December 6, 2012

Three Perfect Party Crostinis {Naptime Entertaining}

Three perfect party crostini Tonight is Mom’s Night Out! Woot! Of course, this year this doesn’t carry the same meaning it usually does. But I’ll take whatever mid-week break I can get during the holiday season. Celebrating with friends is always up my alley, even if it means sipping my Elderflower Presse and being the designated driver. For my contribution to the little potluck we’ll be having at Maura’s house I am bringing a trio of party crostinis. I LOVE taking crostinis to parties because they are so easy to prepare ahead of time, they travel well, and everyone always appreciates a party nibble that can be eaten in two bites or less.

One of the things I like most about crostini is that there are nearly endless ways to make them. They can be topped with almost anything you are in the mood for so long as it can be secured to a piece of toasted bread. For this party I dreamed up two new flavors based on my current cravings for salty (pasteurized) cheeses  – Goat Cheese with Candied Walnuts & Thyme, and Gorgonzola with Balsamic & Fig – and also used the delicious recipe for Ricotta with Caramelized Onions, Honey & Sea Salt from my book. This trio, all vegetarian since a lot of my friends don’t eat meat, is served at room temperature and are perfect for pairing with the bubbly for a little Moms Night Out celebration or any festive holiday occasion.

Recipe

Three Perfect Party Crostinis: Goat Cheese with Candied Walnuts & Thyme, Gorgonzola with Balsamic & Fig

Ingredients

Goat Cheese with Candied with Walnuts & Thyme

1 baguette sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
1 large log (8 ounces) plain goat cheese, at room temperature
2 cups candied walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons fine sea salt

Gorgonzola with Balsamic & Fig

1 large baguette sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
1 ½ cups crumbled gorgonzola
1 cup fresh figs, finely chopped
1 tablespoon high quality balsamic vinegar

Ricotta with Caramelized Onions, Honey & Sea Salt – you have to buy my book for that recipe :)

Instructions

1. For the Goat Cheese & Walnut Crostini: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the baguette slices on the baking sheet and bake them for about 10 minutes, or until they are lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. While they are baking place the goat cheese in a mixing bowl and whip it until soft using a hand mixer or a stand mixer. The cheese should be smooth and creamy. Once the bread rounds have cooled swipe each one with a layer of the goat cheese, then top with a chopped walnuts, and a few drops of the good olive oil. Sprinkle the fresh thyme leaves, and sea salt over the tray of crostini once each once is assembled. Transfer the crostini to a serving tray and enjoy!

2. Gorgonzola with Fig & Balsamic: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the baguette slices on the baking sheet and bake them for about 10 minutes, or until they are lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet. Turn the broiler to High. Once the bread rounds have cooled top each one with even amounts of the gorgonzola and chopped fig. Return the rounds to the oven under the broiler and WATCH THEM CAREFULLY. Do not leave the oven. Even for a second. After about 1 or 2 minutes the cheese will melt a little and begin to turn golden brown. Once the tops of the cheese and the sides of the bread rounds have turned golden brown remove them from the oven. A broiler differs from oven to oven and your cheese can go from golden to burned in a matter of seconds so it is critical that you watch it carefully. Sprinkle a few drops of balsamic vinegar over each crostini while they are still warm. Transfer to a serving platter and enjoy. They can be served warm or at room temperature.

 

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

These tasty crostini recipes are a perfect take-along appetizer this holiday season. If you want to change them up a little bit try using fresh whipped feta instead of goat cheese in the first recipe, and you can always use blue cheese if you can’t find gorgonzola.

Naptime Stopwatch

20 minutes prep time (per crostini recipe), 10 minutes bake time

Naptime Reviews

The other beauty of crostini is that there are never any left to bring home. I left some at a friend’s house once and she told me she ate a few of them the next morning for breakfast with fried egg on top!