Friday, 16 December 2011

Roasted mushroom bruschetta

Mike and I have always taken full advantage of living here in Vancouver, BC. This city is perfectly situated between countless beautiful cities, towns, mountains, lakes, bays and islands. In the past 6 years we have ventured out in all directions to hike, camp, kayak, bike, snowboard, swim, surf and explore. We are always looking for new places to go and because there are so many choices we rarely visit the same place twice. Some of my favorites are the Sunshine Coast, Salt Spring Island and Manning Park. 

When we first moved to Vancouver, in the summer, we would pack up little picnics almost on a daily basis, bike down to the beach and snack under the setting sun. On the weekends we went on numerous little hikes in the local mountains. This year however I had to sacrifice my time to finish my thesis and to defend it so I did not get to go anywhere. No hikes, no camping, no exploring. It was a sad summer. 

Now I am free. Free as a bird. We drove down to the Oregon Coast this past weekend and stayed in a cutsie little town called Seaside. We hiked the capes everyday, explored the low tides in the early morning and late at night, wandered the nooks and crannies in Cape Kiwanda, Hug Point, Cape Falcon, Cannon Beach, Manzanita and Cape Lookout.

The last night we stayed in a cabin in Cape Lookout National Park. The cabin was almost directly on the beach and in the dark of the night Mike dragged me out to look for sand dollars at low tide. It was so dark you could see every star in the sky but you could not see your feet or the crashing waves. It was beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. I could not shake the image of a sneaker wave carrying us off into the ocean never to be seen again so as patiently as I could, I pushed Mike inland. 

The next morning, before driving home, we hiked Cape Lookout which has pathways running along the edge of the cliff to bring you to the tip of the cape. Literally one foot separates you from a huge cliff drop at many points along the hike. In the picture below on the left you can see the cliff from afar (Cape Lookout) that we hiked along. Mike is seen on the right as we were hiking on that very cliff. It was another beautiful but terrifying experience.

For dinner last night I made a couple of bruschettas to serve with a cave aged gruyere cheese, a french comte cheese, a nice baguette and lightly salted mix of balsamic and rosemary-infused extra virgin olive oil. I got the idea for the roasted mushroom bruschetta from a restaurant we went to in Seattle on our drive home from our vacation. At the restaurant I had a roasted mushroom pizza with truffle cheese which was delicious. I have never roasted mushrooms before so I wanted to try it out. The only problem I had with my roasted mushroom bruschetta was getting the mixture to stay on my bread. 

Next time I will blend the roasted mushrooms in a food processor to make a finer and hopefully stickier bruschetta. The taste was excellent nonetheless. I also made a simple tomato, bocconcini and shallot bruschetta drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil and baslamic vinegar which you can see in the pictures.

Roasted mushroom bruschetta
Autumn seasonal: mushrooms and thyme

2 cups thickly sliced shiitake and brown cremini mushrooms
fresh thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove crushed
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
2 tbsp fresh goat cheese, crumbled
fresh baguette

1 - Preheat oven to 400F
2 - Slice mushrooms (about 4 slices/mushroom) and place in a shallow roasting pan. Toss with crushed/minced garlic, oil and about a tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves and a pinch of sea salt.
3 - Bake about 20 - 30 minutes, flipping mushrooms once or twice
4 - Remove from oven and cool
5 - Chop the roasted mushrooms finely or blend in a food processor for a more fine bruschetta
6 - Mix finely chopped mushrooms with 2 tbsp crumbled soft goat cheese and serve with fresh baguette (toasted if desired)

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