Bruschetta Three Ways, All Vegetarian

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I don't know about you, but I am ready to give my cook top a break -- send it on vacation with the chefs who, like a NYC shrink, shutter their doors for a summer respite.

My ambition to make a meal has been reduced to quick and easy preparations that require a knife, cutting board, mixing bowl and only a quick flash of heat. Bruschetta, toasted bread brushed with olive oil, flavored with garlic, salt and black pepper is this week's vehicle to deliver a meatless summer meal. It fits my no or low cooking requirement, and goes nicely with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Sangiovese, at dusk, out by the pool.

cannellini bean, marinated mushroom and classic tomato after the jump

These recipes make fine toppings for the bruschetta by themselves, but you can kick the flavor up a notch with a light layer of arugula, pesto, hummus, or tapanade between bread and topping as well or add a slice of fresh mozzarella or Parmesan to cheese it up. Instructions for bruschetta preparation are included with the Cannellini and Rosemary topping.

Cannellini and Rosemary Topping
15 oz. can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4-teaspoon sea salt
Garnish-chopped fresh rosemary and lemon zest

1 French baguette
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3-4 whole garlic cloves
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

1. In a medium bowl, mix together beans, garlic, rosemary, red pepper and salt. Toss gently to keep beans intact.
2. In a small bowl whisk lemon juice and olive oil. Drizzle over the beans.
3. Cover mixture and let rest for 2 hours at room temperature.

1. Slice a French baguette in diagonal slices.
2. Rub with olive oil place and on rack. Toast in 325 F oven or over a hot grill.
3. Rub warm baguette slices with whole garlic cloves and sprinkle with sea salt and a grind of black pepper.
4. Spoon beans over baguette and garnish with chopped rosemary and lemon zest.

Marinated Mushroom Topping Ingredients 1 lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned, end removed, sliced 4 Tablespoons olive oil 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped ¾ cup red wine 1/3-cup balsamic vinegar 4 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, stems removed Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper Garnish-tender tips of thyme sprigs

1. Heat a large skillet, add olive oil and when hot, not smoking, add sliced mushrooms. Sautee for 2 minutes.
2. Add chopped garlic and sauté 1 minute.
3. Add red wine to the pan and cook mixture stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add balsamic vinegar, and season mixture with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
5. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the thyme.
6. Cool mushrooms; drain liquid and spoon on to toasted baguette, garnish with thyme sprig.

Tomato and Basil Topping Ingredients 2 cups heirloom teardrop tomatoes (or cherry or grape tomatoes), quartered ½ red onion, finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced ¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade 3-4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 Tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar Pinch of red pepper flakes Sea salt

1. In a medium bowl, combine quartered tomatoes, red onion, garlic, and basil.
2. Season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
3. Toss mixture with balsamic or red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
4. Cover mixture and let rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
5. Spoon over toasted French baguette.

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