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Take bruschetta to new levels by varying the toppings. In addition to the traditional tomato, try a white bean mixture or even dessert.

Meredith Deeds, Special to the Star Tribune

BRUSCHETTA BAR

Set out a variety of toppings for the family to create their own bruschetta. Here are a few other combinations that I love, but experimentation is highly recommended.

MEREDITH DEEDS

SAVORY TOPPINGS

• Low-fat ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto

• Fresh figs, prosciutto and goat cheese

• Smashed peas with mint (thawed frozen peas mashed with a tablespoon of chopped mint, pinch of salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil)

• Avocado, cilantro and chili powder

DESSERT TOPPINGS

• Melted dark chocolate, sprinkle of sea salt and orange zest

• Nutella and banana

• Low-fat cream cheese, strawberries and honey on cinnamon bread

Kitchen-counter supper has its benefits

  • Article by: By MEREDITH DEEDS
  • Special to the Star Tribune
  • July 18, 2012 - 3:08 PM
Sometimes dinner doesn't make it to the table. Not because it's being consumed in front of the TV, but because my crew is huddled around the kitchen counter participating in the process of making dinner, and it just never quite makes the migration. While standing around and eating isn't something I would want to do all the time -- I'm a big fan of eating while seated -- with the right meal it can be a memorable evening.

My family had one of those evenings not long ago. Having found myself with a glut of cherry tomatoes, I decided to roast some of them with a little olive oil and rosemary. Coincidentally, I also had a beautiful loaf of rustic Italian bread that made the perfect foundation for bruschetta. So I roasted and toasted, but before I had a chance to get anything to the table, my boys huddled around the counter and started to construct their own bruschetta masterpieces, using the roasted tomatoes and other treasures they hunted out of the fridge.

One thing led to another and after much culinary creativity, along with a lot of talking, laughing and noshing, we had finished dinner right there at the counter. It's an evening I will remember, especially now that my boys are getting older and I know that these moments will soon become fewer and farther between.

While bruschetta can be the catalyst for an evening like this, so can any meal that the family cooks together. After all, it doesn't really matter where you eat it, as long as you're eating it together. And if you can enjoy the process of making it, too? I can't think of anything better.

Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of "Everyday to Entertaining" and "The Big Book of Appetizers." Reach her at meredith@meredithdeeds.com. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.

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