Now, unlike Julie, I didn't feel that way around my 30th birthday - 30 was a good year for me: I was happily married, pregnant with my first child, had a cute little house near the water, yes life was shiny and wonderful for me at age 30. Once I neared 40, however, it was a different story: marriage in tatters, one child in a grave, no prospect for employment after 10 years spent at home as a stay at home mom. Indeed. I am floundering and beyond lost. My life has been circling the drain since my husband left me in 2006. Cooking tasty food is almost the only outlet I have that gives me any pleasure anymore.
I rented the movie recently because I wanted to be inspired again. Those two women, Julie Powell and Julia Child also faced down some angsty life moments, but they seemed to conquer them. I guess I wanted reassurance that it could happen.
Ok, tangent over, now to the real point: When I was watching the movie, I was struck again by how absolutely luscious the food looked. That one scene near the beginning where Julie and her husband are eating a plate full of bruschetta had me salivating from the start. So yesterday, I whipped up my own version.
In case you've never seen the movie, you can see the marvelously mouth-watering bruschetta at the 1-minute mark in the trailer below.
- rustic artisan bread - ciabatta, rustic Italian, French- something with a crusty exterior, but still soft inside.
- 1 garlic clove, cut in half
- 1 heirloom tomato or a beefsteak/vine-ripened, hothouse tomato if it isn't quite tomato season yet
- fresh basil - 8 large leaves
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper
- shredded parmigianno
- Chop the tomato and put in a bowl.
- Drizzle with about 1 T olive oil and 2 t balsamic vinegar.
- Tear up 8 large leaves of fresh basil and toss in with the tomatoes
- Season with salt and pepper, and toss with a fork.
- Set aside to marinate for about an hour.
- After the tomato mixture has sat for about an hour, heat a skillet or heavy griddle over medium-high heat.
- Cut the bread into thick slices.
- Rub each side with half of a cut garlic clove.
- Pour some olive oil into a small bowl and with a pastry brush, smear the olive oil onto both sides of the bread.
- Place the oil-saturated bread in the hot skillet and toast until golden brown on each side, turning once.
- Remove from heat, plate, and top with the tomato-basil mixture, and sprinkle with freshly grated parm.
- Eat immediately while the bread is still toasty.
- In the movie, they used a variety of heirloom tomatoes- yellow, orange and red. Once my local Farmer's Market is in full swing with more fresh tomatoes, I'll be making this again with a wider variety of tomatoes.
- Susan Spungen, food stylist for the movie, gives the recipe for the movie version in an article in The Atlantic.
My version differs only in the addition of the balsamic vinegar to the marinating tomatoes and the grated cheese on top.
- If you want to cut a few calories, you can toast the slices of bread in the oven until browned instead of basically frying them in a skillet or on a griddle, but why would you want to do that? ;-)
- I used to be skeptical about the whole rub a cut garlic clove on the bread thing until yesterday when I realized that I could actually taste the garlic. I had no garlic in the tomato mixture at all and was using regular olive oil, not the kind infused with garlic. There was a definite hint of garlic in the final product -subtle and perfect, so I am totally sold on that.