Pear-Parmesan-Pecan Crostini

 

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I made these earlier this week as an experiment, and since then I’ve made them twice more due to popular demand.

These little crostini make a great snack or appetizer or companion to tea. The interplay of flavors really is my favorite part. Upon first bite you immediately taste the sweetness of the honey and pears, and then as you continue to taste gradually the saltiness of the parmesan, toasted flavor from the nuts, and taste of rosemary come through. It starts out as one flavor and then almost completely changes… which has you reaching for a second one.

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Also, they’re very easy to make and, unlike a lot of appetizer recipes, the ingredients are easy to get.

Of course, when such simple ingredients are being used, quality is key. A few quick notes on ingredients—first, you can’t make a good crostini without good bread. The times I’ve made this I used a ciabatta baguette from Trader Joe’s and a rosemary baguette loaf from my local grocery store. Try to get something that has that nice outer crust and chewy interior—avoid the flaky/fluffy “French bread” that haunts many grocery store bakeries. Second, use a flaked or shredded parmesan rather than the crumbled wood pulp stuff. The aged flavor of a nice parmesan makes a difference. Lastly, since we all know pears are perfectly ripe for approximately 5 min, this is a great recipe to use over-ripe pears on. Just cut away any bruised bits and don’t worry.

So eat this, binge The Mindy Project or The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt before their new seasons start next week, and enjoy.

Pear-Parmesan-Pecan Crostini

1 baguette

¼ scant c olive oil

2 cups parmesan cheese

1 c finely chopped pecans

2 T rosemary, finely chopped

½ c honey

1-2 pears

Preheat oven to 425. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or foil. Slice the baguette into ½ inch slices and spread across baking sheet. Brush each slice with a little bit of oil and then evenly distribute the parmesan cheese across the crostini. Stick in the oven and back for 7-10 minute until bread is toasted and cheese is melted and lightly browned. Transfer them to a cooling rack.

In the meantime, throw the pecans and rosemary into a skillet over medium-high heat and toast. Simply move them constantly with a wooden spoon for about 6 min or until they’re very aromatic. When they’re toasted, transfer them into a bowl and pour the honey over them, stirring until combined.

Thinly slice the pears and put 1-2 slices on each crostini (depending on size of both pear and crostini). Scoop about a generous teaspoon worth of the nut/honey combination on each crostini—you may want to heat up the honey in the microwave for a few minutes to make it more workable, or use two spoons to scoop it like cookie dough.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

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S’mores Popcorn

S'mores popcorn

I absolutely adore s’mores, and yet I hate eating them. No matter what, the chocolate isn’t quite melted or the marshmallow is burnt or the graham cracker breaks…

Consequently, many of my favorite recipes are s’mores inspired, but are much more convenient to eat than s’mores. This S’mores Popcorn makes the perfect movie night treat. It’s easy to make, has a great variety of textures, and is family-friendly.

(One note: I always try and use the Ghiradelli 60% dark chocolate chips when baking. They have an amazing melting texture and the best dark chocolate flavor I’ve found in chocolate chips.)

Pair with family movie night and a nostalgic 80s classic. Try Condorman (1981), The Private Eyes (1980), or The One and Only, Genuine Original Family Band (1968).

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S’mores Popcorn

(adapted from Bombshell Bling)

1/3 c popcorn kernels

2 T grapeseed or canola oil

1 c dark or semisweet chocolate chips

1 tsp shortening

1 c crushed graham crackers (about half a package)

1-2 c mini marshmallows

Pop the popcorn on the stovetop in the oil. Transfer popped popcorn to a bowl and lightly salt. Scoop the popcorn onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, making sure to leave any un-popped kernels in the bowl.

In a separate bowl melt the chocolate chips and shortening in the microwave at 30-second increments. Stir until smooth. (The shortening smooths and thins out the chocolate so that it can be drizzled easily). Set aside to cool.

Once chocolate is cool enough, transfer to a Ziploc bag and zip the bag closed. Cut the corner off of the Ziploc bag and drizzle 1/3 of the chocolate over the popcorn. Sprinkle graham crackers over popcorn, followed by the second 1/3 of chocolate. Finally, spread mini marshmallows over popcorn and graham crackers, and top with the last 1/3 of chocolate.

Transfer tray to the freezer for 10 min or until chocolate is set. Once it is, break up the popcorn into bite-size pieces and put into a bowl for serving!

The popcorn can be put in a airtight container or Ziploc bag for a day before the popcorn starts getting stale.

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