Hello again from Dallas, where we are closing in on the dubious distinction of suffering through the longest stretch of 100-degree-plus days in recorded history! As we parents wait eagerly for the start of school (yahoo!), our heat-addled brains have come up with new ways to entertain our families in the broiling heat of the summer. One novel idea for us is car cookery, or cooking food in the solar heat built up in our 1999 Chevy Suburban. With the city's heat at all-time highs nearly every day this month, we have more than enough solar energy to cook a few things in the car.
Why cook in the car? There are several good reasons for doing so:
1. to cook when camping
2. for summer amusement
3. as scientific experimentation
4. to save energy and lower your electric bills
5. to cook during power outages, and
6. to avoid heating up the house with your indoor oven
So if you live in a hot part of the country, why not try something new?
Today's entry into the annals of car cookery is much fancier than yesterday's cinnamon toast. We've already tried car-cooking plenty of kid favorites, such as quesadillas, garlic bread, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs and that all-time classic, s'mores. But man cannot live on kid food alone, so I thought I'd branch into something more sophisticated: bruschetta.
Bruschetta (pronounced "broosketta" in Italian) is a yummy appetizer made with baguette rounds, fresh tomatoes and basil. For my recipe I looked online and found a five-star version here on allrecipes.com. When I made the bruschetta yesterday, it was 105 F outside and 158 degrees on the car dashboard.
First I sliced the fresh baguette into 3/4" slices.
I toasted the bread slices for about half an hour in the car until they were warm and slightly crunchy. In the meantime, I chopped all the tomatoes and assembled the savory topping. Then I spooned some topping onto each baguette slice and sprinkled a little bit of mozzarella cheese on each one.
Then it was back in the "oven."
I let the bruschetta broil under the windshield about 45 minutes, until the topping was warm and the cheese had started to melt. I could have let it go longer, but it was dinnertime, and we were hungry!
After I brought them in, I garnished each round with a fresh basil leaf from our yard. They looked so cute and tasted so yummy! Sadly, our kids were too chicken to try them (they prefer cinnamon toast), but that only left more for my husband and me -- oh, darn! We even had a bunch left over for our neighbor, who gladly tasted them even though they were cooked in our Suburban.
The bruschetta turned out to be the tastiest and most elegant food we've made in the car yet ... definitely a success!!!
And it's only a few more days until we break that 1980 heat-wave record!
Next up in car cookery: sun-dried beef jerky.