Tomatoes, cheese, bread and some extras. There's many nights when I want something comforting and lasting but I also want it to be light and refreshing. Here's where some good vegetable staples, california olive oil and a new cheese come to the rescue in a bruschetta dinner.
I love to use grape or cherry tomatoes because there are less seeds, they are sweeter and stand up to a good splash of olive oil. Cut the tomatoes to bite size pieces along with any type of onion (again purple are my favorites!) and some garlic. Mix these together in a bowl and add salt, pepper and any fresh herb you may have. At this point add an "S" shape of olive oil, mix and let it sit. Even standing for 10 minutes the flavors meld into one and really allow you to see if you need more olive oil, salt, pepper, etc. This is where your creativity comes in, try different veggies, various herbs and even new olive oils (yes they do all taste different!).
Cut a loaf of crusty Italian bread into slices and grill for 5-10 minutes at 350 (or use the broil setting). I really don't like to put olive oil on the bread because that's taken care of in the bruschetta mix. Once done, set the bruschetta, bread and a yummy spreadable cheese in separate plates - I like the idea of having everyone create their own, get them into the food and really feel the comfort of simplicity.