Wednesday, August 28, 2013


We have just enjoyed a visit from our west coast son.  It's amazing how fast a week can pass!  There were museum visits:  The Vivian Maier Photo Exhibit at the Chicago History Museum and The Modern Cartoonist:  The Art of Daniel Clowes at the Museum of Contemporary Art.  If you're in the city, both are worth a look.  There were neighborhood stops to make as well.  Breakfast at Twelve Islands and a look-around at our neighbor's antique shop, Old Green Shutters where an Indie movie is being filmed.  I don't believe there has been any of that since Johnny Depp was in town filming "Public Enemy" a few year's ago.

There were favorite foods, from breakfast to dinner to cookies, to prepare and enjoy.  But, I didn't want to spend too much time in the kitchen.

One evening's meal was what I called antipasto.  The question is, however, can it be antipasto if it isn't followed by primo or secondo or contorno or...?  With a nod to my Italian friends, here is what I've dubbed "antipasto".

I spied this delicious dish on the front of a Martha Stewart magazine and knew we had to have that on the menu while heirloom tomatoes were in the market.  I picked out a ciabatta that was as close to a rectangle as possible and cut it in half, lengthwise.  A quick rub with garlic and a brush of olive oil was all it needed before toasting in a 325 degree oven for about ten minutes.  When cool, I spread a very thin layer of mayonnaise to keep the bread from getting soggy from the juicy tomatoes.  Thinly sliced tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper were all we needed for a delicious starter.  While the tomatoes looked beautiful placed together, I think I'll mix them up next time.  

Next came what I'm calling the antipasto.

Two good cheeses from Wisconsin:  A five-year old cheddar and a slightly soft Vale cheese.  I know there should be one more but no one complained.  Sliced Polish sausage, a mixture of marinated olives and roasted asparagus.  The only part that I actually prepared was the asparagus.  It wasn't local but looked so good at the market.  Very fresh.

Here's the simple preparation:

1 pound asparagus (these were thin and uniform in size), peeled
   (I always peel asparagus but you don't have to if it's very fresh)
Olive oil, enough to just coat each spear
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

425 degree oven
1.  Spread in one layer on a sided baking pan.
2.  Roast for about ten minutes
3.  Serve hot or at room temperature.



  1. It reminds that I am at home from work this week and the farmers market is this morning.

  2. It looks like a perfect meal..Your tomatoes are so pretty!
    I bet you had a great time with your son.

  3. It has been a long time since I have even checked on my favorite blogs. I am so glad that I had time to stop by yours today. Your food looks yummy as usual. Now, I am going to have to go get me some cheese and olives for a snack. LOL. So glad to see that you are doing well and had a nice visit with your son. I promise I won't wait so long to visit with you again! God Bless! -Carla

  4. Oh mercy me....I am drooling and it is only 7 AM here!! That looks fabulous!!! Simple, in season foods, are always the best!!
    xo Kris

  5. Bonnie, glad you had a good visit with your son. I agree---there's too much to do around Chicago, without spending time in the kitchen! I've never been to the Chicago History Museum and want to check it out. Your antipasto is my kind of food! Keep cool!

  6. Oh My---that asparagus looks so delicious.. I haven't had any fresh asparagus in awhile. YUM.....

    In fact, that entire dinner looks fabulous. I'd love all of that CHEESE....


  7. I had big plans to do Martha's heirloom tomato thing on the cover too! No one but the two of here though and too much bread :( Perhaps when the kids come over for dinner sometime soon. Is your son still enjoying the Bay Area?

  8. It sounds like you had a great visit. You certainly weren't bored :-). This is a perfect plain but fancy meal for company. I have to try it. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  9. I cannot get enough of summer tomatoes! I'm gorging myself on them right now!

  10. I would be very happy with this for dinner.

    We must be on the same wavelength. I saw the same heirloom tomatoes on ciabatta recipe that you did from Martha Stewart and served small slices of it, believe it or not, for breakfast. I had red and yellow tomatoes, but sadly no green ones, but it was still very pretty.

  11. that sandwich looks divine to me.. in fact all of this does... I love tomatoes just about anyway they are served

  12. This looks like a great meal to me! I wouldn't need anything more...isn't it fun to see all of the beautiful colors on the plate?!

  13. The top dish looks gorgeous, NO don't alternate because it couldn't get any prettier. And the second dish looks really delightfully yummy. The polish sausage, I guess it is Hillshire Farm or something...I have only eaten it cooked and did not think it is already pre-cooked, I need to make up a plate like this, we would both love it.

    1. Ginny: The sausage is from a Polish deli in town. I did cook it but sliced it and served it at room temperature. Delicious!

  14. Oh my it looks so good. And the tomato starter -- fantastic. What a fun week you had with your son! Is the other one coming next?

  15. The tomatoes are beautiful! It sounds like you had a wonderful visit with your son. Chicago has so much to offer, it is one of my favorite cities. I love to make antipasto trays for gatherings. They are so easy. I know the rule is three cheeses, but I sometimes only have one nice cheese such as St. Andre's. It depends on the number of people.

  16. I soooo wish I had those plates in front of me right now! You really found some gorgeous tomatoes! Sounds like you had a nice visit with your son:@)

  17. Bonnie, I am drooling!! Mercy, me, that looks so good! I do know how quickly a week can fly past! Are you planning an October visit?? blessings ~ tanna

  18. A perfect meal... one I should do before summer is over.

  19. What a delicious meal, Bonnie. Sliced tomatoes on good bread is my favorite summer treat. Have a great weekend.

  20. Hello! Very nice and interesting post.
    Great and friendly atmosphere on the blog.
    Greetings. :)

    Patricia & Daniel

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