Toasty slices of bread topped with a a vibrant roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomato bruschetta, rich pine nut butter, and a goat cheese gremolata.
FYI, in “real life” seemingly endless tables of grains, beans, grilled veggies, dried fruits, nuts, and other such dreams come true don’t just appear in front of you at lunchtime.
Nor do ready-made strawberry rhubarb shrubs make the acquaintance of your pre-dinner self, cheese plates find themselves at your dinner table, nor do the best ice cream bars known to man present themselves to you as a midday snack.
Ain’t those some unfortunate truths?
I discovered this sad state of existence after living in such a nirvana, otherwise known as the Big Summer Potluck, for two and a half days. Picture a food blogger’s retreat(/conference) where the food is actually abundant and delicious and totally vegetarian-friendly and mostly good for you and you’re surrounded by people who totally get you and your compulsion to take photos of every item that crosses your lips.
You can imagine the extent of my dismay, then, when I came home and realized that I was, in fact, responsible for making dinner.
Such a buzzkill.
Or so I thought, until I picked up a copy of She Cooks, She Scores, a new cookbook that I had received to review, and was hit with mildly traumatic (yet utterly entertaining) dating stories alongside recipes that totally made my mouth water.
Buzz. Back to life.
The book is written by Jennifer Stoker, a personal chef who may have even more deranged dating stories than I do. And that’s really quite a feat.
When you open the book, you are instantly hit with her tell-it-like-it-is, semi-sarcastic personality, and if you pretend really hard you can almost imagine that the two of you are old friends gabbing over coffee instead of total strangers who are worlds apart.
Stoker pairs each anecdote with recipes that symbolize that specific time in her life, and they run the gamut from fairly traditional Italian comfort food (bolognese sauce) to more eclectic fare (barbecue-potato-chip-encrusted scallops). I chose to make something somewhere in the middle and ended up with these little toasts that were topped with layers of roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomato bruschetta, toasted pine nut butter, and a goat cheese gremolata. While this may not be the bruschetta you’re used to seeing on your summer table, it’s well worth giving a shot, as each layer plays off each other to make for the perfect bite.
And yes. I did serve it on English muffins. Apparently a baguette wasn’t going to magically appear from the grocery store all on it’s own (no matter how much I clicked my heels three times), so I improvised. And it worked.
All in all, She Cooks, She Scores was a lot of fun to go through, both for it’s entertainment value and for it’s intriguing recipe content. My one wish for it, though, is that the photos were better. A lot of them are blurry, dull, or were obviously taken with the flash, and as someone who thinks about how to make food look pretty on an almost daily basis, it broke my heart a little to see Jennifer’s delicious recipes minimized by the accompanying photos. Hopefully others will be able to look beyond this and see this gem for what it is – an entertaining cookbook/memoir that just happens to also have some super tasty treats between it’s covers.
- 1 baguette
- olive oil
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, drained
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- zest of 1 lemon
- Heat oven to 375.
- Slice the baguette into ¼-inch thick slices. Place slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until light golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, puree the roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, basil, 1 tbsp olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Set in fridge until ready to use.
- In a medium pan on medium-high heat, heat the pine nuts, and salt and pepper to taste. Shake the pan to agitate the pine nuts and toast until lightly brown. Remove from heat and cool on a plate. Place in food processor with 2 tbsp olive oil and blend until smooth, adding more olive oil as necessary to get a smooth texture. Season with salt to taste.
- In a small, separate bowl, crumble together the goat cheese, parsley, and lemon zest. Set aside.
- Place 2 tsp pine nut spread on each toasted baguette slice. Top with bruschetta mixture and cheese mixture. Serve immediately.
Beautiful! Bruschetta is one of my favorites!
This sounds delicious! And english muffin, baguette… hey carbs are carbs:-)
Next year I NEED to go to the big summer potluck!
A great honest review! Well written and a lovely recipe as well Joanne 🙂
Drooling! Gimmie….gimmie! Great review too!
This seriously sounds sooo good! I think I could eat it for breakfast…or heck, even dessert, ha. Yum!!
Thanks for a cookbook review. It sounds great, I’d love to read it, too!
Welcome home 🙂
Sounds like a good book and this meal is right up my street!
This looks very good. I wish I had a personal chef. 🙂
ah Joanne you alwsys make me laugh! and is true sometimes is terrible arrive home and have to make dinner!
anyway I love brushettad and your s look so good!
I am a bit shocked that you did not make your own English muffins from scratch… 🙂
just kiddin’ of course – I actually use English muffins a lot in my lunches. Usually not as fancy as your concoction, sometimes I just scramble 1 egg + 1 egg white, and top the muffin with it, a slice ot tomato to add some contrast.
The book seems interesting, but I think I’ll pass – I am running out of space to store my cookbooks, if you can believe it. I have quite a few on Kindle now, they have the advantage of arriving silently, so I don’t need to see Phil rolling his eyes to the ceiling whtn the mail arrives and with it the too obvious rectangular box. 😉
Hey Joanne, I could eat this for breakfast! I see you improvised with an english muffin, I have done that too sometimes. Love the recipe!
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A loyal fan of bruschetta…the goat cheese topping looks scrumptious!
This looks amazing – I think I could eat a goat cheese gremolata on just about anything
Oh my gosh Joanne! This looks amazing! Is there anything better than roasted red pepper with goat cheese? Probably not. Love!
gahhh i’ve been seeing goat cheese ALL over lately. i need to get my hands on some and make this, stat. yum!
i love how you improvised 🙂 and pine nut and goat cheese is such a delicious combination. I have only had them in salads but puree sounds might good.
that potluck sounds awesome!! and this also looks delish. great dinner to get you back cooking 🙂
I actually bought the She Cooks She Scores Cookbook, it is a fantastic book, well written, and absolutely hilarious. The recipes are amazing, and for someone who wrote this book on a dream with no budget, I think the book is as outstanding as the recipes!
This looks so good, I am sending it off to my sister who will love it as well!
ahhhhh such pretty, pretty food
I was following your Potluck experience via Instagram and maaannn was I jealous. It seemed like an amazing event, and I can understand it being tough to come home. That being said, what a wonderful meal to come home to!! I have to give this a try for myself sometimes, and by the way, the English Muffins are a great vehicle for this dish. Who needs baguettes??
I’m sorry life is so difficult for you that food doesn’t magically appear. But I’m thinking The Boy probably feels like food does magically appear now that he’s living with you.
Everything about this freaking speaks to me…LOVE the goat cheese gremolata especially. What an awesome idea!
I can imagine the tonnes of flavors in there….ROASTED red peppers, SUN-DRIED tomatoes, TOASTED pine nuts….:p
I love everything about this!
Wow! You have a different look than when I was here last! And I love it. =) And as usual, awesome-looking recipe.
okay the toasted pine nut puree is what is having me jumping out of my seat right now! Killer Creative!
This looks really yummy!
I thought those were English muffins. Wonder why that caught my eye? I must be weird! Anyhow, I am sooo making this. I will sub the cheese for some kind of vegan one. This just is my type of food. Perfect!
You had me at “goat cheese”. I’m addicted to the stuff.
This looks so good! I’m definitely going to have to make this soon!
I love cookbooks that incorporate some sense of humor into them. I have one also that I really like called Looneyspoons even the name is catchy 🙂 This bruschetta sounds fantastic, I love every ingredient in it!
I’m new to this blog and loved that you reviewed ‘She Cooks, She Scores’. Such a cool, fun read. I know nothing about food photography, but I have to admit that I LOVED the photos — both the food photos and family shots. Very well done.
You know, I think I’d like most bruschetta better if it were made with English muffins instead of rock-hard baguette slices. This sounds great! I love the richness of the roasted tomato and pepper.
The BSP sounds like a dream come true… But at least you can continue to enjoy beautiful dishes like this year ’round!
I cannot believe you still had the energy to come home and make something this beautiful Sunday night! It’s like a little romantic fancy-pants pizza-which I love and will be trying out for sure. Hope you are adjusting back to real life-I was also hoping for a magical cheese board to appear today at work, but, no such luck. 🙂
I totally agree with Shanon. I was spent on Sunday night and felt like doing practically nothing. BSP really does have the best food, and I wish I could have meals (and the awesome company) like that every single day.
I have a bunch of sun dried tomatoes looking for a recipe. I am never sure how to use them… and yet I buy them none-the-less. I’ll try this out.
Really had to laugh when I read “you’re surrounded by people who totally get you and your compulsion to take photos of every item that crosses your lips”! Your bruschetta look amazing. Paired with the quinoa and zucchini, a perfect meal! This is now bookmarked for summer dining. 🙂
You seriously rocked this recipe! Looks amazing. Your newly designed site looks great!
Ohh, this looks so delicious! I would just love the spread for a nice, big fat veggies sandwich ro for dipping veggies in. I need t make this! I have everything but the baguette! Probably a good thing, because i would eat the whole baguette!
Go girl. I definitely went out to eat Sunday night- having not even a little desire to get cooking. This looks so fresh and delicious though! I love the word gremolata!!! 🙂
What a fun review, I have a major cookbook obsession and am always looking for new options to check out! This bruschetta sound amazing, and I *love* your use of english muffins!
G’day! I have been in a bruschetta craze lately, true!
Don’t know if it’s the weather, but yours like mmmmmmm and as you mentioned different too!
LOVE viewing and reviewing cookbooks …fun as can be!
I have already sent people your blog with today’s posted recipe!
I haven’t had bruschetta in ages!
Ugh, I love toast for dinner. If there is good bread (or muffins or rolls or flatbreads) then they’re on my plate at dinner!
Awesome reviews! And this bruschetta – yes and yes! I love anything involving roasted red peppers!
Your pictures here are making me swoon. Seriously, this is restaurant quality, but better!
Woah!! Beautiful!! I love these too!
Wow -this sounds (and looks) so yummy and summery! Lovely with some wine out on the porch.
I like the new layout, Joanne.
And your dish looks totally delicious. Nice review….too bad the photos aren’t the best.
Sounds like a book I would love to read. And if all the recipes look this good, I definitely need to grab a copy!
I definitely need to get my hands on a copy of that cookbook! and I think I just stared at the first picture for the last 15 minutes haha, amazing!
Good for you on cooking after getting home on Sunday….I couldn’t do it and turned to delivery. This looks amazing! It was so great meeting you this weekend!! Let’s catch up soon!
Keep clicking those heels! And that pine nut butter sounds ridiculously amazing. I’m going to keep that in mind for next time pine nuts are on special…..
this is a super pretty and sophisticated dish, joanne. nicely done.
Love that goat cheese gremolata! This is a great way to eat bruschetta. Delicious!
The potluck looked like lots of fun! Looks like you got back into the swing of things in “real life” pretty well – my mouth is watering over here!
I love roasted red peppers, plus you added sun dried tomatoes so I’m in one happy place! Yum!
Another huge hit at the dinner table tonight, thanks to Ms. Joanne! I made this and the zucchini basil crouton recipe that follows, and it was all devoured by a delighted husband and daughter. I opted to serve this on the English muffins instead of baguette, as it gave a a more homey and rustic feel. What a fabulous combo of flavor and texture! I’m already thinking about the little bit of leftover gremolata on a piece of toast in the morning, maybe with a little drizzle of honey?
I love red peppers! And this recipe is just like what I want for dinner tonight.
Thank you for sharing Joanne! Cheers!
I always love those foodie type conferences, it’s like being with “our people” that get us 😉
I hate remembering that life and divine providence do not supply ready-made hummous and crackers platters in our fridges. I want my mom.
I am Jen’s mom and I smiled the whole time I was reading your review and responses. Thank u all for such positive feedback. I know my daughter is very talented never a doubt but seeing all these responses was music to a mothers ears.
This is better than perfect! All of my favorite flavors in this amazing recipe, I love it 🙂
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