I went to the Collingswood Farmer's Market to gather ingredients for another little dinner party, this one with our best couple friends and much less drama.  I had found great recipes for baked tomatoes and some cheesy cornbread.  

Our friends brought the veggies and some awesome corn salad.  This was by far the most healthy looking dinner we've had in a long time.  Since corn and tomatoes are in season, these are some delicious ways to use them up while they're fresh and tasty! 

(Our Saturday night summertime feast!)

Baked Tomato Bruschetta
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2-1/2 cups cubed French baguette
2-1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes, chopped into 3/4 inch pieces (I scoop the goop out, but feel free to leave it in if you like it)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup sliced fresh basil
1 cup romano cheese

Heat the oil in a shallow pan.  Saute the bread cubes until they are toasty croutons, about 6-7 minutes.  Combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup of the cheese.  Cook with the bread cubes in the oil for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the basil, pour into a baking dish and top with the cheese.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, until cheese is melty.

We spooned this on top of grilled chicken, topped with a slice of mozzarella cheese and finished in the oven for about 4 minutes.  Voila - healthy chicken parm!

Kristen's Corn-mato Salad
Ok here is the recipe, BUT I kind of just did my own thing and used this recipe as a guideline. So, I didn't measure the cilantro out really.  :)
6 ears fresh corn, husked
2 small containers of grape tomatoes
1 medium red onion
chopped fresh cilantro 
3/4 cup Italian salad dressing
 (sweet and salty and delicious!)
I grilled the corn first then cut the kernels off.  Then I chopped the onion and cilantro together in the food processor.  I cut the grape tomatoes in half and put them in the bowl first, then added the corn and cilantro/red onion mix.  I seasoned everything with salt and pepper. Next I put the salad dressing on top and mixed it all together.

I was also thinking of just mixing it with some olive oil and some lime juice to give it more of a Mexican feel, but I chose the Italian dressing instead. I think to make it more Italian I would add basil instead of cilantro and the Italian dressing or red wine vinegar and olive oil. So you can do this a couple different ways, which is fun!  I also thought about adding peppers too. It's a fun dish because you can play around with it and there isn't much you can do to mess it up!

Cheesy Cornbread
(adapted from The Cilantropist)
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 cup milk
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 cup Mexican corn mix (corn, peppers), drained
4 tablespoons pickled jalapeno peppers

(Cheesy, spicy and maybe just a little bit corny)

Combine the cornmeal, flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the milk, oil, corn and peppers.  Mix in the cheese.  Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, stirring until just combine.  Pour into a greased 8x8 baking pan, top with remaining cheese and bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
All dishes best enjoyed with good friends.  :-)

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