Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tomato Basil Bruschetta a la Julie and Julia

My favorite movie from last year, hands-down, was Julie and Julia. It was the best combination of blogging, food, love, travel, cinematography, and plus--a true story! Every dish Julia and Julie made had my stomach rumbling and mouth yearning for delicious food! I left the movie (somewhere around 10:00 p.m.) wanting to go straight home and destroy my kitchen to whip up some culinary fabulousness! Well, I didn't wait too long. I HAD to make the tomato basil bruschetta featured as the first cooked meal in the film. So, after some internet scavenging and quite a bit of my own intuition, the Tomato Basil Bruschetta a la Julie and Julia was born.

This is a go-to meal for Scott and I during tomato season. You can just use red tomatoes, of course, but I find the vibrant hue variation makes this dish quite spectacular (you know, you do eat with your EYES as well as your MOUTH....)

What you will need for 2 servings:
-1.5 to 2 lbs. FRESH tomatoes (I would recommend heirloom tomatoes or farmer's market tomatoes), seeded and diced (please, for the sake of your taste buds, do not make this dish in the winter! The tomatoes you find in winter are mealy, unripe, and just poor quality, at best.)
-3 Tbls. olive oil
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-3 heaping Tbls. fresh basil, finely shopped
-Salt and pepper
-1 French baquette or sour dough baguette, sliced on the diagonal, about 1.5" thick

What to do:

-Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat

-Add bread slices to the heated oil and allow to cook to a nice, golden brown on both sides

-Remove the bread, setting aside on a plate with a paper towel

-Add more olive oil to the pan, if necessary

-Put the garlic in the skillet and saute until slightly golden

-Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until soft and juicy

-Turn off the heat and season with salt, pepper, and basil

-Scoop a decent serving over each slice of the bread, place on a platter, and eat to your hearts desire! I easily down 4 to 5 of these juicy slices!

In the words of Julia.... BON APETIT!


Friday, July 30, 2010

Guess What......??!!

.......... We got a NEW CAMERA!!!! You know how I have been DYING to get a camera like my momma's....... Well I got one!! We have a friend of ours staying with us this summer and we used the money that she has been paying for rent to purchase our very own Canon Rebel T1i digital SLR with a 50 mm lens. She is my pride and joy. I have been making up excuses to take pictures every day, and I have taken pictures of some of the most mundane things because I ran out of cool things to photograph. I will share some of my photos below:

The Camera!!!

Sunflowers from Scott :-)

Mailboxes at our apartment

Some thread that I use to decorate a book shelf :-)

Dried hydrangea from my bridal portraits

In other news... I finished summer school last night! Yay! Three weeks of freedom! I have already nearly completed one painting with (hopefully) a couple more in the coming weeks. I have taken PLENTY of pictures, deep cleaned the apartment, and helped a dear friend make ornaments for her up coming wedding. Pretty productive for my first day off, eh?

Scott came home early tonight (YAY!) and we will be grilling some chicken sandwiches and fryin' up some potatoes for french fries! We haven't had a good night out by the pool all summer, so tonight will be a real treat :-D Tomorrow, I plan on going to the farmer's market in search of some local, free-range, grass-fed meat products. We have felt more and more convicted lately to support local agriculture and this will be one of a few small steps we will take in that direction.

On Wednesday night, Scott and I went with our friends, the Duncans, to go watch Manchester United play the MLS All-Stars! (These would be professional soccer teams.) I have heard SO much about Manchester United and it was really exciting to watch them play! Granted, they are from England, but I was a bit more excited to see them play than the U.S. team.... We saw several players in action that played during the World Cup 2010!! We took the train to the stadium so as to save money on parking. It was my first time to take public transportation since living in Houston and it was pretty fun! The Houston public transit system is NOTHING compared to that of New York, Boston, Paris, or Chicago, but it got us to the stadium and back. However, on the way back, EVERYONE from the stadium took the light rail home so we were packed in that little train like crayons in a Crayola box! Scott and I are going to watch the Houston Dynamos (local soccer team) play New York's soccer team tomorrow night with the Duncans; should be great!

At Reliant Stadium

Scott and Brandon

The fans! 70,000 total!

Well, that is all I have as far as an update. I will post the surprise tomato recipe next....!



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Baseball games, soccer games, the beach, oh yeah!

I realize it's been a while.... But my excuse remains the same: school. Summer school hit us hard and fast on June 1st and has been go-go-go ever since, and will be until July 29th. Only two more weeks! I can do it!

New news: I don't work at Taft Street Coffee anymore. My last day was July 9th. Next semester at school I will be at an off-site working 30-40 hours/week, plus my 10 hrs/week as a graduate assistant (GA) at school.... so the coffee shop had to go. I was very sad to leave, but I really think I will need having August off before the craziness really sets in. I feel at peace about it, but I do and will miss working there.

Scott is on his job site until August, at which point he will be relocated. Be praying that he ends up somewhere in Houston. Other possibilities include the Woodlands (45 min. away) and Galveston (1 hr. away). We really want him to be in Houston to avoid 2+ hours of commute every day.

Despite our hectic schedules, we have embraced the summer months by going to an Astros game, watching USA play soccer in the World Cup at different sports bars, and more recently, going to the beach with our church group! This was my first summer since I was... probably 5 yrs. old that I didn't have "off", so I am trying to pretend that I don't have a pile of reports to write during my summer! Thankfully, my supervisors at school have been very gracious by extending deadlines; my professors, too, have made the summer load pretty light.

Okay, picture time.

Scott and I at the Astros v. Rangers Game. I was a little torn..... Been a Rangers fan my whole life! Well, the Rangers won by A LOT. Poor Astros....

So, I can't go anywhere without eating ice cream :-) And my dear husband gets it for me every time.

At Buffalo Wild Wings watching the USA v. Ghana game!! We painted our faces this time; SOO FUN! USA lost. Apparently they couldn't see our enthusiasm through the TV.

My beautiful friend, Melissa, and her almost-husband, Payton (sp?) I am so blessed to be her Maid of Honor in December!!!

My lovely friend, Hannah, and her boyfriend, Jeremy :-)

Scott and I went with our friends to go see The Houston Orchestra at the Miller Outdoor Theater. The Miller is (obviously) an outdoor theater that hosts anything from drum shows, to high school plays, to orchestras! If you sit on "The Hill", you can watch the shows for free. The tickets for sitting under the covered awning are pretty cheap, though.

"The Hill" at Miller Outdoor. Notice the WIDE range of ages! You will see tiny babies, dogs, young 20's, and retired at the Miller Outdoor. Such a fantastic spot in Houston located at Herman Park.

Guess who finished my EASEL!!!! It is so beautiful!

Look how PERFECTLY it fits in with our house!! And, that blank canvas is up there to inspire me to paint. It worked. I have one on the way! Pictures soon, hopefully!! Mom, you can't have this one, though I am POSITIVE you will want it ;-)

Scott and I at the beach with our church group :-) The weekend was SO relaxing. I just read a book and walked through waves all weekend--perfection. Only minor burns because I am a bit of sunscreen freak.

We played the "Flip-Flop Game". Here's the gist: Everyone stands in a large circle around one flip-flop. One person is chosen to stand and "guard" the flip-flop. Everyone in the circle is trying to steal the flip-flop without getting tagged by the guard. You get tagged, you freeze for the rest of the game. It was really fun, but I'm not very good! (Notice how my friend, Christina, is stealing the flip-flop from between Eric's feet! Killer tactics!)

Pizza in town that night

followed by card games and karaoke! No, I did not sing. But look how seriously I was taking this game....

Scott was craving a "Southern" meal tonight, so we tag teamed it and made fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and buttermilk biscuits! It was SOOOO good!! Just look at that chicken taking an oil bath..... oh, such goodness.

The full spread. Notice the cow-print bowls; how appropriate!

The first bite.

Well, I have another awesome recipe to share with you! But, it is getting late, so remind me to post about it this weekend. I'll give you a hint: it involves the absolute fruit of the Texas summer: TOMATOES and it is inspired from the movie "Julie and Julia"..... any guesses??