Try these this New Year's Eve!
Balsamic Onion Bruschetta with Roasted Red Peppers and Basil
Balsamic Onion Bruschetta with Roasted Red Peppers and Basil
These appetizers are crowd pleasers, even for the skeptical. A perfect balance of tangy, savory and fresh tastes will have you and your guests reaching for more. You’ll make three separate components to assemble before serving. I recommend making the red pepper-basil topping a few hours ahead of time on the same day of serving. The extra is delicious in an omelet with a bit of goat cheese. The balsamic onion mixture and the crostini freezes well and can be made in larger quantities to have on hand.
Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
For the balsamic-onion mixture:
4 large (about 8 cups) yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the red pepper-basil mixture:
1 10-ounce jar roasted peppers, drained well and chopped
1/4 cup parsley, washed, dried and chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, washed, dried and chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
For the crostini:
1 loaf of a good quality baguette
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Make the balsamic-onion mixture
1. Sautee onions in a large non-stick skillet with butter and olive oil over medium high heat until translucent, about 7 to 8 minutes, making sure to stir frequently.
2. Turn heat down to medium low and add garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook, stirring frequently until liquid evaporates and onions caramelize to a golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Return to medium high flame. Add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir as needed to keep from burning.
4. Reduce heat and continue to cook until mixture becomes thick and dark brown in color. Remove a tiny portion with a fork, cool and taste for seasoning. It should be a bit tangy and savory.
5. Cool and reserve in refrigerator, or freeze. Note: You may have extra after you assemble the bruschetta. Feel free to freeze any extra for a later use.
Make the red pepper-basil mixture
6. Mix red peppers, parsley, basil, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of salt in a bowl and taste for seasoning. You want it to be savory and balanced with just a hint of acidity and a prominent basil flavor.
Make the crostini
7. Preheat oven to 250°F. Place rack in the middle of the oven.
8. Slice the baguette on a bias with a bread knife, into approximately 1/4-inch slices or desired thickness. If baguette is large, cut slices in half with a pair of kitchen scissors.
9. Spread the halved slices in a single layer on baking sheets and brush generously with olive oil.
10. Bake until thoroughly golden and crunchy, about 30 to 40 minutes depending on thickness and size of slices, turning once if needed.
11. Remove from the oven and cool completely. If oily, drain on paper towel. Store in airtight container and freeze until day of use.
Assemble the bruschetta
12. Using a fork, twirl a portion of balsamic-onion mixture and slide onto crostini slice, making a mound.
13. Make a depression with the fork in the mound. Top the onion mixture with a spoonful of red pepper-basil mixture.
I always make more than I need and enjoy leftover asparagus chopped up in a quiche, omelet, or sprinkled atop my favorite salad. A note on cooking: I line my baking sheets with aluminum foil for ease of clean up. You may omit this step if you like.
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
2 bunches (about 32 ounces) of asparagus, washed, dried and bottoms snapped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black Pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425°F
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange a single layer of asparagus, tips pointing toward the center to fit two rows.
3. Drizzle generously with olive oil, rolling asparagus to coat. Season with salt and a pinch of pepper.
4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until desired doneness. (I like the asparagus to caramelize a little before removing from the oven.) Remove and cool to desired serving temperature. I like serving these room temperature or warm.
Kale Walnut Salad
This is my interpretation from Mana Restaurant. Gorgeous, healthy, and delish, this colorful salad will have you reaching for more.
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
For the salad:
2 bunches (about 4 cups) kale, washed, stemmed, and torn into large pieces
6 (about 2 cups) carrots, peeled, julienned, and steamed
3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup currants
Sesame seeds, for sprinkling
For the ginger-tamari vinaigrette:
1/3 cup rice vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime, about 1 1/2 tablespoons
3 tablespoons tamari
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons grated ginger root
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Make the salad
1. Steam kale in a large pot with a small amount of water and a metal basket over medium heat until tender, but still bright green. Set aside to cool.
2. Steam carrots in the same pot as the kale until tender.
Make the dressing
3. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a lid and shake to mix well.
Assemble the salad
4. Arrange kale on serving platter. Scatter carrots on top, then walnuts and currants. Sprinkle with sesames seeds as desired. There’s no right or wrong here–just make it your own. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing before serving and enjoy!
August 27th, 2015
Creating a recipe for guacamole is like saying there’s just one way to take your coffee—it’s highly subjective and there’s no right or wrong answer. It all depends on how you like it. Personally, I like simple guacamole—avocado, cilantro, lime, salt, garlic or shallot. Of course, you can always spice it up with a jalapeno or serrano chili. I prefer a chunky and creamy texture—not fully pureed. Make sure your avocados are ripe. Buy them ahead of time and leave them on the counter until they yield to a gentle pressure. Have fun tweaking this recipe or enjoying it as is.
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
6 ripe avocados, halved, seeded and scored in skin into 1/2- to 1/4-inch chunks
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced fine, or 3 tablespoons shallot or red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 2 limes, depending on amount of juice from each
Sea salt, to taste
Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
1. Scoop avocados into mixing bowl. Add garlic and half of the lime juice. Salt to taste (Hint on salting: imagine you’re sitting down with two halves of an avocado on your plate and want to salt them. I use fresh ground sea salt and add one twist for each half. If you’re unsure of the amount at first, remember that you can always add more salt, but can’t take it out.). Mix to desired texture and taste for seasoning. Add more lime juice and/or salt as needed. Voila!
Blair French’s approach to lifestyle is simple and sensible – a philosophy that is subtle, lasting, and authentically you -- and not dependent on extreme overhauls using someone else’s style.