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  • Writer's pictureJules Corley

Updated: Jul 24, 2018

When it comes to hosting, it's all about the appetizers. Click to see my favorite crowd pleaser.

Ask any one who knows me, my first question when I wake up in the morning is always "So whats for dinner?" (Truly, it's a running joke in my family). I've always loved how food not only tastes delicious, but also has a way of bringing people together. My favorite conversations always seem to revolve around the dinner table, (bread is bonding, people). Cooking and hosting for me has become my ultimate stress reliever. My husband (still weird to type--newlywed status) often worries I entertain others to entertain my people pleasing side, which in a way he's right! I love to please others! Although people pleasing can be unhealthy some of the time, when it comes to serving my friends and family it is my greatest joy.

The More Bruschetta The Betta.

Ok. Who doesn't love bruschetta?! Bruschetta is not only a classic, but also is accommodating to both meat and non-meat eaters (I don't use parmesan on mine so my vegan peeps can enjoy too). I, myself, am not a huge meat eater, so I always appreciate when I go to a party, wedding, etc. that caters to us plant lovers. This recipe is one my friends and family have asked me for time and time again, so why not share it with you!

The Tomatoes Are Crucial

So for my bruschetta I use cherry tomatoes. If I'm feeling really funky, I use tricolored cherry tomatoes. I just love the melt-in-your-mouth sweetness cherry tomatoes have, but any tomato will work. If I'm not using cherry or grape tomatoes, Roma tomatoes are my next choice and what most bruschetta is used with. A case of cherry tomatoes usually feeds a crowd of 5 - 7 people (depending on how hungry your peeps are). I cut the tomatoes into fours (USE A TOMATO KNIFE). This will give you tiny bite size pieces. Once all the tomatoes are cut (Congrats, you've completed the hardest part of this recipe), put them into a mixing bowl. I know some choose to put fresh basil on top of the tomato mix once it's placed on the bread, but I prefer to mix mine in so it can really blend well with the tomatoes. I take 4 - 6 basil leaves and chop those into fine strips. The easiest way to do this is roll each leaf like you would a a tortilla and then dice. Add the basil to the mixing bowl so it can be besties with the tomatoes. Next, the garlic (salivating). I use fresh garlic, but powered garlic will be just fine. I use 1 1/2 tbsp. Then comes the balsamic and olive oil. You'll want to grab both balsamic vinegar and balsamic glaze at the store (yes, they are very different). You'll use equal parts of both the olive oil and balsamic oil (not glaze). I usually eye how much I am using, but if I had to guess in terms of measuring, I would say 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp of each. Add in 1 tsp of salt and 1 1/2 tsp of ground pepper. I sometimes add a pinch of red pepper flakes if I'm feeling spicy.

THE BREAD IS EVERYTHING. French bread = the best bruschetta bread. Although I feel like a Parisian carrying the long french bread loaf sticking out the brown paper bag at the grocery, it is the BEST. Cut the bread into small, bite-size, medium-thin pieces. You do not want your bread to be too thick, because your guests will be full. You also don't want it too thin, because it has to hold the weight of your tomato mixture. I tell people if you put your right thumb over your left thumb, thats the thickness it should be. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and heat bread for 5-6 minutes. You don't want the bread to be too crunchy. Once your bread is warmed, take it out and immediately place bruschetta mixture on top. That balsamic glaze will come into play now. Lightly drizzle it on top of each piece. This makes it look fancy and taste amazing. If you want, then lightly sprinkle some parmesan or feta on top for another flavor burst. Finally, enjoy!

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  • Writer's pictureJules Corley

Updated: Jun 27, 2018

My Guide To The Perfect At Home Italian Dinner.

ITALIAN, ITALIAN, ITALIAN! I would eat pasta every night of my life if I could still fit in my jeans. Whenever I get to choose the restaurant or genre for the evening, it's Italian most every time. There are three essentials when it comes to Italian food: olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes. Those three ingredients can be used to create a whole array of everyones favorite Italian classics. Italian cooking can seem simple, but adding a few flavor pops such as basil or red pepper changes the entire dish. Also, it seems so much more excusable for the wine to keep flowing over pasta versus dim sum?

My Perfect Italian Dinner Would Include...

Olive Tapenade to begin, followed by the "Green Jacket" salad (it's kinda Italian, right?), next would be the delicious bolognese sauce and to be honest, I'm not a big dessert eater, so maybe just another glass of Pinot Noir.

You can create this entire meal by clicking on my recipes link on the homepage...


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