Archive for the 'appetizers' Category

Garden Pea Crostini with Mint

Spring Greens Crostini

A completely divine dinner at Corso 32 (worth the drive from Calgary – for real) including spring pea crostini with ricotta salata, roasted pine nuts & mint, reminded me of the time I made such a thing, and how easy it was. And it occurred to me that some of you might have access to garden peas, and so sharing this now would be timely. Add arugula, lemon and Parmesan and spoon it over garlicky toasts; if you like, spread them thinly with soft goat cheese first.


When I make crostini – I know there are hundreds of ways to make little toasts – I like them garlicky, but don’t like rubbing each slice with a cut clove. So instead, I peel and lightly crush a clove of garlic and drop it into a small ramekin of olive oil – the garlic infuses the oil, so that when you brush it on the crostini, it’s nice and garlicky. (You’ll then find yourself pouring the garlicky oil into pans to saute things in, and think of a ton of other uses for it.)

Garden Pea Crostini with Mint

Adapted from Gourmet, May 2009.

1 baguette
olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled

1 cup shelled fresh garden peas, fava beans or edamame
2 cup baby arugula
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (or to taste)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
zest and juice of half a lemon
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a small bunch of fresh mint leaves

Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice the baguette on a slight diagonal into 1/3-inch slices; place on a baking sheet. Pour the oil into a small ramekin and place the garlic clove in it. Use the oil to brush on both sides of the crostini, then bake for 10 minutes, or until pale golden.

Meanwhile, bring about an inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan and cook the fava beans or edamame for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and run under water to stop them from cooking. If you’re using fava beans, peel off their tough outer skins.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the peas, arugula, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon zest and juice and garlic until well blended. If you’d like it smoother and looser, add more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Spoon the arugula mixture onto the crostini and top with small leaves of (or finely chopped) fresh mint. Serve immediately. Serves 10 or more.

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August 25 2015 | appetizers | 4 Comments »

Spiced Watermelon Hummus

Watermelon hummus 2

This is a combo I never would have thought to try. But when you buy a watermelon the size of a small animal, you start seeking out new uses for it – usually this is not a problem, as watermelon is a popular snack around here, and makes for a fine smoothie or all-fruit slurpee (its high water content makes it easy to puree) and I’ve been known to make a batch of watermelon-mint mojitos and watermelon lemonade. It turns out it makes a fascinating addition to hummus – it lightens it, making it taste fresh and almost juicy, rather than heavy and creamy from the olive oil and tahini.

Watermelon hummus 1

Not that there’s anything wrong with traditional hummus, of course – but I found the combination of fresh watermelon and cilantro and spices made it a brighter, summery version of the usual, and easy to plow through with thin tortilla chips on the patio with a pitcher of fruity sangria.

Spiced Watermelon Hummus

Adapted from

a few big chunks of watermelon
1 19 oz (540 mL) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 large garlic clove
1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice of half a lemon
1-2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4-1/2 tsp each cumin, coriander, ginger, paprika and turmeric (or 1 tsp curry paste)

finely diced watermelon, for garnish
extra fresh cilantro, for garnish

Puree everything in the bowl of a food processor until smooth. Garnish with the finely diced watermelon and a few extra sprigs of cilantro on top. Serve with tortilla chips or anything you like serving with hummus.

Makes about 2 cups.

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June 05 2015 | appetizers and vegetarian | 2 Comments »

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