Monday, October 17, 2011

Mediterranean Monday

Oh, Monday. You always sneak up on us and stretch on forever. Today I had an appointment with a podiatrist to check out my foot, which has been aching fairly consistently since our honeymoon in July. Bad news: It still hurts, and the doctor doesn't really have any idea why. Good news: Since he can't see anything broken or torn, the doctor says I can still run! Terry and I celebrated with an evening workout.

  • Push up challenge: 9, 11, 8, 8, 17
  • Stretch
  • Hip toners: 2 x 30 each side
  • Inner thigh scissors: 2 x 30
  • Run: 2.5 miles
Tonight's meal is one of my absolute favorites. We ate the world's most delicious bruschetta in Italy on our honeymoon, and when we came back I found myself craving it almost every day. Finally, I whipped up a batch and could not believe how easy and delicious it was! I've tried several variations, with cheeses, different herbs, and added vegetables, but nothing is as good as the basic bruschetta.


  • Sliced sourdough bread (I used whole-wheat from Great Harvest)
  • 2 large tomatoes (I like to mix different varieties, like heirloom and Roma), diced
  • 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil for each slice of bread, plus 1 tbsp extra
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil (except 1 tbsp.) with a dash of salt and pepper over medium heat in a pan large enough for all slices of bread. Add the sourdough slices to the pan, allowing them to soak up the oil. Grill for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown, then flip for another 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, combine diced tomatoes, 1 tbsp. olive oil, basil, and salt and pepper in a small bowl.

When the bread is golden on both sides, I find it best to cool a bit on a cooling rack to avoid soggy bread. When you're ready to serve, top the bread with as much of the tomato mixture as the bread will hold.

I can't tell you what I love most about this bruschetta. It might be the juicy texture of the tomato juxtaposed with the crunch of the grilled bread. Or it might be the savory olive oil offset by the sweet tomatoes. Either way, I know that this recipe absolutely requires fresh tomatoes, and those from a farmers' market are best! I would love to someday grow my own produce, but until then I'm happy we have several choices for local farmers' markets.

To accompany the bruschetta, we stuck with the Mediterranean theme and created a gorgeous, colorful, delicious Greek salad.

So Good Greek Salad
Serves 2 as a meal; halve recipe for a starter salad

  • 1 medium tomato (I used heirloom), diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 oz. feta cheese, finely chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 head of romaine lettuce, shredded
Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.

Greek salad is one of the only salads I genuinely enjoy, and it requires no dressing! If you think it's lacking, here's a little concoction I tried the first few times I made the salad, but I find it unnecessary.

Greek Salad Dressing
  • 1/3 C. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all spices, then whisk in the liquids. It's best to make the dressing a day ahead and leave in the fridge to let the flavors marry.

And now for the one-week update on our Let's Eat In Challenge, where we're aiming to eat only homemade meals for thirty days. So far, so good! Even when we feel exhausted, we manage to cook delicious, wholesome, homemade meals from scratch. Here's what we kinda already knew but like to be reminded of once in awhile:
  • Eating out takes the same amount of time as cooking, eating, and cleaning up, though, yes, the shopping is added time.
  • Eating in is far more affordable, even with our farmers' market splurges like grass-fed beef.
  • Eating in every night forces me to be more creative with my cooking and helps me develop new recipes.
  • The only way to guarantee we'll eat in is to pre-plan our meals; pre-planning takes away the anxiety of randomly suggesting a recipe while at work and then not knowing which ingredients I need to buy at the store.


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