In my family, it’s customary to tell embarrassing stories about your friends and loved ones when celebrating a big life moment. Weddings, graduations, birthdays–whatever the case may be, nothing shows you care like a little rib jabbin. Given this, I feel obligated to tell an embarrassing story about my fellow Charlotte Food Blogger, Brooke, who is expecting TWINS!
When I first met Brooke, the brains of Baking with Basil, she was just a few months pregnant (and nowhere near the size she is in this photo). We crammed into a car with Vanessa and Jamie and headed west for the Food Blog Forum in Nashville.
On the trip we shared some close sleeping quarters, so I was sure to warn the gals about my peculiar sleeping habits. You know, the sleep talking, sporadic sleep walking, and the occasional mid-night fisticuffs I engage in. I shared a bed with Brooke, so I had purposeful intentions of being on my best sleep behavior so as not to disturb the wee ones. In the middle of the night I went in for one of my trademark flip-and-rolls and accidentally booty bumped Brooke right in the belly. I remember the instant horror that washed over me as I bolted upright in the bed trying to determine if I had in any way injured the mama or the cargo. I held my breath waiting for a sign, or a sound, or a grunt of some sort, but Brooke didn’t budge. After a few terrifying minutes, I laid back down as straight and stiff as possible all the while clinging to the edge of the bed so as not to stray back into baby territory. I don’t think I slept the rest of the night.
Crap… wasn’t I supposed to be embarrassing Brooke here?!
Since the FBF, I’ve been keeping up with Brooke’s baby * 2 progress on her blog and have been awed by every photo of her growing belly. When I got an invitation to “attend” her virtual baby shower, I wanted to make something dainty and babyshoweresque but that still had a kick (or two, as the case may be).
Enter my Tomato Basil Bruschetta–the holy grail of finger foods. It is the best bruschetta I have ever had. Ever. AND it includes BASIL which makes it doubly appropriate given the title of Brooke’s blog… Baking with Basil… Get it?!
Contrary to popular belief, one plate of bruschetta does not a baby shower make… Even if it is a plate full of can’t-keep-your-eyes-open delicious bruschetta.
Take a look at what the other ladies made for the party!
Clockwise from top left: Green Pea Pesto Crostini by Vanessa from Life Undeveloped, Malted Chocolate Sandwich Cookies by Amy from The Fearless Homemaker, Cuban Pork Sliders by Lauren from Lauren’s Latest, Two Peas in Pod Cookies by Caroline from Chocolate & Carrots, Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting by Julie from Table for Two, and Baby Spinach Bassinets by Cassie from Bake Your Day.
The only bad thing about a virtual baby shower is not getting to taste all this food! Whelp, at least I have my bruschetta to devour.
- 3 cups roma tomatoes (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/2 cup red onion (thinly sliced)
- 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil (finely chopped)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 Loaf french baguette
- 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
Step 1: In a medium sized bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, onion, sundried tomatoes, salt, black pepper, onion powder, and 1 tbsp balsamic. Chiffonade the basil (i.e., stack the basil leaves like a deck of cards, roll into a tight little cigar, and then thinly slice). Add the basil to the tomato mixture and toss gently to combine. Cover & refrigerate.
Step 2: In a small saucepan, simmer 1 cup balsamic vinegar over medium heat until the vinegar reduces to 1/3 cup. Transfer vinegar reduction to a small bowl. The reduction will continue to thicken as it cools.
Step 3: Slice the French baguette on the bias into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices (depending on your preference). Turn on oven broiler. If the bread is fresh and soft to the touch, place bread slices on a cookie sheet and lightly under the broiler, taking care not to burn the bread. Note that crusty day-or-more-old bread may not need pre-toasted.
Step 4: Top each bread slice with 2 tbsp of the tomato mixture and a light sprinkling of Italian cheese. Place back under the broiler until the cheese is melted and tomatoes are warmed (approx 3-4 minutes) taking care not to burn the bread. Remove from oven and drizzle with balsamic reduction before serving.
CONGRATULATIONS Brooke! And thanks to Caroline for hosting the virtual baby shower!