Crostinis and Cocktails

June 27, 2013 § 1 Comment

I’m so inspired by the creative Crostini recipes out there today.  When I finally had a chance to read the June edition of Bon Appétit it quickly became the topic of my next blog post.  And this weeks fresh pick veggie box from Irv and Shelly’s had me searching for a pea shoot recipe.  So much for giving up BREAD…haha.

I know I’ve blogged about Pimms before, but so many tasty cocktail recipes for this summer using this delicious beverage of choice.

Crostinis and Cocktails make a meal!


Crostini with Balsamic Strawberries, Ricotta & Pea Shoots

15 baguette slices
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
grated zest of 1 lemon
pea shoots
sea salt
black pepper

Arrange baguette slices on bake sheet.  Brush with olive oil.  Place in a preheated 350*F oven.  Bake until golden, about 7 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.
Combine strawberries with balsamic vinegar and set aside.  In a small bowl combine ricotta and lemon zest. Spread ricotta mixture on baguette slices.  Top with pea shoots then strawberries.


Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Local Beets Crostini

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup cheese, grated and separated in half
1 beet
1 red onion
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 baguette
1 tablespoon olive oil
a pinch of nutmeg (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Set your oven to 375 degrees. Slice your baguette in half, reserving one end for the crostini. Cut the other end into cubes and then process into bread crumbs and set aside. Boil your cauliflower florets in a pot of salted boiling water for 5-6 minutes until tender but still firm. Drain out the water. In a medium pan, melt two fo the four tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour. Stir for two minutes until thoroughly combined. Stir in the milk and bring to a boil. Once boiling, continue to cook until the liquid has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, nutmeg and half cup of grated cheese. Pour about 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Add in the drained cauliflower and top with the sauce. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and the rest of the cheese.  Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter and pour on top. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes.

Cut your baguette into slices and toast in the oven. Shred your beet and red onion and toss together in a mixing bowl with chopped parsley, lime juice, salt and pepper. Once the bread is toasted, spoon the beet mixture on top and serve alongside gratin.

Breakfast Crostini

1 pint/tub bocconcini, small bites fresh mozzarella in water
1 slice, 1/4-inch thick slice prosciutto
1 pint multi-colored baby or grape tomatoes or red grape tomatoes
4 thin scallions, whites and greens, trimmed
A handful basil leaves, thinly sliced
A handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices peasant bread

Halve the cheese bites and add to a serving bowl. Finely dice the ham, then halve the tomatoes and add to bowl with the cheese. Thinly slice the scallions and herbs, add to the bowl and dress salad with a liberal dose of olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste. Char the bread in a hot oven or under the broiler and serve with the salad for topping.


Crostini with Tuna Tapenade

10 to 12 ounces canned or jarred Italian tuna packed in olive oil
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing bread
1/3 cup Italian mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
36 slices French bread, cut diagonally

Drain all but a tablespoon of olive oil from the tuna and then flake the fish into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the anchovy paste, thyme, parsley, lemon zest, and garlic and pulse a few times. Add the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and the mascarpone and process until almost smooth. Add the olives, capers, salt, and pepper and pulse just to incorporate. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat a gas or charcoal grill or preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the bread lightly on one side with olive oil. Grill the crostini on both sides until lightly browned or arrange the bread on a sheet pan and bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.

Mound the tapenade on each toast, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.


White Bean Tapenade

1 15-ounce can white beans (such as cannellini or Great Northern), rinsed, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pitted mixed olives, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon thinly sliced lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 baguette (for serving)

Toss beans, olives, parsley, oil, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a medium bowl; season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Serve tapenade with baguette.

DO AHEAD: Tapenade can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill; bring to room temperature before serving.


Cherry and Plum Bruschetta

2 red plums or nectarines, halved, pitted, thinly sliced
1 cup cherries, pitted, halved
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for drizzling
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
1/2 baguette, sliced 1/2-inch thick, toasted

Combine plums, cherries, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon oil, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (reserve pod for another use) or add vanilla extract; toss to combine. Let macerate just until fruit begins to release juices, 10–15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk ricotta and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a medium bowl until smooth.

Drizzle toast with oil, spread with ricotta mixture, and top with fruit. Drizzle with more oil, if desired, and juices from bowl. Sprinkle with salt.


Cucumber Pimm’s Cup

2 cups prepared lemonade
1 large cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 cup Pimm’s No. 1, chilled
1 cup ginger ale, chilled
6 cucumber spears (optional)
Mint leaves (optional)

Combine prepared lemonade and cucumber slices in a large pitcher. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Add Pimm’s and ginger ale to pitcher. Pour 1 cup mixture into each of 6 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with cucumber spears and mint leaves, if desired.


The Modern Martini

Cilantro-Lime Gin
2 tablespoons sugar
1 750-ml bottle London dry gin
3 cups fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
8 lime twists or rounds

Combine sugar and 2 tablespoons hot water in a large jar, cover, and shake until sugar is dissolved. Add gin, cilantro, and lime juice (save gin bottle for finished product). Cover and chill 2 days. Strain into a medium bowl; discard cilantro. Pour cilantro-lime gin back into reserved bottle.


For each cocktail, pour 3 ounces cilantro-lime gin into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Cover; shake until cocktail shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with lime.

DO AHEAD: Cilantro-Lime Gin can be made 1 month ahead. Keep chilled.


Little bites bring people together and with so many fresh flavors of summer how can you go wrong.

crostini  (krɒˈstiːniː)

pl n

pieces of toasted bread served with a savoury topping

[Italian: literally, little crusts]

Make sure to grab a baguette on your next food shopping trip and viola…you can turn it into something spectacular!




§ One Response to Crostinis and Cocktails

  • Suzanne says:

    Love that you are blogging again! I always want to be a guest at your house for a meal or three. Love Pimms! Will have to try soon. In louisville at my sisters. XOXO S

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