That's SO Jenn / Jenn Press Arata
Any milestone in life wouldn't be complete without food, and so the story of getting engaged to Hubby holds true to that theory. This month marks exactly four years since he asked me, and there is still a piece of sliced bread being preserved in our freezer. Let me explain:
A few years ago, I took on the role of catering my now brother-in-law's graduation party and had been prepping my menu for days up. I made everything from scratch including the Jamaican beef patties per the request of the guest of honor, a creation I had never even heard of before.
Little did I know, my now husband had his own plan in the works. So when he went out for a pep talk with our mutual best friend the day of the party, I kindly asked him to pick up sliced Parisian bread for my bruschetta. After all the hours I put into preparing for the event, the last thing I needed was to waste time cutting up a baguette.
The party hour was approaching, but still no word from my soon-to-be fiance. I tried calling him and our friend, but their cell phones were not accessible. Finally, after worrying about his well-being and the whereabouts of the foundation for my appetizer, he walked in the door with mere minutes to spare before guests would arrive. I was relieved to see him on so many levels, and asked him for the baguette. He pulled out the bread, but it was not sliced. In his excitement to pop the question, he got caught up arranging the big moment and completely forgot the most important part of my request.
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Frustrated, I cut the bread myself, rubbed it with garlic, brushed it with olive oil and sprinkled it with parmesan before toasting it in the oven and greeting my parents. I topped the crostinis with the tomato, basil and balsamic mixture, sprinkled some finely shredded mozzarella on top and plated them.
Soon after my plates were served, my now hubby asked me to go for a walk outside. I was too hungry to go for a stroll (I really thought he knew better than to mess with a girl before she had eaten), I was finally persuaded. Over the pebbles and in front of the scenic mountains, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. The joy I felt in that moment filled me more than any meal ever could.
We realized no matter how diligently you plan a moment, from a simple dish to a life-altering engagement, it often happens that when you steer off course, you suddenly find your way. The imperfections and unscripted moments in life are what matter most, and give us the best memories to reflect on.
We then learned how much we relish in these times when we roll with the waves of the day, take the scenic route, stop to smell the roses, wish upon a star on a moonlit night and savor a conversation long after a meal....sliced bread or not.
1 Parisian baguette, sliced (wink, wink)
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
2 cloves of garlic
About 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
About 4 tablespoons olive oil plus some for bread
Handful of grated parmesan cheese
1 package Kraft fancy shredded mozzarella cheese
A few leaves of fresh basil, chiffonaded
A few shakes of Italian seasoning
Generous amount of garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover a cookie sheet with foil. Slice baguette into half-inch pieces or ask your grocer to prep it for you. Layer slices onto baking sheet. Cut garlic cloves in half, and rub cut side onto each slice of bread. Brush the bread with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
Slice washed tomatoes in half and pour them into a mixing bowl. Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper and parmesan. Mix well. For best results, allow the mixture to marinate ahead of time in the fridge.
Spoon tomato mixture on top of cooled slices of bread. Top with fancy mozzarella and garnish with fresh basil. Go with your significant other if they ask you to take a walk before you get to taste some.
Jenn Press Arata is a food writer and blogger. Visit her blog at thatssojenn.com. She also can be followed on Twitter, @thatssojennblog.