One of my favorite scenes from Julie and Julia, which I have watched about a million times now, is when Julie is making bruschetta for her and her husband. I love watching the French bread sizzling in the pan and her husband’s reaction to how delicious it is. Unlike many of the rich, buttery French dishes that are made in the movie, bruchetta is a light and healthy Italian appetizer.
Bruschetta, although from Italy, reminds me of pan con tomate, a popular Spanish tapa (originally from the Catalonia region). Last summer when I was living in Spain, I ate a looot of pan con tomate, which is just toasted bread with tomato pulp and drizzled olive oil on top. During our daily snack break at work, my coworkers would all order pan con tomate, which was a simple, yet delicious snack. Bruschetta is different in that it uses diced tomatoes instead of tomato pulp. The tomatoes are also tossed with olive oil, basil, garlic, and parmesan cheese.
For this bruschetta, I used heirloom tomatoes – some were dark purple and some bright red. Just adding a little bit of garlic and basil made it so flavorful, but I also used balsamic vinegar to give it a little kick. This yummy appetizer can be whipped up in 15 minutes and doesn’t require any cooking. It is a perfect snack for a hot summer day or hors d’oeuvre for a dinner party.
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced
- 5 leaves fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- 1/2 loaf French or Italian bread, cut into slices
- In a bowl, toss all of the ingredients except the bread together.
- In a medium pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat. Toast bread slices on both sides until golden brown.
- Top bread with tomato mixture.
It’s officially March and we finally had a snow day. After multiple incidences of having our high hopes for a snow day being crushed, we had not one, but TWO snow days in a row here in Baltimore. The thrill of having a day with no classes propelled me to bake something and I wanted that ‘something’ to be healthy.
My good friend Jeana came back to school from winter break with several Ziploc gallon bags stuffed with baked apple chips. She shared them with a bunch of friends in class and we were all immediately hooked. Her mom uses a dehydrator to make large batches of chips, without adding anything else! This inspired me to make my own version of healthy chips with sweet potatoes, that have been lying around in my pantry waiting to be put to use.
I love sweet potatoes – not only are they delicious, they can also be cooked in a variety of ways and are good for you. They are rich in vitamins and minerals but are most well-known for having many carotenoids, which explains their orange color. These carotenoids improve vision as well as increase immunity to disease, such as cancer. What more can you ask for in a simple, yummy, and addicting snack?!
BAKED SWEET POTATO CHIPS
2 large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet (or 2) with parchment paper.
Rinse and dry sweet potatoes. Slice them thinly with a mandolin or sharp knife. In a large bowl, toss with olive oil and salt. Place on parchment paper (they don’t have to be very spread out since they shrink in the oven).
Bake for 10 minutes. Flip chips over and bake for another 10 minutes. Watch closely towards the end. Take out the browning chips, which are usually the smaller ones.
Let the chips cool for 5-10 minutes so they crisp up. If they are still moist/chewy then you can put them in the oven again for 1-2 minutes.
Repeat with remaining sweet potato slices.
adapted from The Minimalist Baker
I have 2 exciting pieces of news everyone! The first is that I switched my blog from wordpress.com to a self-hosted domain (Bluehost). So now, the URL doesn’t have “.wordpress.com” after it. I’m definitely no expert at computers and tech stuff but I managed to get it to work! Unfortunately, this means I lost all my WordPress followers so if you are out there, I am sorry and please re-subscribe!
The second exciting news is that I got 2 new lenses! One is a 45 mm (f1.8) lens that I love using for food photography and the other is a 40-150 mm zoom lens. I am SO excited to use both since they’ll definitely improve the quality of my photos. I actually used the 45 mm one for the pictures of the dip; I’m sure you can see the difference a lens makes already!
On Christmas day, my mom and I made our own spinach artichoke dips and chips. It was our first time making both and luckily, they both turned out amazing! The dip was creamy and rich with flavor, but had a good amount of artichokes and spinach. The chips were fresh out of the oven so they were tasty and crunchy and didn’t even need salt. Among the 4 of us, we finished it all for lunch.
SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP AND CHIPS
Spinach Artichoke Dip:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 large flour tortillas (corn or whole wheat tortillas also work)
Spinach Artichoke Dip:
adapted from All Recipes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking dish or several small ones.
In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly brush olive oil onto both sides of each tortilla.
Stack tortillas on top of each other and cut into small triangle slices.
Place triangles on a baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes, until lightly browned.
Take out of oven and let cool.