Winter is in full swing in the SF Bay Area with chilly temperatures, yet our encouraging rain fall in December has dried up. I am praying to the rain makers to let it pour soon. Butternut squash is one of those veggies that can be both sweet and savory. With my love of crostini, I thought I would make a fall/winter inspired crostini.
Monday, February 21, 2022
Roasted Butternut Squash Crostini
Makes 16 Crostini
2 c. Diced Butternut Squash
2 tbsp. Melted Butter
2 tbsp. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
16 Baguette Slices
Olive Oil for brushing bread
1/3 c. Pomegranate seeds or Dried Cranberries
1/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. olive oil
16 Sage Leaves, cut thin
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium baking dish combine the diced butternut squash, melted butter, brown sugar and salt. Mix together and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Using a fork, smash the butternut to a slightly chunky mixture.
Brush each of the baguette slices with olive oil and sprinkle the top of each with a touch of salt. Place onto a baking sheet and toast until lightly brown. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and turn over halfway during the cooking process.
To make the panko crumble, in a small sauce pan add 1 tsp of olive oil, panko bread crumbs and garlic powder and toss together. Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes until lightly brown.
To assemble, spread about 1 tablespoon of butternut squash on each crostini, top with pomegranate or dried cranberries, sprinkle with panko mixture and then a touch of the thinly sliced sage.
Monday, August 31, 2020
These Warm Spicy Honey & Bacon Figs are a quick tasty appetizer that takes minutes to make and will WOW your guests. Enjoy with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc for a perfect pairing.
Warm Spicy Honey & Bacon Figs
5 Fresh Figs, Cut in half with stem
12 One inch pieces of Bacon (2 to 3 slices of bacon)
3 Tablespoon Honey
2 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
Salt for garnish
Cut bacon into 1 inch pieces, then cook over medium heat until crispy, about 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside on a paper towel.
Leave 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pan and set aside the remaining. Add the honey, vinegar and red chili flakes. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes until combined.
Place each fig cut side down and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat.
Place each fig onto a pretty plate cooked side up. Add a slice of cooked bacon on top of each fig. Drizzle the honey vinegar syrup over the figs and sprinkle a bit a salt on each. Add additional red chili flakes if you like it spicier.
Sunday, April 19, 2020
I know, it has been WAY too long since I have been posting. I have been super busy and loving Instagram as my social media platform. With this super surreal time, it is hard to believe that we are dealing with a pandemic. I hope all of you are well and safe. Since the stay at home mandate was announced, I have been home cooking up a storm. One of my favorite things that I have made recently is Beer Bread.
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Welcome to Tasting Guide! A new blog series highlighting some of my favorite wineries. I can travel to most wineries within 75 minutes or less; so why not point a spotlight on these beauties of wine country.
Friday, August 30, 2019
Friday, July 12, 2019
There is something extraordinary about a perfect deviled egg. This week's Friday Night Bites certainly hit utopia in the deviled egg world for me. Literally for months, I have been working towards perfecting the hard boiled egg. After many, I mean many tries at getting the peel to not rip away the egg white layer or have small dents, I believe I have finally hit that plateau.
Friday, June 7, 2019
One of the best things about summer approaching is the white sweet corn from Brentwood! It is simply the sweetest and tastiest corn in the Bay Area. You know how I love a good crostini - well this week, I have a super tasty one that has the sweet white corn and avocado with a Mexican twist throughout.
Friday, May 31, 2019
I got the light just right. Yeah! I am practicing a new set up to take my food photo shots - in my living room. I have two large windows that I raise the blinds and reposition the furniture to set up my board and props. Last weekend we had rain off and on, which then darkened the sky. A dark sky is not good for photoshoots. Luckily for me, the rain passed and the light returned.
Friday, May 3, 2019
There is something completely satisfying about a deviled egg. Not quite sure what it is. It is an old school treat that has come back into vogue. I was chatting with a friend the other day and she said that one of her friends hosted a cocktail party with a deviled egg bar .... how cool is that?
Friday, March 8, 2019
Happy Friday Peeps! Life has been busy lately and trying to catch up on my blogging. Recently my friend Jean from Lemon & Anchovies was kind enough to host a photography meet up at her lovely home. I have long admired her photography skills and she generously offered to teach me some tricks of the trade. I learned about shooting manual mode and all about adobe lightroom. I must say that I was invigorated after spending the day together.
Monday, February 4, 2019
An inspirational trip to the farmers market resulted in this sublime roasted golden beet salad. Do you all get inspired when browsing through the market? Depending on the time of the year, different yields of types of vegetables and fruits. The winter has more rustic hearty vegetables that simply warm your heart and belly. I have always loved beets where I know others that simply can't stomach them. I believe it is how you prepare them and the recipe you use that creates a tasty dish.
Friday, January 25, 2019
Friday Night Bites - woo hoo! A perfect bite with all of the tasty elements wrapped into a 2 to 3 bite wonder. It has smoky, salty, sweet, creamy, crunchy, savory and herbaceous goodness. The other beauty to this appetizer is that it is easy to make. Trust me.
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Happy 2019! I know it has been a while since I have posted. Been a bit more active on Instagram and plan to make an authentic effort to blog more in 2019. Blogging still brings me joy and that is what it is all about. Speaking of joy - this salad brings me tremendous happiness. The combination of earthy, smoky, sweet and crunch is a perfect bite of joy.
Friday, October 5, 2018
A well engineered cocktail transports you to a different level. When you pair it with a nibble that is simple yet sophisticated, you have hit nirvana. As many of you know, I am simply obsessed with figs. This year I discover tiger figs at Trader Joe's and made 40 pint jars of my infamous Balsamic Fig Jam. I have discovered a passion and appreciation of a great cocktail. I decided to create a signature fig cocktail to celebrate the beginning of fall, since figs are the quintessential sign fall is around the corner.
Friday, September 14, 2018
I know it has been a while since I have posted. Life has been busy during the summer. I made these little delights for Friday Night Bites and was quite please with how they turned out. It was a perfect bite of crunch, savory, salty, smokey, spicy and a slight twist on a classic.
Friday, May 25, 2018
The day millions of royal fans across the globe have been waiting for finally arrived. The Royal Wedding of course and it certainly did not disappoint. Tradition, elegance and love were definitely in the air last Saturday. Like many, I was glued to the television to watch the spectacular historical moments. From the array of distinctive fascinators to the abundance of flowers embellishing all corners of the St. George's Chapel to that phenomenal yellow dress worn by Amal Clooney - I knew I was in for hours of witnessing a traditional yet modern mark on history. Some would say a pre-emptive positive turn to the future and what we can expect.
Friday, April 27, 2018
What is better then bacon? In my book ..... nothing! The key to great bacon is to cook is low and slow on a griddle until it is crispy but certainly not burnt. The flavor stays true and a crispy delight is ready to enjoy.
Friday, March 30, 2018
Yippee Skippee .... it is finally FRIDAY! I think that means it is time for Friday Night Bites and this week I thought I would share another sublime cocktail with all of you. Noted for its stunning purple color, this old-school gin cocktail is a standout. It is a cocktail that was created before Prohibition by a bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York. It is made with gin, maraschino liqueur, creme de violette and fresh lemon juice. The creme de violette is such a unique addition and makes this cocktail a true standout and often referred to the "forgotten classic". It is flowery, assertive yet sweet but a liqueur worth trying.
Friday, March 23, 2018
I am dreaming of forwarding time to mid summer right now. You may ask ....... why? It is fig season of course. Smile. I do simply adore figs, well actually kind of obsess over them - oh those glorious figs. It has been almost two years since I made my last big batch of Balsamic Fig Jam. I typically set aside a whole day and bang out 80 half pint jars of this delightful crowd pleaser. Besides enjoying it at home, it is my "go to" hostess and holiday gift to share with others. I have friends who wait in anticipation for it and one friend even has her whole family asking - when are you getting more fig jam?
Friday, March 16, 2018
Just imagine .... warm goat cheese, flavored olive oil and warm crunchy bread - now that is my idea of heaven in my mouth. The infusion of citrus, spice and earthy herbs is a sublime combination along with the tangy goat cheese and crunchy baguette. Add a touch of fluer de sel and this bite is simply perfect. Goat cheese has a pristine white color and distinct flavor that is one of the most amazing cheeses in the world - a humble basic for some, a gourmet delight for others.
Friday, March 9, 2018
There is something special about enjoying a craft cocktail with sublime bar nuts. The bar is raised even higher (no pun intended) when you are sitting at a swanky, hip bar with cool music playing and having your significant other or close friend next to you. You could even simply be sitting at the counter in your kitchen with the lights dimmed and have a bar experience.
Friday, March 2, 2018
Rain glorious rain! The Bay Area has been a bit starved this year for rain. December, January and into February were rather dry months. Five years ago we experienced the beginning of drought much the same way, so as you can imagine, we were all getting nervous. Yesterday, March 1st brought much needed rain and it was really coming down. The forecast calls for more rain ahead over the weekend and next week - thank goodness! We can only hope that March and April bring buckets of rain to ward off a drought.
Friday, February 16, 2018
This week I am thrilled to share my savory madeleine recipe with all of you! I have long been obsessed with madeleines. You tend to never think of these small shell shaped french sponge cakes as a sweet treat but not often turning them upside down to make a savory version. I have long wanted to share a savory version. Hubby loved them.
Friday, February 9, 2018
What is it about a little piece of toast loaded with crunchy, salty, creamy and herbaceous goodies? It is the dance that your mouth has along with your stomach being extremely happy. I absolutely love creating new flavor profiles and tasty bites for my Friday Night Bites weekly series here. I just hit my one year anniversary at my new job and I can't believe how time flies by so quickly. I absolutely LOVE my new role and company. After 18 years with one organization and 8 promotions later, it was time for a change. Change is good. Change is empowering. Change is what we need to invigorate our careers and life.
Friday, February 2, 2018
It is that time of the year. The bright brilliant blood oranges are in season. Once you cut this jewel in half, the rich red pink color is revealed. Blood oranges have a unique flavor compared to other oranges, being distinctly raspberry-like in addition to the usual citrus notes. They are in season in California from about November through May, although I have a hard time finding them late in the season. Their origin is thought to be from China or the southern mediterranean but now they are primarily grown in Italy. Their beauty inspired me to create this pink peppercorn blood orange compote to adorn a simple crostini.
Friday, January 26, 2018
It seems like we were just celebrating New Years Eve with appetizers and bubbly. With February around the corner, this year is already sailing by. I live by each day and believe that we need to enjoy each day to the fullest. I enjoy the simple things, the people that I love around me and having a sense of purpose each day. One of my resolutions for 2018 was to dedicate more attention to my blog that I have nurtured over the years.
Friday, January 19, 2018
Happy New Year! I know it has been a while since I have posted and one of my resolutions for the new year is to post at least once a week. As you all know, I am slightly obsessed with appetizers. If you follow me on Instagram, then you see my Friday Night Bites with wine and often cheese plates. My goal for this year is to bring you more interesting Friday Night Bites and spice up my little corner of the internet.
Friday, September 15, 2017
Do you ever try something at a restaurant and say to yourself - I must make this? I do all the time. Recently I was in Chicago for a business trip and we had cocktails and dinner at Siena Tavern. It was a extremely humid and rainy night in Chicago where you could cut the air with a knife. Despite the weather, which being from California this was not the norm for me - the vibe in this Top Chef, Fabio Viviani created restaurant was extremely cool. It had concrete floors, rustic decor and hip music being piped through everywhere. Although a bit loud, we enjoyed cocktails at the bar with friends. I had an aviator and a last word - don't typically swing out with a couple cocktails at once, it was a fun treat. The bartender was hip and cool and make some darn good drinks.
Monday, August 14, 2017
A couple weeks ago I attended the Livermore Valley's "Taste of Terroir" weekend to experience the tasty food and wine of this special sometimes forgotten wine country region in Northern California. I was personally invited as a media guest by the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association and was quite honored they thought of me. I was able to take hubby with me and he is always thrilled when he can be part of my blogging events.
Friday, June 9, 2017
Well HELLO almost summer - oh how I have missed you! My birthday was last Sunday and we swung out for this years birthday gift - a new wicker patio set from Living Spaces. It is part of the the Adventura collection. We got the 4 piece sectional, 2 lounge chairs, the cocktail table with 2 ottomans and 2 end tables. I feel like we have a true outdoor living room set. Since it was simply understated, it needed a POP of color, so I headed to Homegoods and got some fun pillows and decorative items for the tables. Oh and an outdoor rug from Cost Plus World Market.
Friday, May 19, 2017
Do you ever wish you had an elegant yet easy appetizer to make for guests that you want to impress? Have I got a simple, tasty and easy recipe for you. It has just a few ingredients and can be virtually made ahead of time and I promise will "WOW" your guests. They will think you spent hours preparing.
Friday, March 17, 2017
Do you want a quick and easy show stopper appetizer? If you answered yes, then I have an easy and delicious recipe for you. You can actually simply shop your pantry. If you are like me and stock your pantry with an assortment of items, then you should be set.
Friday, February 24, 2017
One of my favorite things to do is to make handmade jam and chutney. I will make a large batch to can and save for gift giving along with enjoying. With the holidays in the rear view mirror, I made a batch of my favorite chutney – Cranberry,
& Ginger Chutney.
The weather in Orange Northern
California has been quite
stormy over the last several weeks and this week was not exception. The good news is we are officially over the
drought. The last 5 years have changed our water usage patterns and has become a
new norm for hubby and me.
Friday, February 10, 2017
One of my absolute favorite things is to entertain. I love the process of planning along with the actual preparation and execution. Have one to two other couples over is the perfect party. You can actually carry on a meaningful conversation and truly enjoy each others company. Rather than sitting down in the dining room table, I have found that starting in the kitchen and then moving to the family room to get a bit more comfy is my preferred route.
Friday, December 2, 2016
With the holidays now here, the appetizers will be flowing at my house. The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family. It is a time to be thankful for what we have, to celebrate what is important and to kick off a new year. We continued the long standing tradition of having Thanksgiving at my parent’s house and it was a full house for sure. All four of my darling nephews were there and they are getting so big and so old. They range from a junior in high school to the littlest one in second grade. I just adore them.