Thursday, September 26, 2013

Roasted Tomato Bruschetta with Whipped Goat Cheese + Freshly Grated Parmesan

Roasted Tomato Bruschetta with Whipped Goat Cheese + Freshly
Grated Parmesan
Isn't it so crazy how fast time flies? I mean, every day it seems like each hour passes so slowly, but then you wake up, and it's next year. Does anybody else feel like that or is it just me? I feel like I have been catapulted with slingshot across time, and in an instant, I can't even remember why I feel like I have whiplash. This week has kind of been like that for me. I slowly started to feel like my old self again, got out of bed, worked out, hung out with a friend, showered, cooked a little, and just did, well, normal shit. After going through periods of being extremely ill for months at a time, over a period of four years, and slowly crawling my way out of it each time, days like today I can never take for granted. I never took pride in the fact of being the person who I am. I always envied those people who lived in the moment, took chances, and didn't care what other people thought of them. I so wanted to stop plowing through the list of things I had to get done for the day, not just because I wanted too, but because that was what I was supposed to do. Up until the age of 21, I almost sold my life to playing soccer, so much so, I missed out on a lot of activities all kids should experience. At the time, it was worth it... going to practices sometimes 2-3 times a day, from 4PM until dark, slaving away, over + over, traveling out of town for tournaments every weekend and during most holidays. Don't get me wrong, I loved every minute of being with those girls, but it was something that was just always... expected of me. I can barely recall any specific memories of those days, but it consumed my entire being. It got me into college at the University of Alabama and I can't be grateful enough. But suddenly on the first day of pre-season, my soccer career had ended. Immediately, I was catapulted again into an entirely new arena of living. What is my next step? What do I want to be when I grow up? Who I am? Am I going to make it alone? What do I do? Naturally, I threw myself into my schoolwork. Although, I had never cared much about making good grades, if I studied, I was a great student. So, I chose to study Nursing while at 'Bama and, once again, excelled. I had almost a 4.0 GPA, made all the academic achievement lists, and managed to have a pretty damn good social life. Then bam, health problems galore. One after another, whiplash after whiplash, I slowly watched something I had worked so hard for start to slip away... again. Being bed-ridden for so long, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. You learn whether you're a fighter or one who cowers in the corner. You inherently become a pessimist or an optimist, either of which, people love or could possibly hate. You learn who loves you, cares for you, and sticks by your side, even in the darkest of times. Besides watching Netflix all day long, I scoured the internet and became enthralled by food blogs. Their creativity, their gorgeous pictures, their amusing stories... it was all-inspiring. It just clicked, and so I began to cook. I had helped out in the kitchen before, but hadn't done much, and knew barely anything when it came to food. Cooking became an outlet for frustration and also for fun. At the time, I wasn't even allowed to eat anything, yet I managed to create meals and dishes for my family and friends that they loved, and seeing that enjoyment was fulfilling enough. Once I was cleared to eat and I could see the color begin to return in my face and my body, I got more + more creative, even developed my own sense of style + point of view. And now here we are today, I'm that girl. The one that host parties, cooks every dinner, makes birthday cakes, develops secret recipes, fucks up some, and succeeds a good bit. It's so soothing, finally. This whole timeline flashed before me on Tuesday, as I sat across from my young niece trying to blow out her birthday candles on the cake I had made her. She has her whole life ahead of her, and just a day before, I thought I was in her shoes. And I'm not, I'm here. I made it. I found what I truly love to do, AND before my mid-life crisis. That's probably my biggest accomplishment so far (besides finding the man of my dreams), and ya know what, I'm proud of it, I'm proud of it all. This blog, these recipes, they are a labor of love. Will y'all help me celebrate it? Even though Summer has said its' goodbyes and gone into hiding, I took one of our favorite dishes that we enjoy during that time, Bruschetta, and gave it a little touch of Autumn. Instead of fresh heirloom tomatoes, sweetened + ripened by the hot sun, I roasted some cherry tomatoes in the oven until they were concentrated with so much flavor. There is just something about roasting vegetables that "screams" fall to me, no? Yep. The tomato topping is finished with all the classic ingredients, but taken over the top with a bunch of roasted garlic. Finally, I fried some bread rounds in olive oil and spread the crusty tops with some homemade whipped goat cheese and a big 'ole spoonful of the good stuff. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan and you have a crowd pleaser. I know this because my two year old niece had about three; it was impressive, nonetheless. So maybe, just maybe, this bruschetta got me out of my funk. I hope it can warm your soul through 'n through, like it did ours. Enjoy y'all :)

For the Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:
2 Pint of Rainbow Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
Olive Oil, For Drizzling
Fresh Thyme or Fresh Rosemary
Fleur de Sel & Fresh Cracked

For the Roasted Tomato Topping:
Prepared Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
½C Shallot, Finely Chopped
8 Roasted Garlic Cloves, Minced
½C Fresh Basil, Chiffonade (plus a little extra for garnishing if you like)
1T Olive Oil  
1T Red Wine Vinegar + 1T Balsamic Vinegar
¼t Crushed Red Pepper Flakes + Dried Oregano
Salt & Pepper, To Taste (and a pinch of sugar for sweetness)

For the Bruschetta:
Prepared Tomato Topping
Homemade Whipped Goat Cheese, For Spreading
Thick Slices of Country Bread
Olive Oil, For Frying
Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1. For the Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and toss the tomatoes lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them out in one even layer on a baking sheet. Roast the tomatoes for 30-40 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft, caramelized, and starting to char. Set them aside until ready to use.
2. For the Tomato Topping: Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until everything is incorporated. Let the mixture sit at room temperature to allow the flavors to meld.
3. Heat about 1 inch of olive oil in a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Fry the slices of bread in the oil until golden brown & crispy, about 2 minutes on each side.
4. Assembling the Bruschetta: Spread the fried bread with a layer of whipped goat cheese, roasted tomato topping, basil Chiffonade and freshly grated Parmesan. Enjoy immediately.


  1. I think thisbis why ie love reading your blog! You are so real and through your writing bring your readers into yourife. (I hope you want us there) I too was saved by cooking at one point in my life. and finding your blog last summer got me through recovery from surgery. I always look forward to your recipes and make them at least once a week if not more, I haven't gotten to cooking all your recipes like I set out to do at the start of the New year, but I have cooked a lot of them. my family will ask when I make something new,"is this from Juliana?" I smile and say "yes" with satisfaction and pride.
    I am looking forward to the new blog. thank you once again for your inspiration, I can't say that enough.

    1. Thanks for the support, Miss B. Sorry I have been MIA with not posting any of my recipes as of lately, I am just so busy. I hope to post one tomorrow. I need to get back into the swing of this :) I am super glad to have my loyal followers by my side as I find my way through this adventure as well!


  2. Oh yeah, the above comment is from Miss B!

  3. Question??? You posted once that your blog had a Facebook page, I can't find it:(Can you post again what its under in the name so I can search it? Thank you much,
    Miss B

    1. You should be able to search for the page, but if not, this is the link that appeared when I clicked on it from my own page...

      Hope that helps!