This is the time of year I love the most. The crickets make their appearance at dusk and their symphony is so loud they drown out every other night time noise. By now, my sneakers (and every other closed-toed shoe I own) have slowly but surely made their way to the bottom of the closet as I instinctively reach for a pair of flip flops. And the tomatoes don’t get much better.
I don’t understand people who say they don’t like tomatoes. Are these the same strange creatures who claim they don’t like chocolate? I love the earthy, grassy smell of the leaves. I love slicing into a big fat Better Boy and the excitement I feel when juice runs out over the cutting board and I know I’ve cut into a good one. And I love picking a ripe cherry tomato still warm from the sun straight from the vine and popping it in my mouth. If you have never tasted a tomato straight from the vine, you’ve never lived.
This is the time of year where just about every meal includes tomatoes and fresh basil. The growing season for basil is so fleeting that I feel like I need to include a few leaves on everything from my spaghetti to my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Because I know in a few months, the weather will turn cool and I will have to wait two more agonizing seasons for fresh basil again.
I like to refer to this little appetizer a BBT – bacon, basil, and tomatoes. Garlicky, buttery toasted crostini smeared with a healthy swipe of basil and bacon cream cheese, then topped with a fresh tomato slice. It’s the perfect bite and no one will judge you for shoving the entire thing in your mouth.
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces goat cheese, softened
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 day old baguette, sliced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Paprika, Italian seasoning, kosher salt
- 6-8 cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until ingredients are thoroughly combined. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Arrange baguette slices in one layer on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with half of olive oil.
- Sprinkle evenly with the spices.
- Bake for 7 minutes. Flip crostini over. Season with remaining olive oil and spices. Bake for another 7 minutes or until crostini is toasted.
- Spread about 1 teaspoon of the basil cream cheese on a crostini. Top with a slice of tomato.