Friday, May 14, 2010

Bruschetta and a Rant

It's a funny thing.  

Actually, it's a sad thing.  I thought it would be a fun experience to escape the world, live on a beach and watch the world NOT go by for awhile.  A lark.  An asterisk to my life, you know, that year that wacky Dave ran off to sun tan in the Virgin Islands.

The real world is not cooperating.  I got off the phone last night with my sainted Mother.  I was on island time, and we finally had clear schedules for our Mother's Day call.  I won't bore you with stories of my Aunt's lumbago or my Nephew's latest girlfriend.  

But I will tell you about my Niece...

She is a doctor (we are all proud)
She works in a Children's Hospital in Indianapolis (we are all impressed)
She has an almost one year old daughter (we were all thrilled)
My Grand Niece was premature, and even now only weighs 15 pounds, still underweight, but my Niece says she is fine, walking, talking and sharp as a tack. (we are all still concerned)
My niece just informed the family she is pregnant and due in November (we think this is very exciting)
Almost 4 years ago she married a wonderful young man ... A policeman in Indianapolis (babies and husbands; and in the right order.  And he is employed. ... We thought they were very lucky)

He is also a medic with the Indiana national Guard.

Yesterday, this husband, father of an "at needs" child and new father-to-be was deployed to Afghanistan

I hate this war.  

It has been 8 1/2 years since the horror of 9/11.  The wrong people are fighting, the wrong strategies are being employed and there is no end in sight.  The mid-term elections are coming up.  While the economy is driving the polls, let's not forget to question the stance of the candidates on where our hopes for tomorrow are fighting, dieing and living away from where they belong.  Is it too much to ask for a definition of victory before we send someone's husband, father, son or our daughters to die for an undefined cause?

Nearly 1,000 sons and daughters have died in Afghanistan.  Over 1 trillion US dollars have been spent.  8 1/2 years have passed...  Will we be there in another 8 1/2 years?  

Since arriving on the island, I have put many things on hold.  I was letting the world move on without me, planning on catching up when my adventure ends.  For a few months now, I seem to only pray when I need to fill that flush during a poker game.  That changed last night.

God bless them all.

Bruschetta is a wonderful meal in itself (I have it for lunch often), or as an accent to most any meal.  In it;s simplest form, it is toast rubbed with garlic.  Historically, for 500 years, this was used to celebrate and taste test the first pressing of olive oil in Tuscany.  It is only in the last 30 years that it has evolved into a fancy pizza topped appetizer with goat cheese, caramelized onions or any number of odd toppings.

But it's simplest version is still the best...

And I do mean simple... Generously coat a bot of top quality olive oil on both sides of a thick slice of French bread.  I use my own recipe I call ENG's BREAD, works great...

Here's a quick version of how to make Eng's Bread...

ENG BREAD - Recipe makes One 1 pound loaf

3/4 cup lukewarm water (about 100º F)
1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
1/2  tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
2 cups all-purpose white flour (no need to sift)
1 TBS Sugar

  1. Mix everything together to form a dough ball.  Kneading time is only about 5 minutes, until everything has melded.
  2. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, roll the ball to completely coat in oil
  3. Cover with a towel and let rise for 2 to 5 hours.  Dough will double in size (Like Eng did)
  4. You can freeze the dough at this stage (I make 4 loafs at a time, lasts for about 2 weeks, just thaw, quick bake and fresh bread).  
  5. Or we are now ready to bake... Form into a dome shaped bread, place on a parchment covered baking stone or cookie sheet.
  6. Allow to rest for 40 minutes to an hour
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes (internal temperature of 190 degrees).

OK, back to today's recipe... 

Take a clove of garlic, slice the end off to expose the oils trapped inside and rub on the oil...

When the bottom gets toasty, flip and toast the other side.  Also, cut a bit of the garlic off again to expose fresh oils...

And rub that on the toasted side.  This single clove adds an incredible amount of garlic taste to the toast (and BTW.. isn't that the most mouthwatering photo you have ever seen on my blog?).

If you eat now, you are eating a classic historical Tuscany inspired bruschetta.

I like to dice up a fresh tomato, if I have a little grate-able cheese, Parmesan, Asiago or even some Feta, I may top with that.  Because of the length of the post (and rant), with all the photos and the repeat of the recipe for Eng Bread (made me feel better to see my cat), you may think this tales a long time. In fact, 5 minutes to toast the bread, during the 5 minutes, you can dice the tomato, this is a 5 minute lunch.

And as Eric Said to Julie Powell in Julie & Julia when she made Bruschetta for him...

"This is Good, Really good"


  1. AMEN BROTHER!!!!! For the most part Americans have not suffered during this "war". We have gone about our lives as if it was not happening. Only seeing it on the evening news. It is real to those asked to serve and die. It has devestated this country. It is time to bring them home!!! If those countries cant or wont protect themselves, so be it. Our young men and women have done ENOUGH. Sandy in Belton Mo

  2. The bruschetta looks very tasty. Our son is likely headed for Afganistan around year end - not good.

  3. Now I'm wanting bruschetta for breakfast... Looks good Dave!
    I know that war cannot be avoided at times, but this one has really been different. I think we are fighting to bring stability to people who have been at war for centuries. I don't think they will change.

  4. My thoughts are with your family. My cousin is in Afghanistan and it's a stressful situation. {{big hugs}}

  5. Dave - my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

  6. I'm sorry to hear about your niece and her husband. It will be stressful for all of you. She is fortunate to have such a great support system. Thank God for family. Blessings...Mary

  7. I have several friends who have gone to serve, and my dad served for months as well over there, back around when things first got rolling. Sad part was, his group didn't even need to be there - their being deployed somehow meant a promotion for a higher-up. My prayers are with your family.

    As for the bruschetta - yes, that IS a mouthwatering picture!!! There's an Italian place down the street from you've got me thinking bad, bad thoughts...

  8. I have known many who have served in the middle east over what seems like too long. It's no good for anyone.

    The bruschetta on the other hand looks like it would be great. I love the idea of rubbing the garlic directly on the bread. YUM!

  9. Kids are paying with their lives, and someday the ones left will come home and pay the bill for the rest of their lives...

  10. Oh dave, I'm so sorry to hear this. I pray every night and will keep them in my prayers. This has gone on for too long...

    In the meanwhile the bruschetta looks fantastic!

  11. God bless your family during such difficult news. i hope all will turn out well.

    the bruschetta looks just as good as it did in the movies, delicious.

  12. Yeah Dave... My thoughts just about mirror yours on this "war". I have a nephew and my best friends son just signed up to the Army, I'm sure they will be heading over there soon...

    I'm not even going to think about your bruschetta. I'm sure it was wonderful!

    Love and Light

  13. Well, you can "lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink"! We could stay in Afghanistan forever and it would not change these people. It's time to take care of our own and let them figure it out! But, until we start protesting, in the streets, like we did for the Vietnam War, nothing is going to change. My prayers are with your family.

    Great looking recipe, too. I will make these as an appetizer, for a birthday gathering that I'm hosting. Thanks, cher!

  14. As much as you try to get off to a deserted island (like I have threatened on many occasions), the world will be too much with you. My thoughts and outrage are with you and your family Dave. When will it end? I would love some bruchetta right now.

  15. I am so sorry. This is just so wrong. It needs to stop.

  16. Our thoughts will be with your neice's husband.

  17. I'm not one for praying, but my thoughts go with this young husband and father. I hope his tour is short and uneventful!

    Your bruschetta is beautiful.

  18. To keep it light, I'll focus on the bruschetta which looks tremendous. Making it soon. Be well! I'm coming to visit you next week.