Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crostini 1 and 2, Avocado Salsa in Endive Leaves

This is the time of year when I like to have easy snack foods available for company and for cozy movie nights. I'm an appetizer fan - the perfect meal for me is a collection of tasty bits on my plate. But I like them to be made from real food, not packaged things full of preservatives and chemicals.

I made these for the baby shower a few weeks ago and everyone seemed to like them. They hardly need recipes, but here's an explanation.

Crostini 1

Slice a baguette and brush each side with olive oil, then toast each side in the oven for a few minutes under the broiler until golden. Watch carefully - I've burned my fair share of these. Then spread some pesto on the bread and top with 1-2 teaspoons of fresh goat cheese, then a few shavings of rosemary ham (or whatever ham you like, prosciutto is good, too). Just before serving, bake for a few minutes to soften the cheese - 5 or 10 minutes at most, at 350 degrees.

Crostini 2

Prepare baguette slices as above, then top with tapenade. Make your own or buy it from a delicatessen. 
Serve as is, or top with a bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese and run under the broiler.

There were crostini leftover from the shower and I decided to try freezing them. It worked better than I'd hoped. Just freeze them in a single layer then seal them well. To reheat, place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until thawed and heated through. 

Avocado Salsa in Endive

Low-carb, dairy and gluten free, healthy, fresh. It's like eating a bit of salad in your hand.

Dice an avocado (or two), a tomato (or three), some red onion (finely dice), a jalapeno pepper if you're feeling adventurous. Mix it all together with salt and pepper to taste, add the juice of one lemon and pile into endive leaves. 

Enjoy! and for my American readers and friends - have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kale with Garlic and Blue Cheese

Kale is one of those pretty vegetables, all curly and deep green. It's surprisingly versatile, but we like it best simply sautéed, with seasonings and a bit of cheese, then baked for a few minutes. It makes a nice accompaniment to almost any dish - tonight it was bacon wrapped chicken with a balsamic marmalade glaze. That recipe needs more tweaking before putting it on the blog. So for now, it's just the kale.

Kale with Garlic and Blue Cheese

1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed and coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the kale and toss until it wilts down. Reduce the heat if you find the kale sticking to the bottom of the pan. Sauté for 3-5 minutes or until almost tender and still bright green. Add the garlic and continue sautéing for another 3-5 minutes. The kale should be tender but still chewy. Salt and pepper to taste, remembering that the cheese will add additional salt.

Spoon the kale into a shallow gratin casserole. Sprinkle with the blue cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 5 - 10 minutes. The cheese should be melted and slightly browning.

This can be prepared ahead and kept in the fridge before baking. 

serves 2-3