I was never so happy to receive a Christmas parcel from Brenda then, because it included some Italian treasures. One of those treasures was a souvenir of Tuscany — a package of 3 different spice mixes, with absolutely no indication of how to use them. A bit daunting, but I jumped in anyway when a craving for something other than winter foods hit.
I would normally never buy tomatoes in the winter, partly because of my "wanna-believe-in" buying local foods in stock sensibility, but also because the taste most closely resembles cardboard soaked in vinegar. Not worth it. But I needed to create a little summer taste of Tuscany on this particular bleak night, so I did buy some grape tomatoes and a lovely Ciabatta loaf.
This mix has only dehydrated herbs and spices, so it shouldn't have tasted so good, but OMG! Amazing! It wasn't just my body starving for flavonoids, this little packet of heaven turned my sour and yet tasteless tomatoes into summer!
Must be the Italian influence. All I did was cook up some local Italian sausages. Then I added a good tablespoon of the mix to cut up grape tomatoes and olives, added about a 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil and a generous pinch of sea salt. After the sausages were done I spooned on generous bits of the tomatoes and as many sausage pieces as would stay on, then topped with some freshly grated Romano cheese. Ciabatta bread is wonderfully holey, so the juices soaked into the bruschetta while they were broiling.