When my mother was eight years old, her mother died a week after giving birth to her second child. They were in Detroit for the "war effort," so my grandfather loaded up my mother on a train and brought her back to Tennessee, to his in-law's. The newborn stayed in the hospital for three months, and as soon as she was old enough he brought her to Mama's house, too. (Mama was 65 years old when she took in the eight-year-old and the newborn.) At one point, during the war, there were 17 people living in that house. It was a two-story Sears and Roebuck house and they were financially successful merchants but hey...17 people? Rationing? Oooh.
They told the story for years about how Mama liked chicken neck. On Sunday, when she fried chicken, everyone had a favorite piece and Mama's was the neck. It was only years later, when everyone was grown that they realized...Mama liked the neck because by the time she got to eat, it was the only piece left.
I tell that story to tell this story. (That's a direct quote from Ron White and if you didn't know that, well, you ort to.)
We had three tomatoes from the garden yesterday. Now, these are cheater tomatoes because the blooms were on the plants when we bought them and that's...just not right. You have to bloom the blooms yourself. But regardless, the taste of these (after the winter tomato famine) is divine. So here we sit...we have tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. We have home-made bread. This is REALLY looking good except that I birthed these babies and I know...three small tomatoes isn't even going to scratch the surface, so there better be a back-up plan. These kids are going to eat ALL of everything I make with the tomatoes so I'm going to have to have an alternative dish if I hope to get even a single bite. Hopefully, a dish that will let me have a bite of the (chicken breast) fresh tomato.
The back-up plan was SO good that it shared center stage and everyone was fed and happy. I didn't have to do without my share of the fresh tomato and the kids were ecstatic about some onions. Go figure.
Sweet Onion Bruschetta
1 red onion, very thinly sliced
Good blue cheese
I heated a cast iron griddle, poured in some olive oil and let it get hot. I added the sliced onions (I love me a mandelione) and turned the heat down. While I was fooling with the other stuff, I let the onions wilt, stirring them occasionally. After a while I poured in about two tablespoons balsamic vinegar, sprinkled some kosher salt and black pepper and stirred. I left the onions on low heat and stirred them every now and then.
I sliced the bread I had about one-half inch thick, smeared it with roasted garlic and then brushed it with olive oil. Toasted it just until it was no longer soft and then topped it with the onions. I sprinkled the onions with blue cheese (this was the last of the Point Reyes I got for Christmas...I had frozen the last handful) and toasted the bruschetta to soften the cheese. When we got to the table I realized...I'd been a little stingy with the cheese so we added more and popped them under the broiler again.
Oh, Lordy. I should do this more often. Summer time and the livin' is easy.