15 June 2010

Is My Face Red (and White) While Eating Good and Feeling Good?

Tomato Salad with Pickled Shallots
 and Goat Cheese Croutons

Normally when your face is red you are feeling bashful or embarrassed. But today, and for the next few weeks as a lead up to Canada Day, my face will be wearing very patriotic red (and white) from licking my lips from a myriad of red (and white) dishes. Today I am beginning with appetizers, mezes or tapas...whatever you wish to call them. I am always up for a challenge and creating a menu based on a theme is my blogging challenge for this month. Red and white dishes here we come!!! I challenge you to come up with a menu using the colours of your own countries flag. Let's show some national pride here!

What menu would you come up with using the colours of your own flag?

 Canada's 143th birthday is fast approaching on July 1st. For many this is just another long weekend but Canada Day is an opportunity to gather in every community from coast to coast to coast to celebrate the vision of our ancestors. We celebrate with community events, backyard barbecues, family picnics and plenty of fireworks in each and every community across the country.  Canada is a melting pot of cultures, sights and sounds and is steeped in history. As a Canadian I hope I have shared a glimpse into our passion for food over the past 3 years of blogging.

This year not only will we be wearing red and white T-shirts and sun hats at the MTBT household (the colours of the Canadian flag), but, we will also be enjoying red and white dishes... from appetizers to dessert.  I have dreamed up a red and white menu that would make our ancestors proud and one that celebrates the Canadian spirit. After all what is a celebration without food!!! And what is Canada Day without red and white somewhere in the picture, or as in this case the star of the show. 
Of course you don't have to be Canadian to enjoy these summertime favourites. You just have to have a love of good food which as bloggers I know you do!!!Each recipe uses fresh local ingredients and celebrates our local producers and farmers. I can't think of a better way to celebrate Canada or any country in the world than to take pride in what we have to offer from coast to coast.

First up in our patriotic menu is a tomato salad with pickled shallots and goat cheese croutons. Red with the tomatoes and a good quality red wine vinegar and white with the goat cheese and bread croutons. If you find yourself on a quest for the perfect blend of summer flavours look no further. If Heirloom tomatoes are in season wouldn't this look stunning with every colour of red and orange in the rainbow captured on the plate. There is nothing that screams summer more than a plate full of sun-warmed tomatoes from the garden. This makes a delicious appetizer or can be served as a salad that compliments the rest of your menu.

 I served this on a large platter where my guests topped the creamy goat cheese covered croutons with the tomato slices and pickled shallots for a perfect balance of flavours marrying the acidity of the tomatoes, vinegar and tangy goat cheese. I must say I had more than my share, it was that good!!!!Such a simple combination that allows the flavour of the tomato to be the star.

What red and white appetizer would you bring to the party???
Leave a comment and I may give it a try.

And speaking of parties I am submitting this dish to Nuria of Spanish Recipes for her event called Eating Good Feeling Good. Nuria's monthly event is not about diet food but more about consciously focusing on eating healthy, fresh, seasonal and varied food. This fits in perfectly with my quest to become more of a locavore. Do make a point of reading more about this important event here . We'll post about a different food every few months while creating greater awareness of how these foods fit into your healthy diet.

This month her chosen ingredient is olive oil. Olive oil has been used in Mediterranean countries for thousands of years and has quickly been ingrained in North America and other parts of the world. It’s actually a pure fruit juice and unlike most seed or vegetable oils, it does not require any heat or chemicals to extract the oil and needs no refinement. The oil can be consumed as is immediately after pressing.

 The reason olive oil is so good for us is because it’s high in mono unsaturated fat, vitamin E, and antioxidants.

Cooking with olive oil is like cooking with wine. Never use a wine or olive oil that does not taste good to you. An inferior oil will leave an unpleasant aftertaste. If you do the taste test and compare the "pure" to the "extra-virgin" oils you'll then understand the difference.

When cooking with olive oil, I save my extra-virgin and pricier oils for salads, dressings, and vinaigrette. You can drizzle it over slices of crusty bread or onto open-face sandwiches. I use it on a baked potato or add it to mashed potatoes instead of butter. Extra virgin olive oil tastes great on cooked vegetables or brushed onto fish or meat before serving.  It goes a long way on the path to eating good and feeling good!


**Tomato Salad with Pickled Shallots and Goat Cheese Croutons**
Print me...
2 shallots, sliced moderately thin
3 tablespoons (45 mL) red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced garlic
1/2 cup (120 mL) olive oil, divided
1/4 pound (113 g) fresh goat cheese
3 tablespoons (45 mL) minced chives (about 1 bunch)
1 baguette (about 3/4 pound)
1 1/4 pounds (563 g) tomatoes, sliced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch (6 - 13 mm) thick rounds
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

 Combine the shallots and the vinegar in a small bowl and set aside for a minimum of 1 hour. Combine the garlic and one-quarter cup of the oil in another small bowl and set aside at least 30 minutes. In another small bowl beat together the goat cheese and chives.

 Heat the oven to 400F (204C) degrees. Slice the baguette at a sharp angle 1/4 to 1/2 inch (6 - 13mm) thick to create spears of bread. Strain the garlic from the olive oil and brush the bread on both sides with the oil. Discard the garlic or save for another use. Place bread on a baking sheet and bake until golden, 5 - 10 minutes. Allow to cool and spread with goat cheese/chive mixture.

 Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Strain the vinegar from the shallots into a small bowl and then beat in the remaining one-fourth cup of oil. Dip each tomato slice in the mixture and arrange the dressed tomatoes in a wide serving bowl or on plates, being careful to mix colors and sizes. Carefully separate the shallot slices into individual rings and scatter them over top. Pour any remaining dressing on top.
Arrange the goat cheese croutons around the outside and serve.

Serves 4 -6

You may also enjoy these red and white appetizers:

Pesto Cherry Tomato Caprese
Char-Grilled Halloumi with Tomato Dressing
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette
Tomato Feta Salad
Layered Heirloom Tomatoes with Feta and Basil Oil

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Content must be credited to this author. Best Blogger Tips


  1. looks yummy! If you have any U.S. readers, they are welcome to join my 4th of July recipe contest! (you know, just so they don't feel left out ;-)


  2. How fun!! And absolutely fabulous start!! Tomato Salad is on the table every day during the season and goat cheese croutons???? YUM!!
    xoxo Pattie

  3. A great idea! That is a wonderful meal. So fresh and summery!



  4. this is quite a challenge for me - but i am all up to challenges (blue and white food, hmmm....)

  5. Is it almost that time already?
    Well, naturally the first "red & white" dish I thought of was strawberries and cream...not usually considered an appetizer though. So I thought I'd share my roasted red pepper pesto that tastes awesome as a bruscetta and also does wonders with pasta

  6. Blue and white is a bit of a challenge Maria..I am thinking blueberries and blue fin tuna which is not indigenous here. Thanks for the red and white dish Ruth. Red Pepper hummus is delicious!!!

  7. It's a pretty and tasty dish no matter who's flag it's served under. You have perfect summer flavors.

    I have been known to make a strawberry/blueberry pie for the 4th of July. Top it with whipped cream and you have a patriotic pie!

  8. What a wonderful dish to celebrate Canada's birthday. Also a very nice write up on olive oil.

  9. I am looking forward to your patriotic-colour posts!

    This is such a neat idea. I think for independence next year, I am going to make a meal with all the colours of our flag - 5! Thanks for the inspiration and idea.

  10. This is going to be an interesting series. I love the idea of the pickled shallots to cut the richness of the goat cheese.

  11. I love your salad and am really looking forward to your series. You could do blue mussels from Prince Edward Island for the color blue. Please, please, please don't do blue potatoes. I will think less of you :-). Have a grand day. Blessings...Mary

  12. Salads are perfect for summer! And I actually am picking up shallots on my way home from work today since I used up our stash last night when I couldn't find the onion I'd hidden in the cheese drawer.

  13. Look forward to the future posts...the salad looks delicious with the goat cheese croutons...

  14. AnonymousJune 15, 2010

    I've never made my own croutons before...this looks great!

  15. I served skewered cherry tomatoes and mozzarella bites - tossed in pesto - at my sister's baby shower on Sunday. Big hit! Happy Birthday, Canada!

  16. what a fun theme, val! seems like there are lots of directions to take with red and white. i like the salad, but i can't wait to see what else you create!

  17. I am trying to eat better, including more vegetables and fruits on my regular meals.
    Love your creation in red and white, by the way, Canada's
    flag is very beautiful

  18. I love the color theme to celebrate Canada! Those goat cheese croutons have me seriously drooling.

    I would make a caprese salad! Yes it has some green in there but it's just so tasty!

    Or a tomato soup with a dollop of yogurt in the center. Major yum.

  19. Very clever and patriotic idea, Val!! It is such a beautiful meze platter, love the pickled onions!!

  20. Let me think...after having had your very appetizing salad...I would want to have dessert of course;o)
    Quickly what comes to mind would be some slightly slitted fresh strawberries stuffed with maple syrup flavoured mascarpone. How's that for a red and white theme?
    Val, you always have interesting posts. Again thank you for being so inspirational.
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

    P.S. I answered your Ouzo ? on my blog ;o)

  21. Great idea to celebrate your country and the season! Let's see, red and white appetizers...

    I might go with something sweet, a strawberry and basil bruschetta over crostini topped with ricotta.

    Or for something a little more savory, skewered cubes of haloumi with grape tomatoes charred on the grill... yum!

  22. Very Canadian too Claudia with the maple syrup, I love the skewers too Cara, but how to decide between the sweet and savoury.

  23. I love shallots but never thought of pickling them. Great idea. Also great idea to eat good and healthy food. You sure know how to celebrate a birthday.

  24. While I am dual-I was born and raised north of the 49th parallel -so red and white are my colors-what recipe would I make-I love maple syrup so it would have to involve maple syrup somehow. I am going to pull out my Bonnie Stern cookbook and see what suggestions she has for Canada Day.

  25. AnonymousJune 16, 2010

    The white and red theme is terrific for celebration of Canada! My daughter would like that very much - inspired by watching all the different World cup games she's been very into drawing all the flags and wearing different colors of the countries she's rooting for.

    The salad is terrific, love the goat cheese croutons!

  26. Picked shallots are a wonderful addition to this beautiful plate. I love everything here and will be making those shallots right away.

  27. Valli!
    Since you have given your site a face lift - your photography and your recipes and your posts have just been getting better and better... I want to make every single one. The flower is gorgeous in the photo. Great read. AND - you are always on top of things... Canada Day is coming up - and you are ahead of the pack. Good for me!

  28. I can't wait until our jersey tomatoes come in , I love tomato salad and I certainly love goat cheese....yummm
    congrats on Canada's upcoming birthday!!!!

  29. Beautiful, colorful and healthy, that is one perfect meal. Our independent day is coming as well, most people will do BBQ.

  30. I love how you incorpoarted the colors of the Canadian flag into your dish. Tomato salad with pickled shallots looks and sounds delicious!

    Hmm.,..red, white and blue usually result in something using JELLO, especially come 4th of July lol However, I'm thinking of a spiced blue potato, beet and creme fraiche parfait or terrine of some kind.

  31. Hard to think of anything better than this these goat cheese croutons would be it for me.

  32. You are right. Canada Day is just around the corner and I haven't given it a thought. Red and White. Hmmm...I'll get back to you.

  33. Such a great recipe Val!!! Thanks soooooooo much for participating and helping spread the word :D. I love your recipe more knowing that represents your country now. I think that Canada has lots and lots of good things. It sounds so appealing to me. Yeah, good you should your pride, girl!

    Muchas gracias for the delicious recipe :D

  34. Oh that looks so good. I would love to just dive into this salad.

  35. A very creative blogging theme, Val. "Oh Canada, I eat red & white for thee"! lol

  36. Oh, this is just lovely! What a perfect side dish, even with our first tomatoes. As they fully come into season this will grace our family table regularly.

    I love, love, love the pickled shallots and will certainly find more uses for them here and there. Thanks!


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