November 20, 2009 8:44 PM


A friend asked me, "What’s for dinner tonight," while we were haphazardly running alongside the Strawberry Creek from Barker Hall to Bancroft after attending a seminar about plant pathogen interactions given by Alexander M. Jones.

I quickly replied, "Bruschetta."

She stared at me for two quick seconds and innocently asked, "But didn't you have bruschetta for Thursday's and Wednesday's AND Tuesday's dinner?"

I laughed and responded with, "Yup. I'll take it one step further. Bruschetta was on the menu for Thursday's, Wednesday's, Tuesday's, Monday's, Sunday's and Saturday's dinner AND lunch."

"Uhhh... no green smoothie?"

"Is there a need to ask that question?"


"Green smoothies complemented the bruschetta during some lunches. LaraBars were for breakfast."

"Wow... dude Amelia, you are one strange girl."

"Hahaa… Thanks buddy. I'll take that as a genuine compliment."

To make matters more interesting, this 5 minutes conversation took place while fierce rain drops were relentlessly pelting every CAL student in sandals with no umbrellas like us two girls. And I mean PELTING. To illustrate, let's just say I was completely drenched (hopefully not in acid rain) by the time I unlocked my apartment door this afternoon.

So why bruschetta you may ask.

To thoroughly answer this question, I would need to talk about the Terry's Lab Thanksgiving Potluck last Saturday. As my two lab mates and I were harvesting our Puccinellia distan plants the afternoon before our potluck, the topic of what dish we were planning to bring came up. Being the person who is always eager to teach my friends how to make simple and easy foods (e.g. green smoothies); I eagerly explained a bruschetta dish I had in mind. Their interest quickly increased as I basically assured them it only takes three steps to make this easy dish. By the end of the hour, my girlfriends gave up trying to research for cooking recipes and asked if they could bring bruschetta to the potluck too. I enthusiastically said, "Definitely!"

To be fair, I actually did not know such goodness existed before my boyfriend shared his brilliant bruschetta recipe to me. With his permission, here is the abridged version of the email he sent me regarding how to make bruschetta:

You’ll need:

Bread: Olive pugliese [trust me, people at Berkeley Bowl will know what type of bread this is]. Remove ends, slice 1 inch thick and coat with....

Hummus: Berkeley Bowl has generic humus. You could even get the garlic one.

For the topping:
4 LARGE RIPE tomatoes.
Couple of basil leaves
Olive oil
Olive tapenade - ask them about this. They know what I’m talking about. This stuff is salty so be careful with it.

Here's a pretty good recipe:

Pugliese and hummus would be more than enough. Add to that some olive tapenade and you’ll have people smiling.

Next we gotta’ teach you how to make the topping. In short, chop up the tomatoes into thick 'cubes'. Put in a bowl and throw in a healthy splash of olive oil and some sliced basil and bam. There you have it. IMPORTANT: DO THIS ONLY A FEW MINUTES BEFORE SERVING.

Healthy additions: Into that simple mix I've also thrown in cabbage [believe you're a big fan of!] and avocado to make a tomato-slaw kind of thingee.

Since one lab mate was obligated to go to SF the morning of the potluck and my other lab mate lived ten minutes from UC Berkeley by car, I offered to make the bruschetta for all of us. They at first protested but I assured them that cutting up a couple more tomatoes won't be a big deal at all.

So after we finished with our harvest, we stopped by Berkeley Bowl for the ingredients. Before we entered the store, my lab mates basically told me that I need to tell them exactly what to do since they did not have the foggiest idea how to make bruschetta. Thus as their blind friend leading two blind helpers, we started a 2 hour shopping spree at 5:45 pm on a Friday night.

To save you the boredom of reading about our exhausting search for some strange Olive tapenade ingredient and the agonizing trouble we went through to choose perfect tomatoes, let’s just say that we left Berkeley Bowl with:

5 loaves of bread, 15 large (unripe) tomatoes, 3 bundles of basil, a 34 oz of extra virgin olive oil bottle (WHY Berkeley Bowl needs to carry A GAZZZILLION different kinds of EVOO is beyond my comprehension), 3 glass jars of questionable tapenade wannabes, and 3 family sized hummus containers.

I know I know. NOW you’re probably thinking that I’m one loco girl for suggesting that we buy so much food for a potluck of only 12 people. I have to admit, the art of shopping for groceries and clothes is just way too difficult for me to understand. In my defense, I figured that more is always better. I told myself that it would be bad if I risk the chance of letting people down by not having enough bruschetta. Just in case my lab mates end up falling madly in love with my bruschetta and ask for thirds, fourths or quite possibly sixths. Unfortunately, I never stop to think that Professor Terry will make sure sure there is going to be a plethora of food at the party. Or that everyone is planning to bring food...

It quickly became apparent that my ambitious bruschetta ‘cooking’ frenzy was a tad bit on the excessive side. But that was perfectly okay since I spoiled myself silly with delicious hummus and questionable tapenade wannabes for practically a week now! =)

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, maybe you too could whip up some bruschetta and share the goodness of this vegan dish with your family and friends!


do you like the happy face I made?


standard avocado garnish :)


PROUD chef

Amelia Nguyen | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (4)

Comments (4)

I want some when I get there!

Posted by Lisa | 2009-11-24

Very appetizing there Ms. PROUD chef. Would make any mama happy =)

Posted by the boyfriend | 2009-11-24

I dream of married of the girl who could cooked in a such a way...

Posted by Justin | 2010-02-04

I have to admit, the art of shopping for groceries and clothes is just way too difficult for me to understand.

Posted by Daniel | 2010-02-08

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