Very Berry Bruschetta

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Once I tell someone that I’m a food blogger and that I love to cook I’m inevitably asked “so, what’s your signature dish?”  This is definitely a valid question and I love that people are interested enough to ask it but, truth be known, I really don’t feel like I have one.  I mean, am I an expert at just one dish?  Do I have one particular dish that I love to make and go to time after time?  Hmmmmm, not really.  It’s honestly a question I dread and have really contemplated just making something up!

All that being said I do think that one of my favorite things to make, if not my most favorite is bruchettas or crostinis.  I have become quite known for them and I serve a different one at each gathering I host.  I don’t believe there’s a more versatile or popular appetizer.  It falls into my #1 guideline that an appetizer has to be a “finger food” and it is probably the most versatile and creative appetizer you can serve.  The ingredients are endless and you can fit those ingredients beautifully into any season or holiday.

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I made this berry bruschetta for a Fourth of July party and I have to say, it was a major hit!  So much so that I’ve been asked to make it regularly this summer.  It came to me because of the colors (red, white and blue) and the fresh in season ingredients (strawberries, blueberries and fresh mint).

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Very Berry Bruschetta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 2 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 French baguette loaf - sliced into rounds (approximately ½" thick)
  • 1 tub of honey nut flavored cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (or coconut sugar which is what I use)
  • 1 quart of strawberries - chopped
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • bunch of fresh mint - chopped
  • honey for drizzling
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the bread rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the bread rounds and sprinkle them with Kosher salt.
  4. Bake the bread rounds in the oven for approximately 6-7 minutes until slightly browned and a bit hardened.
  5. Let the bread cool slightly until cool enough to handle.
  6. Mix the berries and the sugar together in a medium bowl. Allow them to sit for a few minutes.
  7. Spread each bread round with the cream cheese.
  8. Spoon the berry mixture onto the bread rounds.
  9. Drizzle the honey over the tops of the bread rounds.
  10. Sprinkle the chopped mint over the tops of the bread rounds for garnish.

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Strawberry and Bell Pepper Salad with Pear Champagne Vinaigrette

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I am a fan of fruit on a salad; I think it’s an unexpected surprise.  It adds a natural sweetness and looks so fresh and pretty.  I’ve made this salad with red leaf lettuce, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, red onion, sliced strawberries and crumbled blue cheese.

The dressing is a pear champagne vinaigrette that’s light, slightly sweet and really delicious.  Trader Joes makes a pear champagne vinaigrette dressing but of course, I love to make dressing homemade, this one definitely gives Trader Joes’ version a run for its money.  I adapted this recipe from one I found on allrecipes.com

Strawberry and Bell Pepper Salad with Pear Champagne Vinaigrette
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 1½ cups
Ingredients
  • 1 ripe pear - peeled, cored and chopped
  • ½ cup white wine (or non-alcoholic sparkling white grape juice)
  • 1 clove of garlic - chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
Instructions
  1. Blend the pear, white wine, garlic, Dijon mustard, champagne vinegar, black pepper, and salt in a blender until well combined.
  2. Drizzle the olive oil into the mixture in a thin, steady stream while continuing to blend. Blend a few seconds longer until the salad dressing is thick and creamy.

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Water infused with cucumber, citrus and fresh fruit…so natural

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I am done adding drinks and juices with artificial ingredients and sweeteners to my water for flavor.  I always drink water but have gotten into the habbit of adding a splash of juice, flavored drink, powdered packet mix and the like to my water for a bit of flavor.  No more!  This water flavored with sliced cucumber, lemon and strawberries is natural, calorie free, refreshing and so delicious.  I let the ingredients infuse into the water in a pitcher and just keep it in the refrigerator.  If refrigerated, the ingredients will stay fresh and continue to flavor the water for several days.  The ingredients will eventually fall to the bottom of the pitcher.  It’s great with meals and to just drink throughout the day…and with no guilt.  I take it to work in a travel water bottle.

Try experimenting with other citrus and fruits.  Orange and lime slices as well as raspberries also work great.  I always put the cucumber in though, it’s a really nice flavor in the water and really economical.  Fresh mint is also a great addition to this water.

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