#100HappyDays: Bruschetta bar birthday bash feast

Bruschetta bar birthday bash feast, June 28, 2014.
My Italian roots start to show when I throw a party. I obsess over the menu and usually plan way, way too many dishes with way, way too many ingredients and moving parts. As I favor easy-to-eat but time consuming to make small bites--jalapeno poppers, rosemary antipasto skewers, stuffed mushrooms--I'm always busy in the kitchen all day long before a party. (That's not really a complaint. The kitchen is one of my favorite happy places and there's nothing better than cooking for friends!)

When I saw photos of a "bruschetta bar" from What's Gaby Cooking, though, I abandoned my usual repertoire. Her idea is brilliant but simple--gather good meats, cheeses and spreads, toast bread, and let people go to town.

Of course there's still a good amount of leg work. The spring pea pesto with fresh mint and dry jack, and the roasted red pepper sauce and saffron tomato confit won't make themselves. But it's different work than piecing together appetizers and it can be done a day or two in advance.

Yours truly made the three spreads mentioned above (check out this bruschetta bar post for links to the recipes) as well as balsamic caramelized onions. The dishes were served with kalamata and black olives, marinated artichoke hearts, pre-made basil pesto, assorted cheeses (brie, goat, blue, jack, mozzarella), and a wide variety of cured meats (thank you Costco for those excellent sampler packs!). Although Gabby grilled pieces of bread, I went the mass production route and toasted slices under the broiler--both regular baguette and gluten free Udi's whole grain. (And speaking of gluten free, almost everything pictured above was fair game for my GF friends.)

All in all, I cannot wait to make this spread again soon!


1. 24 Hours of Happy
2. If loving a wheelbarrow is wrong...
3. A trip to the nursery
4. Transplants
5. Sweet peas
6. Cool as a...
7. A Butterfinger Blizzard
8. Happiness by the yard
9. Keeping the vampires at bay
10. Giving P.F. Chang's a run for its money
11. A little Spring snow in the Sierras
12. Communing with fellow comm nerds
13. Ladies' night
14. Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe, New Mexico
15. The shredded cedar fitness plan
16. Baby's first Easter
17. Bathmat runways
18. Oasis in progress
19. My kind of Easter egg hunt
20. Mass cookie production
21. West Coast Formation Clinic 2014
22. West Coast Ravens, smoke on!
23. West Coast Formation Clinic All Up
24. Colorful, if not magical, beans
25. Stinking roses
26. Noodle salad
27. Tomato mania
28. Real smiles
29. Conquering cross-wind landings
30. Gypsy chickens and birthday celebrations
31. Conjuring a rainstorm
32. Bountiful boxes
33. The reluctant birthday boy
34. Copper poppies
35. Caprese chicken magic
36. Moms love waffles
37. Hearty soup for a hot "summer" day
38. A friend of the library
39. Talking Above the Fray
40. Go, go gadget green beans
41. Clinking frapps
42. Berries and bosom friends
43. Little red ZHP
44. Scratch pasta goodness
45. The sweetest final ever
46. A beautiful birthday girl
47. Mac & cheese for breakfast
48. Seattle sunshine
49. Spectacular Seattle
50. Rocking the International Communication Association convention
51. Veggie box
52. A bumper plant
53. Unusually tasty vegetables
54. My poor Corolla-mobile
55. Anti-fashion
56. My lovelies
57. Super soaker
58. Because you can never have too many tomatoes
59. Civic participation
60. Above the Fray's first advisory board meeting
61. Adventures in babysitting
62. Succulents
63. Golden West Airshow
64. Another use for research handbooks
65. Squish
66. Minnie made me do it
67. It's good to be king
68. Quilted wisdom
69. Flying on Friday the 13th during a full moon
70. Baby's first swim
71. The science of peanut brittle
72. First fruits
73. Flowers in the attic? No, boxes.
74. Best babysitter on earth
75. Shooting Star Hydrangea
76. Upcycling in the garden
77. Birthday shoe date
78. Preservation & Co. grand opening
79. Birthday time
80. Heart garden art
81. Summer flying over Sacramento
82. DIY outdoor lighting
83. Flying over the Sierra Foothills

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,