Up until yesterday, I thought that Memorial Day weekend occurs next weekend, not this weekend. Obviously, we don't have much planned--which is fine with me. I'm not really a fan of packing up the car and hitting the road or jumping on a plane at the very same instant that every other family in America does the same thing. All of a sudden, a three hour drive to the beach/mountains/national park turns into an eight hour stressed-out crawl. By the time that you arrive at your destination, you have listened to your "special vacation mix CD" at least five times, you are sick and tired of your travel companions, and all that you can think about is your return trip home in two days (along with every other family in America.) Attractions are more crowded. Prices are inflated. Sounds like a great vacation! Piece of advice: STAY HOME.
Now I know that this isn't an option for some people--those that have a special event to attend or a family member to visit--but for others, I have found off-holiday travel to be so much more enjoyable. Fewer crowds+less travel hassles+lower costs=happy Julie. Happy Julie=Happy Eric. So you see? It works out for all parties involved.
Even when we stay in Las Vegas over major holiday weekends, we tend to stick pretty close to home. It seems like the entire state of California arrives on Friday night, judging from the stream of headlights coming from the west on I-15. You can only imagine how crowded the Strip becomes, and normal activities like parking your car can take five times as long. When we do go out, our strategy is to stick to the peripheral or "locals" restaurants, or we'll just staying home and grill.
This time of year in Las Vegas is perfect for grilling. Although the temperatures occasionally reach triple digits during the day, the evenings are still bearable enough to stand over hot coals without feeling like you are inside of a furnace. I came home from the grocery store yesterday armed with one of those really fresh, chewy La Brea whole wheat baguettes, fresh corn, and tomatoes. My original idea was to serve everything separately, but I ended up putting them all together for this smoky bruschetta recipe. This is an easy and healthy dish to serve for parties, and it makes quite a bit. I was sooo glad that I had some left over for lunch today! Here are a few extra tips for this simple summery snack:
- If the weather isn't right for outdoor grilling, you can certainly prepare this recipe indoors. Grill the tomatoes and onion on an indoor grill-pan set over medium heat. To "char" the corn, set it under your oven broiler, rotating occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
- The corn and tomato topping will keep for 3 days, covered and refrigerated.
- In addition to being a yummy topping for bruschetta, the topping can be used as a condiment for burgers, a filling for omelets, or use it in place of salsa to accompany tortilla chips.
- If you like a little bit of extra heat in your food, add a seeded and minced jalapeno to the topping. You can also grill the jalapeno along with the other vegetables and then seed, mince, and add it to the bowl.
Grilled Corn and Tomato Bruschetta
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick rings
Salt and pepper
4 vine-ripened tomatoes
1 baguette, sliced on a diagonal
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon lime juice
Heat a grill over medium heat. Brush the onion slices and corn with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the onions, corn, and tomatoes on the grill. Grill until the onions and corn are charred and the tomato skins are blistered, 10-12 minutes.
Transfer the vegetables to a foil-lined baking sheet at let cool. Brush the baguette slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the bread until slightly charred, about 2 minutes on each side.
Core the tomatoes and cut them in half horizontally. Spoon out the juices and seeds. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and place them in a medium bowl. Cut the corn kernels from the cobs, and add them to the tomatoes. Chop the onion, and add it to the tomatoes. Mix in the garlic, paprika, cumin, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with the grilled baguette slices.