French bread & Greek toppings make up this Italian antipasti, Bruschetta (an open-faced mini-sandwich). This recipe for Greek Bruschetta calls for feta cheese, olives, sweet peppers and chili oil. The ingredients complement each other like little locks and keys.
To make cooking simple, you need to understand the flavor and texture of ingredients. Once you begin to understand that, you can create gourmet meals in your own kitchen, because then,
You don’t hesitate to substitute. If tamarind adds that acidic tartness, so does lemon or vinegar. The end product will not have the EXACT same flavors or colors but your dish will taste no less good than the original recipe.
You don’t hesitate to eliminate. You begin to differentiate what alters the recipe altogether and what just enhances the taste and what’s just plain weird!
A couple of years ago, I could not wrap my head around the idea of using cinnamon as a part of sweet dishes and desserts. How can something that is used to make garam masala and other spice mixes be sprinkled on desserts??!!! Ew! Just plain weird right? Until… One day while eating my very Indian pulav/pilaf, I bit into a piece of cinnamon by accident. Getting that piece out instantly and urgently eating another spoon of pulav (to mask the taste of yucky cinnamon) would have been my instinct usually. But, that day before I stuffed my face with pulav, I realized there was some sweetness filling up my mouth. Then it dawned on me, “Oh! Cinnamon is sweet! It’s like some pleasant smelling sugar.” And, that very sweetness is the reason that cinnamon is a part of garam masala (an all spice mix should definitely have an element of sweetness to it, does it not?).
In short, instead of blindly following a recipe, I make changes to it as per my taste because I understand the reason for the presence/absence of an ingredient.
Bah! Balderdash! Sounds too complicated? If you have stuck around to reading this post for this long, you will soon start noticing and identifying flavors of ingredients. You do not even have to make a conscious attempt 🙂
For the Greek Bruschetta, I have given a few substitutions in the “My Take” section. You guys let me know with your comments your secret substitutions 🙂
Here’s the recipe for