So for my first entry, I met with my cooking partner in crime, Amy. She and I have cooked before and she has taught me a lot. Our previous meals had focused around my bachelorhood and lack of cooking ability. So when I asked her to find a recipe that was more significant to her, she opted to go with a simple route.
Amy is a half-Persian woman who’s non-Persian mother was a major influence on her cooking ability. Paraphrasing Amy, “noon paneer,” is a traditional Iranian dish that is usually served with tea and eaten for breakfast. It usually consists of flat bread with feta (or other cheese) with mint, basil, or onion. She grew up with this and in her household, it eventually evolved into its western counterpart, bruschetta. In Amy’s family, this was not limited to breakfast but would also be served throughout the day. If mom didn’t have enough time to cook or if a large lunch was had, bruschetta made its way into their daily routine.
Seeing as how I had a fatty cheese steak with fries for lunch, bruschetta was a perfect choice for the evening.
Growing up, I have always had the luxury of having my parents cook for me so I could focus on important things like watching hockey and playing video games. Surrounding myself with two roommates who are like-minded certainly did not help to expand my cooking curiosity. So as a result, even when it comes to cooking the simplest of recipes, the dearth of fresh ingredients usually calls for a trip to grocery store. Amy and I departed to Safeway while the roommates carried on our traditional lifestyle by cursing Thomas Greiss’ inability to cover 5-hole.
Here are the basic ingredients for the meal:
-Earl Grey tea ($4 for a box)
-Sourdough bread (fresh from the bakery, $2)
-Tomatoes on the vine (a little less than a pound, $2.75)
-Feta cheese ($6.50 but according to Amy, this is much cheaper at a Persian market)
Already having the basics (olive oil, salt, and pepper,) the rest totaled to about $17. Not bad considering all of the ingredients could be used over time.
We started by slicing the sourdough bread at an angle and slicing the tomatoes
I let Amy do this. I have bad luck with slicing, as you’ll see later.
As far as assembly goes,it goes pretty simply. Feta followed by basil leaf, followed by tomato, followed by salt and pepper, followed by drizzled olive oil.
Or if you’re Amy, it’s basil, followed by tomato, followed by “Oh s*** I forgot the Feta, followed by salt and pepper, followed by olive oil, followed by Amir’s laughter.
Then I had my crack at it.
Feta is a cheese that I am not accustomed to using so it is important to remember to crumble the feta. It is not a creamy like brie cheese (I hope it is apparent that the words here are not my own. As far as Glenn Beck and I are concerned, there is only one cheese and that type is AMERICAN!)
And the finished products:
But that’s not all! We still need to make the tea. We heated the water in a teapot and then poured it into mugs with teabags in them. Crazy right?
Amy is all about presentation when it comes to cooking, which is foreign territory to me. My roommates and I are used to preparing our food in microwaves and then feeding from a large trough so I didn’t understand what Amy’s objection to using plastic souvenir cups from Sharks and 49ers games to serve the tea was all about. I still haven’t gotten an answer to that question.
And finally we arrived at the finished product.
We were able to have a lovely conversation about why she chose bruschetta while my roommates cursed very loudly at Wii Baseball in the background.
What I learned:
Bruschetta was a great light meal to cook. It gives me a quick, light, and delicious meal after a day where I ate a bunch of garbage that will take years off my life. On top of that, now I have less of an excuse to skip on my vegetables (or fruit. I still haven’t figured out which one tomatoes are.)
Also, Amy filled me in on the film Julie and Julia which apparently a true story about a cooking blog. She said I should watch it. I kind of want to keep my man card though. I rather just watch Dude, Where’s My Car? again. I’ll keep you all posted if I do watch it.
- Greek-Style Turkey Burgers and Tomato-Feta Salad with Olives (nancycreative.com)
- The Tomato Dish I Can’t Pronounce (thewishfactor.wordpress.com)
- Bruschetta and Pesto (myshineproject.com)