Monday, July 21, 2008

Peach, Nectarine, and Blue Cheese Bruschetta. Plus, Ramblings.

One of my favorite bloggers in the universe is Bill Simmons, a.k.a. ESPN’s Sports Guy. I’ve been reading Simmons since the late ‘90s, when he was Boston Sports Guy and I was a lowly intern with a Mets obsession and too much time on my hands. And while he’s had one-off classics (Is Clemens the Antichrist?, Destination: Destiny, etc.) his best columns are the running ones. Namely, The Mailbag and Ramblings.

Since my coffee’s unusually weak and I can’t seem to pull my brain together today, here’s my somewhat abridged version of the latter (but with no Celtics references). Essentially, it’s an assembly of random thoughts in no particular order, separated only by space, time, and a little dash at the beginning of each sentence. Maybe eventually, it’ll even become a running column in itself. (Because hey - if you can’t beat ‘em, you can at least pay them homage bordering on outright thievery.)

Here goes…

-Go to Food Blog Search. Do it now. You’ll never make another bum recipe and/or waste money on food again.

-Nine people have been in and out of my office the last three years, and I’m the only one left. Since my company’s moving, I’m forced to clean out a ton of left-behind possessions. So far, I’ve found: toothpaste, dishwashing liquid, a dancing menorah, a newspaper ad for “My Mother’s Jewish, My Father’s Italian, and I’m in Therapy,” 12 pennies, a pen that farts, two Sega Dreamcast controllers, and a sai. Last time I cleaned, it was nunchuks and a Night Ranger album. Draw your own conclusions.

-Friday night, I drank two pints of delectably lemony hefeweizen followed by a bottle of Bud Light. In retrospect, it was like watching U2 and Springsteen open a show for Color Me Badd. Never again.

-Wait, what?

-Has anyone been watching Next Food Network Star? The three remaining contestants seem like super-nice people, but I’m not sure I see any of them hosting a show. It’s not their fault, either. NFNS devotes the lion's share of each episode to contestants' weaknesses, and they come out looking like anything but skilled chefs. Why not play up their strengths more?

-Ma forwarded me the latest JibJab piece. Verdict: funny! Well done! Obama riding a unicorn!

-Ooooo … while we’re on it, the new Watchmen trailer is out. Dr. Manhattan alone made all my nerd synapses fire off at the same time. I’m now in a nerd coma, which is not unlike a regular coma, except you wear a cape and get superpowers at the end.

-Guillermo del Toro is way overrated. His visuals are gorgeous, but looks ain’t everything. Hellboy 2 was virtually plotless, and Pan’s Labyrinth should have been called “How Many Ways Can We Torture a Little Girl? Also, Fascism is Bad.” Yick.

-The New York press has been having a ball with the A-Rod/Madonna rumors. While I realize Madonna is Madonna, isn’t it a tad unfair to blame the whole affair on her? Who do you believe? Consider:
  • He’s a serially unfaithful ballplayer. She’s a 50-year-old married mother of three.
  • He likes blonde, buxom babes with exhibitionist streaks. She’s anything but a … never mind.
  • He’s a New York Yankee. She has a soul. (Oooo. Burn.)
-Every food tastes better: grilled, with cheese, or on a stick.


-Summery tops with empire waists and flowy bottoms are lovely for so many reasons, but they make me look at least five months pregnant. I’m afraid some well-meaning kid will soon offer me his seat on the subway, and I’ll have to A) crash diet, B) kill him, or C) say, “Why yes, I’m carrying quintuplets. Thank you for your seat, sonny.”

-Stone fruit and cheese has become my new favorite thing in the world. For my roommate M’s birthday this weekend, I made Peach, Nectarine, and Blue Cheese Bruschetta, taken from Sue Betts at Feel Good Eats (who got it from her friend Meredith, who got it from San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market Cookbook). After a few changes (halving the olive oil, peaches, and nectarines), and a coupla minutes under the broiler, our tongues were graced with a strange, yet delicious sensation unrivaled by run-of-the-mill tomato bruschettas. Highly recommended. (Oh, also: eaten in bulk, these aren’t exactly light. But three or four won’t kill anyone.)

-How I know I’m getting older: gray hair, crow’s feet, watching 60 Minutes and thinking, “Y’know, that Andy Rooney feller’s got a point.”

And … scene.

Peach, Nectarine, and Blue Cheese Bruschetta
Makes 20 pieces
Adapted from The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Cookbook.

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ whole wheat or sourdough baguette, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 large peach, peeled and chopped small
1 large nectarine, peeled and chopped small
¼ pound blue cheese, crumbled

1) Preheat your broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2) In a small pot, heat balsamic vinegar over medium heat. Cook about 10 minutes, or until vinegar is 1/2 of what it was. It should be syrupy and thickened when done. Pour into a glass bowl or glass measuring cup and let cool to room temp.

3) Spread bread out on baking sheet and brush each piece with a little olive oil. Broil 2 or 3 minutes, until ever-so-slightly browned. Take sheet out of broiler.

4) To each slice: brush a little balsamic sauce, add fruit, top with blue cheese. Broil another 1 or 2 minutes, until fruit is a little soft and cheese is totally melted. Serve hot.

5) Turn off your broiler. (I forget to do this sometimes.)

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
50 calories, 2.9 g fat, $0.29

¼ cup balsamic vinegar: 40 calories, 0 g fat, $0.30
1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil: 179 calories, 20.2 g fat, $0.15
½ whole wheat baguette: 260 calories, 4 g fat, $0.99
1 large peach: 61 calories, 0.4 g fat, $0.68
1 large nectarine: 72 calories, 0.5 g fat, $0.73
¼ pound blue cheese: 391 calories, 32 g fat, $2.99
TOTAL: 1003 calories, 57.1 g fat, $5.84
PER SERVING: 50 calories, 2.9 g fat, $0.29


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