I am simply mad about appetizers - not upset, just obsessed. They are my absolute favorite thing to make. I believe it is the small package that packs brilliant flavor in one to two bites.
Last night my husband and I hosted a dinner party. One of the couples is relocating from the East Coast to the here in the West Coast. While they were out here for the week house hunting, we thought it would be fun to have them over for dinner and welcome them to beautiful Northern California. Once both couples arrived, we poured a glass of wine and toasted the couple relocating on finalizing their offer and soon becoming residents in the Bay Area.
Planning, preparing, cooking and hosting a dinner party are one of life’s little pleasures for me. The entire process is quite relaxing and let’s my creativity surge. Purchasing all of the ingredients the day prior is one of my tips on time management, since it leaves the entire day to simply cooking and preparation.
Just in case you are curious, here is my menu from last nights dinner party:
Sun Dried Tomato Jam Crostini
Pecan and Parmesan Dip with Endive Spears
Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Radishes, Carrots, Mint and Feta
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Coffee Rub and Rhubarb & Fig Chutney
Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Truffle Oil and Parmesan
Vanilla Ice Cream with Balsamic Macerated Strawberries
Thought I would share with all of you the Sun Dried Tomato Jam Crostini that I adapted slightly from Giada De Laurentiis. Enjoy!
Sun-Dried Tomato Jam
1 (8-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped, oil reserved
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. sugar
1/4 C. red wine vinegar
1 C. water
1/2 C. chicken broth
2 t. chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 2 tablespoon of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil, olive oil, onion, and garlic. Stir and cook until the onions are soft and beginning to brown at the edges. Add the sugar, vinegar, water, chicken broth, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and continue simmering until most of the liquid is reduced and the mixture is the consistency of jam, about 5 to 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
1 baguette, cut into 3/4-inch slices
1/4 C. olive oil
5 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Place the baguette slices on the baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the baguette slices with olive oil. Bake until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes.
Spread the crostini with Sun-Dried Tomato Jam and top with the goat cheese. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.