By Carolyne

White tomato bruschetta (or yellow tomato) on grilled black olive bread, with goat cheese and several variables. Another great REM “Realtor on the run” treat.

A trip to the farmers’ market or to your own personal garden (or even to your balcony tomato plant pot) will produce the best of the fresh of the season. Cut an ‘x’ in the bottom of each tomato skin. In briskly boiling water, using a long-handled spider spoon, blanch the tomatoes for just a few seconds. Or using a long-handled twin-tine fork like the one in your turkey carving set, remove each tomato and place in a water bath metal bowl filled with ice cubes. The metal bowl will help keep the water cold. In just seconds, the skins will slip right off.

Scoop out the seeds and remove the tomato handle core. Coarsely but evenly, chop a medium size Spanish onion.

Zest a large lime. Then using a sharp knife, carefully peel it, removing all the pith. Using a small serrated grapefruit knife, remove the lime segments between each membrane, one by one and add to a kitchen machine. Crush a fresh clove of garlic or squeeze a little thyme roasted garlic purée into the tomato mix. Add plenty of fresh ground pepper. Add salt and a heaping teaspoon of sugar.

Drizzle in a little oil from your leftover Celebrity goat cheese marinating jar, using a small tea strainer to catch the bay leaves. Spoon out a few goat cheese crumbles from the bottom of the jar.

Add a heaping teaspoon of WildlyDelicious White Truffle Dijon Mustard and just a spritz of Maplewood Smoked Sunflower and Grapeseed oil, and a generous drop of Black Magic Balsamic vinegar.

Add a half cup of fresh, coarsely chopped parsley and a tablespoon of crushed fresh thyme. Pulse quickly.

Add a couple of finely chopped macerated, marinated fresh black mission figs from your Asbach Uralt cognac jar. Stir in a tablespoon of brandy figgy jus.

Let rest in the fridge while you grill the olive bread or baguette. Split a whole baguette lengthwise or cut bread loaf slices on the diagonal. Brush with oil from your goat cheese marinating jar and using a pastry brush, wipe the bread with just a little smear of roasted garlic purée (a staple in your pantry oil jar).

Use your barbecue upper rack or your kitchen grill or stove broiler to let the bread get just a little crunchy; if using the oven, put the black-olive bread on a metal cookie sheet.

When ready to serve, top the grilled black olive bread with loads of the cold white tomato mix. Add a piece of oil-packed sun-dried red tomato and a Celebrity goat cheese marinated puck, strategically placed so each serving has a piece of cheese.

Return the bread to the very hot grill or top rack stove broiler, just until the cheese starts to melt. Remove the steaming hot bread and quickly sprinkle with salt and large pieces of coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves, as you are about to serve. Tomatoes love basil.

In addition, for another gourmet touch, add chopped artichoke hearts packed in oil. Sprinkle with fresh grated pepper, just before adding the fresh picked basil.

If you want a totally different bruschetta experience, make a crostini; top the black olive bread with my lobster tails salad recipe, Dine in Tails: Lobster Tails in White Truffle Mustard Homemade Mayo Sauce. Sprinkle with crumbles of goat cheese and drizzle with the goat cheese marinating oil.

And another special bruschetta: Top pre-baked frozen puff pasty squares with the tomato mix and return to a very hot oven just long enough to melt the cheese. Then add fresh basil and serve.

You might find this tomato mix a wonderful opportunity to use those odd-looking “heirloom” tomatoes that are available in mixed colours. Enjoy often!

And then: Have you ever heard of fresh firm peach bruschetta? Simply replace the tomatoes, using very firm, juicy fresh-picked peaches, in peach season. Try the wonderful white peaches for a spectacular, different, white bruschetta treat. Sprinkle with a little golden-brown sugar, or a drizzle of figgy jus from your brandy marinating jar. Top with paper thin slices of prosciutto and marinated goat cheese pucks.

You could choose from many fresh fruits such as juicy Italian blue plums, juicy firm Black Mission figs, marinated in brandy or plain. For pear lovers, choose firm Bosc pears. Top with basil and goat cheese or substitute rocket (watercress) or even pea-greens, just when ready to serve.

Tomato butter (Jam) – Carolyne’s version

Try this recipe for something unusual and discover just how absolutely wonderful it is. Use ripe, green beefsteak tomatoes. Or use white tomatoes, yellow tomatoes or even the newer seed, purple tomatoes. I don’t recommend using Heirloom tomatoes in this recipe.

10 lbs. tomatoes (red ones). I prefer beefsteak tomatoes.

2 cups white vinegar

½ cup white balsamic vinegar

7 cups of white sugar

1 tablespoon table salt

1 tablespoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Wash the tomatoes and remove the husk and any black rot spots. Split large tomatoes in half or quarters. Put tomatoes and vinegar(s) into a very large pot and cook down until half of the liquid is evaporated.  This will take up to three hours as you will have brought the pot to a boil and then turned it down to simmer.  Leave the lid off and stir occasionally using a wooden spoon. Make sure the mixture doesn’t stick or burn on the bottom of the pot.

Add the sugar and the spices and simmer another half hour.  Important: Pack in hot sterilized glass jars, filled to the top. Allow to cool completely, tented with a clean dish towel and then put lids in position and close tightly. I like to fold a piece of wax paper over top. Store in a cool, dark place.  This recipe makes enough to fill three one-lb. glass peanut butter jars, or nine or 10 small jars. Only pack in glass due to the acid content.

If you have not made tomato butter before, you will want to try this recipe.  It’s so simple to make and I cannot think of a better way to describe it than to say it is plain old-fashioned delicious as a fondue accompaniment to beef.  It is also good with cold sliced beef, veal, seafood and poultry.

Refer to my Sun-dried Tomato Tortillas, using the leftover roast beef filling. It’s magically enhanced with this tomato butter.

Another terrific way to use my tomato butter:

Make your favourite crepe batter. Instead of using your regular crepe size pan, melt butter in a large shallow skillet, perhaps 12-14 inches in diameter.

Pour just enough crepe batter to barely cover the entire surface into the hot but not browned butter in the skillet. You are making a very thin, very large crepe. Cook on one side until edges release easily and flip or turn using a wide flexible egg turner. Or use your fingers to turn the crepe. Cook the reverse side for just seconds.

As an entree filling, use room temperature medium rare roast beef, carved paper-thin, nearly shredded.

Mound the thin roast beef in a row, like a sausage, in the centre of the crepe. Sprinkle just a tiny bit of horseradish cream on the beef. If you don’t care for horseradish, as an alternate suggestion: drizzle just a little of my warm blue cheese dressing over the beef. Beef loves blue cheese. Roll the filled crepe loosely into a large log roll shape.

Cut the roast beef filled crepe into three equal portions, using a very sharp steak knife, cutting on the diagonal. Alongside the crepe, serve a generous dollop of my red beefsteak tomato butter.

Make several crepes in this way to transport to a friend’s pot luck. Remember to take along a jar of my tomato butter to enhance the gourmet crepe. And an extra small jar as a hostess gift. A memorable addition to your pot luck take-along.

My modified tomato butter that I share with you is my creation using as a base, a recipe shared with me more than 35 years ago. I cannot express how wonderful my tomato butter turns out year after year. (Don’t forget to try the green beefsteak tomato version.)

A great pairing with this medium rare roast beef filled crepe dish is my chilled favourite sparkling pink Royal de Neuville from France (champagne), in all seasons.

To fill out your meal, a great salad accompaniment is my Boston Bibb lettuce salad with warm blue cheese dressing. All the flavours marry well.

© From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks “Turning everyday meal making into a gourmet experience”

The working title for Carolyne’s Gourmet Recipes cookbook is From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks. This kitchen-friendly doyenne has been honoured and referred to as the grande dame of executive real estate in her market area during her 35-year career. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid-70s and wrote a weekly newspaper cooking column, long before gourmet was popular as it is today. The cookbook will be available in the coming year. Email Carolyne.


  1. Canadian Goat Cheese Mushroom Bruschetta … (A treat for your Easter guests)

    Sear halved small white button mushrooms, or sliced firm ones in sizzling hot butter. (Choose any mushroom you like; I used these ones.) Just once over lightly in very hot unsalted butter. No salt yet. Sprinkle a little fresh ground pepper, and a bit of fresh, dried thyme and a smidgeon of nutmeg.

    Remove from pan immediately. In same pan sauté chopped shallots. Sprinkle with LiteHouse freeze-dried parsley, a pinch of thyme. Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I prefer the ones packed in oil.)

    Flambé with just a small amount (quarter cup) Asbach Uralt cognac.

    Add half and half cream to the skillet on high heat. Reduce scalded cream by letting it rise and fall three times. It will naturally thicken. Stir in a quarter teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a small sprinkle of sugar. Add just a pinch of homemade roasted garlic purée, and stir.

    You only want enough quite thick cream sauce to barely cover the mushrooms, shallots, and sun-dried tomatoes.

    Toss and add to seared mushrooms. Now sprinkle with salt.

    Place large spoons of the mixture on toasted or grilled black-olive bread, smeared with just a little homemade oven roasted garlic purée. Top with a marinated Celebrity brand Canadian goat cheese puck.

    Pop under broiler, with oven door open, for just seconds till the goat cheese bubbles a little. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

    Nice paired with French pink champagne in crystal flutes (sparking Rose) Royal de Neuville.

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”
    Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

  2. Oven Roasted Fresh Garlic –
    There’s nothing quite like it.

    Preheat your oven to 400.

    Using a very sharp serrated knife cut the top off the garlic head. Choose a bud that is very fresh with generous cloves. I prefer the white garlic grown in North America. Drizzle with Mazola Corn Oil. Sprinkle with just a tiny bit of fresh thyme.

    Using a piece of foil, about 6 inches square, place a bud of topless oiled very fresh garlic in the centre. Pull up the sides to make a package.

    Place the garlic package on a small cookie sheet, to keep your oven spotless. Roast at 400 for forty minutes.

    Hint: whenever you are using your oven to roast at 400 use that time to roast a head of garlic. Save on power costs.

    I just let the roasted garlic rest for five or ten minutes, and using a very sharp small serrated knife, I push out each soft mushy clove onto a small flat plate, then using a rubber spatula. I push the mushy garlic into a tiny glass covered jar.

    Some prefer to fill the jar with oil. I prefer to leave the already oily garlic on its own. I leave it on the counter in a little covered glass jar for a day, use it fresh and if there’s any left, then refrigerate.

    It can be a messy job, but the fragrance doesn’t stay on your hands like raw garlic can. Just wash up with soap and hot water.

    By the way, if you have raw garlic fingers, just touch your fingers on the steel water tap. Wash up and the garlic odour will be gone from your hands.

    However, perhaps give this a try. Pull the fresh raw garlic cloves off their fixed centre spindle, but leave the skins on. Pile the cloves into the foil packet. Drizzle a little corn oil and a tiny sprinkle of fresh thyme.

    This makes it easier to push out each individual clove mush, rather than trying to get the soft, mushy, roasted garlic cloves off the spindle. Holding the root end in-between my fingers, I take the dull edge of a table knife and just push out the innards of each clove. And store as above

    ALTERNATE: This is another way to prepare garlic. Poach it in chicken broth. Pull apart a whole fresh raw garlic. Push off the clove skins. Mound the whole garlic cloves in a cheesecloth, make a sack tied with string.

    The garlic will poach quickly, till mashable. I always do this when I’m making chicken broth or chicken soup. Remove the sac from the broth. Cut the twine, put two or three mashed cloves into the broth, and bottle the rest, whole, stored in broth, for use in other recipes. Refrigerate.

    Either way, or both, offers you the opportunity to always have garlic “at the ready.”

    Ideal mashed into plain Celebrity label goat cheese marinated pucks, and spread on amuse bouche crostini. Perhaps top with a coarsely chopped Asbach Uralt marinated black mission fig and maybe a drizzle of figgy jus from your brandy marinating jar. Or drizzle goat cheese crostini with a little Petite Maison White Truffle Dijon Mustard.

    Press roasted garlic between chicken skin and the flesh and prepare your chicken as usual.

    Or, add the mild-tasting roasted garlic to your mashed potatoes. Unforgettably wonderful.

    Add the roasted garlic mush to just hot unsalted butter (or an ideal way to use the curds from making ghee), chopped parsley, salt and pepper and serve over your favourite pasta.

    Just some of dozens of uses.

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”
    Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

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