The Northwest can't make up its mind... not only is it pouring down rain one day and gorgeous, sunny warm the next, it's pouring down rain one hour and gorgeous, sunny warm the next. I mean really Northwest, make up your mind: fall or summer? What's it going to be?
It's such a novelty to hear from other fellow bloggers where the weather is not only consistent, it's the same. Literally. All the time. Lazaro, from Lazaro Cooks! is in Florida and he says it's basically seasonless there... I think I might take it. I would have to deal with cockroaches though, right? Hmmm. Pause for thought. (Side note... Lazaro's blog is fantastical; you should check it out; it's one of my favorites)
Anyway, so yesterday was one of the nasty pouring down rain days where all you want to do is wear comfy clothes, bake carbohydrates and/or sit in front of the fireplace reading a good book like The Sharper Your Knife The Less You Cry, by Kathleen Flinn while you listen to the fat raindrops pelt the windows. I actually love the rain on days like that.
I don't love the rain when I have to wear work clothes and tromp Noodle Nose through the puddles, as he necessarily splashes each one while we laboriously make our way from the warm car into the hectic atmosphere of his daycare.
I did, however get to come home a little early and make soup. Remember the soup I posted? The Roasted Parsnip and Sweet Potato soup? Well, what goes better with a soup like that than a lovely bruschetta, bright in flavor and color?
I had to make this bruschetta up based on what I had available in the refrigerator because the rain? Yep, still at it, and I wasn't interested in trekking to the store. Luckily it turned out really good, and it was really simple. Bonus. The freshness of the parsley paired with the balsamic reduction was the perfect 'bite' paired with the sweetness of the soup.
I love that this bruschetta can also easily be serve alone as an appetizer or side to something else. It's also super easy to make and you could make it ahead if you wanted. Extra fantastic for parties where you want to be your own guest vs. a crazy kitchen dweller.
About 1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
14-16 large leaves fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/4 cup walnuts
About 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked pepper
1 loaf french baguette
Extra virgin olive oil (for drizzling)
In a small pan, heat the balsamic vinegar over med/low heat. Bring it to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Let cook about 5-10 minutes, stirring to ensure it doesn't stick to the pan.
Turn off stove and let it cool. When it's 'done' it isn't necessarily 'thick', but as you let it cool it will thicken up.
While the vinegar is reducing you can work on your pesto:
In a food processor, combine the parsley, basil and olive oil. Pulse to combine then add walnuts.
Continue to pulse into a paste then add salt and pepper to taste. Pulse to combine and let rest for a few minutes before you taste it. This will give the salt and pepper time to incorporate.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 or prep your toaster oven (note: I use the toaster oven as much as possible... it just seems more green to me)
Slice your bread diagonally into about 1/2 inch thick pieces. Arrange pieces on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with sea salt.
Toast in oven or toaster oven for about 5 minutes until barely toasted.
Taste your pesto. If it needs more salt, add it and pulse to ensure it's properly blended into a paste consistency.
Spread pesto onto toasts fairly liberally. Transfer to serving plate and drizzle your cooled balsamic reduction on top.
In this particular instance we served it with that delicious roasted parsnip and sweet potato soup. As I mentioned above, this bruschetta would also make a great appetizer or side to something else. It is also super easy to make ahead and travels well.