Get a Job & Grilled Tomato Crostini

supermarketMy father loves to tell everyone about the role he played in my brother’s first job. John was fourteen or maybe fifteen and Dad was determined that his youngest child and only son join the ranks of the employed. My sister and I had been through it. Both my parents believed that working would build character and teach us responsibility. Whether it did or not, can you blame them? Who in their right mind wants a teenager hanging around all summer complaining about boredom?

A few days before the long Memorial Day weekend, Dad decreed a trip north. We grew up in the suburbs west of Boston but there was never any question of donning red visors and working at the local golden arches. Like his sisters before him, John needed to find a job close to the family summer/ski house in New Hampshire.

John’s job wasn’t the only thing on his mind. While his son’s employment was his primary goal, Dad was also looking forward to his first golf game of the season. In addition, the trip gave him an excuse to check on his middle child and freeloading tenant. I’d just finished my junior year of college and had been in New Hampshire for two or three weeks. I’d stumbled into a cushy job at the College Sport Shop the previous summer and was back selling swimsuits and t-shirts.

Although I wasn’t there, I can guess the gist of the father-son discussion on the drive up 89 on Friday night. After all, I’d received the same pep talk and instructions a few years earlier.

Anyway, Dad had a simple plan. There would be no lying around in bed on Saturday morning. By nine o’clock, he’d have the car loaded with golf clubs, John and his bicycle. Then, he and Mom would drop John and bike at Cricenti’s. Combed, clean and standing straight, John would enter the supermarket, find Mr. Cricenti and politely ask for a summer job.

With some trepidation, John asked, what he should do if Mr. Cricenti turned him down. The answer? Well, that’s where the bicycle came in. If the supermarket didn’t hire him, he was to ride his bicycle from one end of town to other, stopping at every restaurant, shop and gas station along the way to ask for a job. And if everyone turned him down? Simple, start over.

Never ones to hover, my parent would be out of the parking lot and headed to the golf course before John got through the supermarket’s automatic doors. In today’s world of helicopter parents, we fondly refer to Mom and Dad’s nonchalant methods as the school of negligent parenting. I don’t remember running with scissors but, after a certain age, we were encouraged to go outside and play. (Read: we were kicked out of the house and told to stay outside until the streetlights came on). Cell phones were decades away but tetanus shots were kept current and all the mothers in the neighbor kept an eye out. We couldn’t get away with too much and help was never all that far away.

Since Cricenti’s hired lots of bag boys, John needn’t have worried. Within an hour, he was in and out of the store, gainfully employed and due to start as soon as school got out.

Here’s hoping that you’re never bored this or any summer and bon appétit!

Grilled Tomato Crostini
This very simple appetizer is simply delicious! Enjoy!
Stock up on tomatoes and make as many as you and your friends can eat!

grilled_tomato_crostini_03Ciabatta or a nice hearty country bread, sliced
Firm tomatoes, from medium to minis – various sizes and colors
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Olive oil
Garlic cloves, halved
Basil oil (recipe follows)
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)

Preheat the grill to high. If using cherry tomatoes, soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes or more.

Cut medium tomatoes in half, keep cherry tomatoes whole. Put the tomatoes in a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Thread cherry tomatoes onto the wooden skewers.

Grill the ciabatta until nicely browned, about 30 seconds per side. Rub the warm bread with the garlic halves. Place the tomatoes on the grill. Larger tomatoes should start cut side down. Grill for 3 minutes, turn and grill 2-3 minutes more or until soft with nice grill marks.

Remove the tomatoes from the grill and place directly on the grilled bread and drizzle with basil oil. Using a vegetable peeler or a course grater, make shavings from the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, sprinkle on the tomatoes and serve.

Basil Oil
2 cups packed basil leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Fill a bowl with ice and water.

Blanch the basil in boiling water for 10 seconds, drain and immediately plunge the leaves in the ice bath. Remove the basil from the ice water, drain well and pap dry.

Put the basil, oil and salt into a blender or small food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to a glass container, cover and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature or several hours in the refrigerator before serving.

If making in advance, bring to room temperature before serving. The flavor intensifies if you let the oil sit overnight. Store any extra basil oil in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Drizzle the oil on fresh or grilled vegetables and use it in vinaigrettes.

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One Year Ago – Strawberries with Yogurt Cream
Two Years Ago – Watermelon & Feta Salad
Three Years Ago – Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Basil Aioli
Four Years Ago – Mediterranean Shrimp
Five Years Ago – Grilled Hoisin PorkOr Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What was your first summer job? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2014

5 thoughts on “Get a Job & Grilled Tomato Crostini

  1. Great summer-job story. I knew better than to ever say I was bored–Mom promised she’d find something for me to do. I’d high-tail it out of the house with a book to read.


    • Thanks Patti. Whether it was mowing lawns, babysitting, washing dishes, scooping ice cream or carrying groceries – all the kids in the neighborhood seemed to get jobs by the time they were 14 or 15. It was fun and earning a little spare cash was not bad either. I think there must be a special place in heaven for anyone who hires and manages teenagers. Take care, Susan


  2. I have been employed since I was 14 (not at the same job!) so I’ve never known what it is like to be unemployed. I think having a job teaches you to be good with money and that money doesn’t just appear from nowhere. Since I started working, I have always been independent, not asking my parents for money ever. I’m 30 now and I think my mum is secretly a little sad I am so independent.

    Tomatoes are out of season here in the cold southern hemisphere, but for some reason we still have peppers (capsicum). I bet this recipe would be just as yummy with peppers.


    • Genie – Thanks for stopping by. I agree – working can be a great confidence builder for kids. They learn to interact with all kinds of people – bosses, customers and fellow-workers as well as learn skills they won’t find in school books.

      Our tomatoes are just starting and we are in heaven. Grilled peppers are also good on crostini – try them with goat cheese.

      Take care – Susan


      • Confidence booster for sure. The more people you interact with people, the easier it is to deal with many kinds of characters.

        I remember being deathly shy of strangers as a kid. I would never talk to someone I didn’t know. My first big hurdle was when I was given a list of about 100 names and numbers. I had to phone to confirm they were happy with the service. I think I was 14 or 15 at the time and I didn’t want to do it. I tried to get out of it but the person who allocated the job to me forced me into it.

        t was shaking and nervous but in the end it was fine. They were lovely, lonely people that just wanted to chat.

        Now that I’m an adult, I sometimes have to deal with intimidating people. Dangerous gang members, high strung clients, super wealthy clients etc. I would never have been able to do it without some practice.


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