Someone didn’t cage the tomatoes in our suburban backyard raised bed, despite my good advice… but we still got a good size haul of them, enough to freeze several quarts. And we have a few lovely red bell peppers, which are just ridiculously expensive and not even that good at the grocery store.

So, I had to figure out something to do to use some of these delicious blessings from our garden. You need:

Red Bell Peppers.


Fresh Basil.



Balsamic Vinegar.

French, Italian or Focaccia bread.

Heat oven to 450. Wash and seed red bell peppers, and slice them into big chunks. Coat red peppers and pan generously in olive oil and roast in oven as long as desired– I do not like my roast peppers burned, but Carrabbas’ bruschetta has a little bit of burned pepper skins in it. It’s just what you like.

As the red bell peppers begin to smell sweet and look close to done (the skin wrinkles up), throw in some minced garlic (not too much), stir up, and roast a bit longer.

Chop up fresh tomatoes and get most of the seeds out. You want about twice as much tomatoes, or three times as much, as you have of the red peppers. Slice up fresh basil, as much as you can get– no more than about 1/4 your quantity of peppers– very, very fine. If you don’t have enough fresh basil you can supplement with dried.

When the peppers are roasted, pull them out of the hot oil to cool. Throw the tomatoes into the roasting pan, add a bit more olive oil, slice up the roasted pepper slices very fine and throw them back into the pan, and roast the tomatoes with the red pepper for a little bit.

Start adding basil til it looks like enough. Roast a few more minutes. Taste to make sure you have enough basil.

While roasting, stir together some more olive oil with some more minced fresh garlic. Slice plain French or Italian bread, or focaccia bread, or both, pretty thin. Lightly soak both sides of the slices in the olive oil/garlic mixture and put on a cookie sheet. Roast with the bruschetta sauce until very lightly crisped/browned but still tender. Put any leftover olive oil/garlic mixture into the sauce.

When the bruschetta sauce appears to be roasted well enough that the flavors have blended and the juices have come out, take it out of the oven and add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt, and taste. Continue adding small splashes of balsamic vinegar and sprinkles of salt until it tastes good to you. It may also need a few more splashes of olive oil. Olive oil is good for you and also holds the nutrients into the veggies and makes the consistency of the sauce so much more pleasing.

Serve warm in a bowl with a spoon to spread on the rounds or slices of toasted bread. Damn, damn, damn good!

I imagine it would be almost as good with a can of diced tomatoes, canned roasted red peppers which are very cheap at the dollar tree, and some fresh basil from the produce section… and we have frozen tomatoes we can use for this, this winter.