March 7, 2015

Cooking up Memories: Bruschetta

This recipe came from my sister-in-law's mom.  My bridal shower was held at her house, so she gave me recipes for all of the appetizers that she made that day.  I've been waiting for the right opportunity to make this bruschetta, since it's not really something that David and I would just eat for dinner one night.  

Last Friday night for ICF (our International Student Home Group) we were going to all bring appetizers, so I thought this would be a perfect time to make the bruschetta.  So I went shopping and bought all of the ingredients, but then ICF was cancelled due to the snow.  Luckily, we already had a girls dinner scheduled for this Friday so I was able to use everything I'd already bought to make this appetizer for last night.

First of all, there's a new Trader Joe's about 5 miles from my house and I love it.  That is where I went to buy all of the ingredients for dinner and everything was so fresh and tasty.  If you don't know Trader Joe's--they have a lot of fresh and organic produce as well as several specialty items and they are all pretty affordable for the quality.  It's now a regular part of my grocery shopping mornings.

 While I was at TJ gathering all of my ingredients, I came across this:

And while it was very tempting--I figured it would defeat the purpose of making this recipe if I cheated.

I used part of my snow day on Thursday to make 2 of the steps of the bruschetta ahead of time

First was making the olive paste:

 And next was the Tomato topper.  I know I've mentioned before, but my manual food processor is one of my very favorite kitchen tools!  David bought it for me last Valentine's after we'd seen it at a Pampered Chef Party and I use it all the time.  It took only about 30 seconds to get from the quartered tomatoes to very finely diced tomatoes!  I also used it for green onion and basil for the tomato topper

Then on Friday night I assembled it together with the baguette and it was ready to go when my friends arrived

Toasts: Cut 1 loaf baguette into 1/2 inch slices.  Brush both sides lightly with 2 T olive oil.  Place on ungreased sheet.  Bake at 425 for 5 minutes, turning once.  Covered cooled crisps at room temperature {I baked these up right before I assembled the bruschetta, but you can do this step up a few days ahead of time}
Olive Paste: Combine in a blender or food processor:
*1 cup Black Olives (pitted) *2 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar *1 teaspoon Capers *1 teaspoon Olive Oil *2 cloves Garlic
-Cover and chill up to 2 days
Tomato Topper: Stir together:
*2 medium Tomatoes, chopped *1/3 cup chopped Green Onion *1 tablespoon Olive Oil *1 tablespoon Fresh Chopped Basil *1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
-Cover and chill up to 2 days
To Assemble, spread each toast with olive spread, top with 2 Tablespoons tomato topper.  Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.  Bake at 425 for 2-3 minutes until cheese starts to melt.

While the toasts were baking and my dinner was simmering on the stove, I set the table.  I bought these placemats at Bed Bath and Beyond with a gift card I had and decided to use my China for our girls dinner to add a little fun!  I used my Chalkboard Banners for our welcome.

After everyone arrived we had some bruschetta for an appetizer and then we had a Lemon Dill soup for dinner.

And a Cherry Berry Cobbler for dessert (on my polka dot plates that I think are so fun!  But I tend to reserve them for girls events since David might not think they are quite as fun as I do) 

 We hosted this as part of the IF:Table. My friend Amy and I had attended a simulcast of the IF:Gathering last month which is a gathering of Christian women.  There were several speakers throughout the conference and their mission is to connect women together to seek after God and grow deeper in relationship.  "IF" comes from the idea that "IF God is real, then we want to live like it."  So they do a gathering once a year, a daily bible study online and then they encourage people to host IF Tables once a month.  And IF table is a small group of women who come together over a meal and talk through some different questions.  Amy and I decided we wanted to try one out with some of the International Students, so we took advantage of the night off of ICF to ask a few girls over.  We had some great conversations!

So blessed by these girls!

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