Garden Bruschetta

After a brief break from the heat this weekend, we are headed back up above 90 degrees again this week.  And that means that I will once again be faced with the daily dilemma of how much to heat up the kitchen when it comes time to make a meal.  Our kitchen is small, with one south-facing window that doesn't open, and it's not air conditioned.  In other words, even if the oven or stove is on for only a moderate amount of time, it heats up fast! Great for ripening tomatoes on the windowsill, not so great for keeping the rest of the house cool.  
I've gotten creative in working around this challenge.  Sometimes I'll cook and bake ahead of time, usually in the evening when it starts to cool off a bit and I can leave the back storm door window open overnight to let the heat escape, but more often than not, hot weather usually means more meals that require little to no actual cooking.  Garden salads, garden sandwiches, grazing directly out of the garden harvest bowl... do you see a theme developing here? The garden is pretty much our best friend on these hot nights. 
And now that we have not only enough basil to feed a small army, but the first tomatoes starting to come in as well, there are even more options for good garden eating that doesn't require a lot of effort on a hot night, like this simple garden bruschetta.  It only requires a quick 5 minutes of oven time, which you can easily do in advance or with a toaster oven if you'd rather not fire up the oven at all during the heat of the day. The fresh tomatoes and basil are refreshing and light (I don't know about you, but when the temperatures rise, the last thing I want is a heavy meal) and you can't get much more fresh and seasonable than this!  
So while I'd happily welcome the more "normal" temperatures to stick around a little longer, this whole having to avoiding doing as much cooking as possible thing definitely has it's advantages!

Garden Bruschetta
6 Roma tomatoes 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
10 basil leaves, finely cut
Salt and pepper, to taste 

French baguette
1/4 cup olive oil

Seed and finely dice the tomatoes, and add garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil.  Toss until all ingredients are well incorporated and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover and set aside to let the flavors meld for about 15-20 minutes.

Thinly slice a french baguette (about a quarter inch thick).  Brush one side of each slice with olive oil and place, olive oil side down, on a baking sheet.  Toast in the oven for about 5 minutes at 450, or until the slices are golden and crispy (this can be done ahead of time).  

Before serving, give the bruschetta topping another toss, and top toasted bread slices with a generous spoonful of the bruschetta topping; devour immediately. 

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