vegetarian, except for all the bacon

We had an excellent summery dinner tonight that I thought I’d post. It was the first time we’d made the bruschetta (but expect to see it in miniature form at a future party in our future backyard); the salad is on its way to old-favorite status.

veggie bacon meal

Bruschetta with summer squash, bacon, and blue cheese
(from Cooks, where else?)

Toast the bread as close as possible to the time at which you plan to assemble the bruschetta. If you prefer, grill the bread. After trimming the ends, you should have 8 to 10 slices. The topped bruschetta goes back under the broiler for a couple of minutes before being served.

Serves 4 as main dish, 8 to 10 as appetizer

1 loaf country bread , about 12 by 5 inches, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces, ends discarded
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic , peeled
4 medium summer squash and/or zucchini (about 2 pounds), halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into matchstick-sized pieces [very easy with our v-slicer, very tedious by hand]
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces bacon (about 4 strips), minced and fried in small skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 8 minutes, then drained on paper towels
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

1. Adjust oven rack to about 4 inches from heating element and heat broiler; broil bread slices until golden brown on both sides. Brush both sides of each slice with oil and rub with garlic clove.

2. Combine squash and/or zucchini, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes, then toss in bacon, cheese, and basil.

3. Divide mixture evenly among bread slices; broil bruschetta until cheese begins to melt, about 1 1/2 minutes. Serve immediately.

way too much bruschetta

Wilted Spinach Salad with Bacon, Balsamic, and Pine Nuts
[adapted from several recipes]

5 ounces baby spinach (about 6 cups)
2 slices bacon (about 2 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small red onion , minced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Place spinach in large bowl. Fry bacon in small skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes; transfer with slotted spoon to paper towel–lined plate, leaving fat in skillet. Return skillet to medium heat and add oil, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened. Add balsamic vinegar; swirl to incorporate. Turn off heat, add spinach to pan and toss gently to wilt. Sprinkle bacon and pine nuts over spinach. Serve immediately.

bryan tossing spinach

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