Showing posts with label bruschetta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bruschetta. Show all posts

Monday, August 1, 2016

I Say Bru-shetta, You Say Bru-sketta!

A very warm welcome to our friend Victoria Hamilton. MUCH ADO ABOUT MUFFIN, the fourth book in her Merry Muffin Mystery series will be in bookstores tomorrow!

Don't miss her fun giveaway! To enter, see the instructions below.

Here's Victoria!

I love growing herbs. I have, in the garden: variegated sage and regular sage, thyme, lemon thyme, lemon balm, summer savory, French tarragon, oregano and others. Lately I have moved to growing annual herbs in a pot. I have marjoram, rosemary (a tender perennial that doesn’t fare well this far north) and three types of basil: Sweet, Lemon and Thai in order from left to right in the picture.

However… recently I kinda lost sight of the rosemary in the center of the pot because the basil took over. I’ve never made pesto (tho’ I may try this year) so… what to do with all that luscious basil? Bruschetta is something many enjoy only in the restaurant as an appetizer, but I often make it, topped with cheese, for lunch, or a meal side dish.

Now, as to the title… well, I started seeing it long ago on menus and so pronounced it my own way, as bru-shetta, only to learn it should be pronounced bru-sketta. But it’s hard to break old habits, right? Ask me, the gal who still pronounces ‘mandarin’ with the emphasis on the middle syllable, man-DAR-in, because that’s how I thought it sounded.

Enjoy my bruschetta, delicious any way you say it!


Two or three tomatoes

Generous handful of fresh basil, whatever kind you have.

¼ cup finely diced sweet onion

2 – 3 garlic cloves

2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil

Garlic butter

2 – 3 panini rolls (or whatever kind of roll or bun you like)

1 cup grated cheese – I used extra old cheddar, but use whatever you like!

*Some people use balsamic vinegar; I’m not a fan, but go ahead if you like it, a tablespoon or so!

Freshly grated sea salt and pepper.


Do this part a few hours before you plan to make the bruschetta:

1 – Chop tomato to a medium dice, discarding seeds and excess liquid. Throw in a bowl, and add: chopped or chiffonade of basil, finely chopped onion, chopped or grated garlic.

2 – Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar (if you’re using it) the fresh ground sea salt and black pepper to taste – not too much - and mix it all up.

3 – Set aside in a jar or covered bowl so the flavors marry. You can hold a ceremony if you like, but don’t expect the garlic to obey. It’s more strong-willed than that.

Just before meal:

4 – Split your rolls. (Don’t get confused and roll your splits). You can spread a good commercial garlic butter on the split rolls, or just brush olive oil and rub a garlic clove over it.

5 – Broil for a couple of minutes until the top is crusty.

6 – Take buns out of oven (you should never leave a bun in the oven too long!) and pile the bruschetta mix on – I use a slotted spoon so I don’t soak the buns with too much of the liquid – top with grated cheese, and broil again until bubbly and melted, or even until the cheese is browned a little on top.

This is a really versatile dish, as you can tell by my ingredients list, and easy to stretch. It can be an appetizer, but I call it lunch!


Ready to go.

Lovely mix jar.

Cheeky garlic!

3 kinds of basil.


Bruschetta chop.

Bruschetta done.

Bruschetta YUM!

About Much Ado About Muffin

In this fresh mystery from the national bestselling author of Death of an English Muffin, baker Merry Wynter comes to the aid of an innocent woman accused of murder.

When muffin baker Merry Wynter sees an innocent woman accused of murder, it’s dough or die...

Opera singer Roma Toscano may have a crippling case of stage fright, but she certainly is stirring up drama in Autumn Vale, New York, as she prepares for an upcoming performance at Merry’s Wynter Castle. With her flamboyant style and flirtatious personality, Roma attracts fans as well as critics, including the town’s postmistress—and Merry’s bitter foe—Minnie Urquhart.

But Roma and Minnie’s heated rivalry goes cold after Merry discovers Minnie dead at the post office. While every clue seems to be another ingredient in the investigation of Roma, Merry thinks the case is half-baked, and she’s eager to get her mitts on the real killer...


Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of three bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries as Victoria, and the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.

Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything… except writing!

Merry Muffin Mysteries Facebook Page:



I’ll be giving away a pretty white and silver china teacup and saucer, and a very cool skull spoon, as well as a copy of Much Ado About Muffin and bookmark!

Open to US and Canadian addresses; include in your entry comment your email address and a name, please! Entries accepted until midnight, August 7th!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bruschetta Open-Faced Sandwich

RileyAdamsFoodBlogPostpic_thumb_thumb[3] I had a great time at my book club meeting last Thursday.

The book itself was interesting, the discussion was lively, but the very best part was visiting with my friends—and the food that was there!

My friend Corby was the book club hostess for May and she’d prepared a delicious bruschetta open-faced sandwich that all the club members oohed over! So of course I thought I’d share it with you here. The construction of the sandwich is quick and so is the cooking time…but you do need to put aside an hour for the caramelized onions. Corby said that if you try to cheat, it just doesn’t taste the same. And this dish was too delish to mess up!

Bruschetta Open-Faced Sandwich



A take-and–bake loaf of artisan bread
2 -3 onions sliced Caramelized onions
(sauté on low with olive oil and a little butter for about an hour) Take your time because the onions will be sweeter.
1 large Mozzarella ball, sliced
2 medium sized tomatoes cut into thin slices
1/4 pound prosciutto
balsamic vinegar blend (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup fresh basil
A seasoning blend (like Nature’s Seasons)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the loaf of bread in half. Layer these ingredients on the top of the loaf halves—prosciutto on the bottom, then sliced tomatoes, then the caramelized onions. Place the Mozzarella on the top then bake according to the bread instructions (about 10 minutes.) After removing the bread from the oven, add the basil, balsamic blend, and your seasoning mix.

IMG_20110526_193055One of the nice things is that it still seemed like a fairly light meal---perfect for summer. And it wasn’t as messy to eat as it looks in the picture…which is important when you’re at a party or book club!

Coming June 7!
imageFINGER LICKIN' DEAD by Riley Adams
Delicious and Suspicious (Riley Adams)
Finger Lickin’ Dead—June 7 (book 2 of the Memphis BBQ series!)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Eggplant Bruschetta?

9780451233806.jpgDon't Miss Out on Wendy Lyn Watson's Fun Contest:

A Parfait Giveaway

In honor of the June 7 release of A Parfait Murder (the third Mystery a la Mode), which features a story line about the Lantana Round-Up Rodeo Queen Pageant, Wendy is giving away a little cowboy couture:  a leather and rhinestone cuff, and a “rodeo queen” keychain. Eligibility:  This contest is open to everyone living in the U.S. and Canada.  One entry per person, please.
How to Enter:  Send proof of purchase of A Parfait Murder (either a receipt, or a picture of you holding the book, by e-mail to  Put the words “Parfait Giveaway” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by 5:00 PM Central Standard Time on Friday, June 17.  Wendy will randomly select one entry, announce the winner on MLK on Saturday, June 18, and contact that person via e-mail.  If she doesn't get a response within 7 days, she will draw another name. 



As you may remember from last week, I'm working at cross purposes this summer, trying to maintain a low-carb lifestyle for me and my husband while providing vegetarian meals for one of our daughters.  This week I'm attempting to recreate an appetizer we enjoyed at our middle daughter's graduation dinner two weeks ago.

We ordered an eggplant dish, the name of which I cannot remember. All I recall was that it was in Italian and the description sounded good. When it arrived at the table, I thought it looked like bruschetta -- little eggplant ovals topped with sauteed vegetables. 

When we realized that everyone at the table loved it, I decided to try to make it at home. As usual, I'll tell  you the verdict before I give you the recipe. Half of us loved it, half of us liked it. When it came to a vote, the "likers" voted that we *should* make this again, so to my mind, it's a winner. What I'd do next time is probably ease up on the zucchini or switch it out for broccoli (everybody's favorite).

One big caveat: You know how most people eat bruschetta with their fingers? This is not that kind of appetizer. This is a fork and knife moment, for sure. 

Here goes:


One small eggplant, sliced
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 small zucchini, cut up
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp oregano
6 oz fresh mozzarella 
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat, add garlic and allow to sizzle for a little bit. Add onion, zucchini, and tomato. Stir to cover all veggies with oil. Sprinkle with oregano and stir a bit more. Reduce heat to low and cover. Allow to saute until all veggies are cooked.

In the meantime (and this takes a while), cook eggplant. I've always heard that you're supposed to slice it early and let it drain, but mine didn't drain a bit. I didn't salt it. Maybe I should have.

Anyway, I grilled my eggplant on a George Foreman grill. My eldest daughter (yep, we all got in on this one) decided she didn't want it anymore so it's here until she decides she wants it back. Ha ha.

You can choose to saute your eggplant instead, but I thought that since I had this fun new toy, I'd try it. And it worked out very nicely. Eggplant takes longer than a couple minutes to cook though. I thought maybe 4 - 6 minutes on the grill. Nope. More like 12 minutes.

Okay. Once the eggplant is cooked, place it on foil on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and top with little pieces of fresh mozzarella. On top of this, add spoonfuls of the sauteed veggies.

Place in preheated (350 F) oven for about five minutes. Watch closely. As soon as the mozzarella melts, they're done. 

Use flat spatula to remove from cookie sheet and place on serving platter. 

This makes a better side dish than appetizer, IMHO. You wouldn't want to try to pick one of these up with your fingers!

But they are very good and worth trying. As I said, I'd swap out the zucchini next time. Most of us love mushrooms, so that could make a nice alternative. Or just tomato, onion, and basil, like regular bruschetta. 

Have fun experimenting!

June is an exciting month and it's just around the corner! So many books coming out the same day. Wendy is running a fun contest (see below) to celebrate the launch of A PARFAIT MURDER, and I'm inviting you to my party June 12th! I would love to see you at Centuries & Sleuths that day! Sign up for my newsletter (next issue coming June 7th!) for updates! You can sign up here at my personal blog.

GRACE UNDER PRESSURE received a *Starred Review* from Publishers Weekly, and GRACE INTERRUPTED picks up where that story left off. I hope you'll join Grace, Frances, Bennett, and Jack in their newest adventure!

I tried really hard to get these two book covers to be side by side like my blog sisters do. Alas, no luck. 

They came out looking "almost right," but still a little bit off. So I decided for this 7 -10 split instead LOL

No matter what, I hope you enjoy the covers, and please visit my website: for more.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Treats

It's Thanksgiving week at Mystery Lovers Kitchen!

Welcome into "our" house.

Today, I'm sharing...


What's not to like about appetizers? For a Thanksgiving feast, you've got to have
a lot of them, right? You've got family and/or friends...or just
yourself...milling about.

You must eat. And enjoy!

I remember Thanksgivings where all I ate were appetizers. I adore turkey, but by the time the meal came around, I'd had so many delicious treats before, I couldn't even consider a taste of turkey (my favorite) and mashed potatoes (my second favorite) and cranberry sauce (okay, this might be my first favorite) and pumpkin pie (all right, truth? I never pass up pumpkin pie)...but you know what I mean.

Appetizers. You've got to have good, great, tasty appetizers. They set the mood. They let the
family and friends mingle. They stir the palate.

Yes, of course, a cheese platter is always a wonderful appetizer.

But here are a couple of appetizers that are just downright tasty!

And easy.

Easy is important!!!



12 thin (but not too thin) pancetta slices

12 arugula leaves

12 slices fresh goat cheese

3-4 teaspoons peach preserves

4 figs, sliced thinly


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place pancetta in single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. [Can be put on foil.]

Bake until crisps, 12-15 minutes. [*A thicker piece of pancetta will take longer to cook and not be as brittle. I recommend.]

Cool pancetta and transfer to a platter.

Top each pancetta with 1 arugula leaf, 1 slice of goat cheese, ¼ teaspoon of jam, and 1 small slice of fig.

If desired, sprinkle with ground pepper.



1 cup artichoke hearts (canned, in water)

½ cup basil leaves, diced

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

16-18 green pimento-stuffed olives (diced)

1 5.2-ounce garlic-herb cheese (like Boursin)

Crusty breads, crackers, breadsticks


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop artichoke hearts, basil, and olives. Pour into mixing bowl. Add cheeses. Stir well.

Pour mixture into 4-cup baking dish.

Bake about 15 minutes.

Garnish with diced basil.

Serve with breads and crackers.


... for my gluten-free friends, I wanted to share a gluten-free stuffing recipe. That's right, stuffing! Made with GF bread. It's so delicious and so easy, it's scary. This was inspired by a new Twitter friend @glutenfreegirl. She has an ongoing romance with a chef and they put together a little video on stuffing. I tweaked their recipe to make it my own.

Most importantly, start with a really good gluten-free bread. Don't skimp. It can be homemade or store-bought, but make sure it's a bread you normally like. [I start with mine frozen so it won't absorb too much moisture too quickly.]



12 slices gluten-free bread

2 cups GF broth

1 cup chopped celery

¼ cup chopped water chestnuts

½ cup chopped yellow onion

4 tablespoons butter

3 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

1 egg plus enough water to equal ½ cup liquid

Parsley flakes

[If desired, 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese]


Set oven to 300 degrees.

In a saucepan, combine butter, broth, celery, onion, chestnuts, and spices. Bring to boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

In a bowl, combine egg and water.

Slice bread into thick cubes. (I like to use frozen bread so it won’t absorb the moisture too fast.)

Put the bread into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Pour the egg/water combination over the bread. Pour the hot broth combination over the bread. DO NOT STIR YET.

Bake in oven 30 minutes. If desired, broil the stuffing for about 5 minutes until crisp brown.

Remove from oven and stir, chopping up the bread to moisten entirely. [If you do not like your stuffing so moist, do not chop and stir. Simply serve...]

Garnish with parsley flakes and serve.

If desired, this may be served with shredded Parmesan cheese.



Remember to enter Krista's Christmas Cookie Contest!

Krista's Christmas
Cookie Contest!

Krista Davis is celebrating the upcoming release
of her new holiday mystery, The Diva Cooks a Goose.

She's holding a delicious contest! Send Krista your favorite cookie recipe
at Krista at KristaDavis dot com and you might win!
Find out more by
clicking here


Finally...if you'd like to know more about A Cheese Shop Mystery series and want to download a few other recipes from me (on recipe cards), click on this link to my website: Avery Aames. I've posted recipes in the "morsels" section. There's lots of other fun stuff, as well. And sign up for the mailing list to get in on the next contest...coming soon.