Tomato-Basil and Goat Cheese Crostini

January 21st, 2013

Today I am posting a recipe from my DIL Kristen.  She made similar crostini for us over the holidays.   She changed the recipe a little since Christmas and likes this version even better.  What is so unique about these crostini is the creamy consistency of the goat cheese spread and the freshness of the tomato and basil garnish.  I thought they would make a great appetizer for a Super Bowl party or for any party for that matter.

Kristen is very dear to me.  She and I have much in common.  She loves to cook and she is very good at it.   But she is also a savvy business woman who runs a very successful online stationery boutique specializing in unique wedding invitations called The Green Kangaroo.  The name of her business came from the title of the book The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume.  It is a story of a middle child  (which Kristen is) trying to be unique and special. She is both of these in spades.

When she emailed me this recipe and the accompanying pictures, I knew I wanted to share it with you.  I have never had a bad meal from her kitchen.   Thank you Kristen!

I am linking this recipe to Tailgating Time -Super Bowl at Seaside Simplicity.  There are lots of great recipes for your Super Bowl party on this post.



  • 1 Baguette
  • 1 4 oz. log of Goat Cheese such as Montchevre or Il de France
  • 1/4 cup of skim milk
  • 3-4 Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh basil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Slice the baguette on the bias and place pieces on a cookie sheet.  Toast in the oven at 450 degrees until lightly brown.
In a bowl, combine the goat cheese and milk.  Use a spoon to mash/stir and work the goat cheese and milk into a smooth paste.
Slice roma tomatoes (and deseed if preferred).  Use a food processor, chopper, or immersion blender to briefly pulse the tomatoes, garlic and basil into a relish-like consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Next, pour the tomato relish into a fine mesh sieve.  Gently shake it until most of the visible, separate moisture has drained out.  The tomato relish will form somewhat of a ball.  This is good!  If you don’t have a sieve, use multiple layers of paper towels and pour the tomato relish onto the paper towels to absorb the moisture.  You don’t want soggy crostinis!
Assemble your Crostinis – spread a liberal amount of goat cheese onto the toasted side of each crostini.  Spoon tomato relish on top of the goat cheese and present on a platter.  These would also be delicious with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar!  I’ve even considered assembling a small salad on top of the goat cheese.  You could do goat cheese, micro greens, tomato-basil relish, & vinaigrette.  The possibilities are endless!
This appetizer should take about 20 minutes or less to make and your guests will be asking for more!

Pumpkin Cheese Ball

September 24th, 2012

This was a fun idea that I picked up from Food Network Magazine.  Simply flavor cream cheese with shredded cheddar, salsa,  and nacho flavorings and then roll into a ball and refrigerate.

When it is firm, roll it in crushed nacho flavored chips to give it a pumpkin color.  The hardest part was finding a bell pepper stem to use on the top.  If you have peppers in your garden, this should not an issue, but my supermarket did not have a lot of pretty stems to choose from.  I was happy with the festive look anyway.

Happy Fall!


16 ounces room-temperature cream cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
3 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons salsa
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno

Nacho-flavored tortilla chips, crushed
Bell pepper stem

With a mixer, blend the first 6 ingredients together.  Scoop into plastic wrap and use the wrap to form the mixture into a 5-inch pumpkin-shaped ball; chill at least 2 hours.  To serve, unwrap, roll in crushed nacho-flavored tortilla chips and press a bell pepper stem into the top.

Printable recipe

Tuscan Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich Appetizers

February 1st, 2012

My friend Maxine recently attended a symphony guild reception and raved about the appetizers served.   One in particular that she mentioned was a simple tomato soup served in a cordial glass topped with a triangle of  a grilled cheese sandwich.  It was easy to sip the soup and dunk the sandwich if you preferred; no utensils necessary.

I thought, what a great idea for a Super Bowl party.  Just put trays of hot, freshly ladled soup and warm grilled cheese sandwich triangles on the serving table for everyone to grab and eat.  Now, I do have some fancy cordial glasses if you would like to do a more refined presentation.  Afterall, there is a difference between a Super Bowl Party and a Symphony Soiree.   It is your choice.  Here is the more refined version.

The glasses are smaller and I used Pepperidge Farms sandwich bread which is thinner and smaller in size.

I also cut the crusts off of the bread.  Tres Chic.

But whichever way you present them they will be a hit.  The soup is easy to make and is very flavorful with an added punch from basil pesto.  To be honest with you, tomato soup is not my favorite, but I loved this one.  It will be made often in this kitchen.   This idea of mini soups and sandwiches can be used with many different creamed soups and grilled sandwiches.  Just let your imagination run wild.


2 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots or 1 onion, chopped finely
3 (14 ounce) cans Italian diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/3 cup basil pesto
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large sauce pan.  Add diced shallots or onions and cook over medium low heat until they are softened.  Add tomatoes and bring them to a simmer.  Add the chicken broth and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.  Add half and half and pesto.  At this point you can either use an immersion blender to puree the soup or blend in a food processor or blender (in batches) until you have a smooth consistency.  Return soup to pan.  Add salt and pepper to taste and keep warm until you are ready to serve it.  Ladle the soup into a two cup measuring cup with a spout and pour into each serving glass.

Top with triangles of grilled cheese sandwiches.  Cut each sandwich into 4 triangles before placing on glasses.

Printable recipe

Sunday Brunch Part 4 – Minted Watermelon and Pineapple Stuffed Celery

May 27th, 2009

This is not a complicated brunch dish but it does offer a new taste sensation and a unique stuffing for celery. One of the blogs I follow is . . . thrice shy written by a high school classmate of mine. Sharon recently wrote about a simple appetizer of watermelon sprinkled with fresh mint and thought the combination was wonderful. It sounded good to me too so I tried the idea for this brunch. It turned out to be a very refreshing addition to some of the richer dishes on the menu and the mint and watermelon are indeed compatible.

An appetizer I have been making for years is Cream Cheese, Pineapple Spread. I usually serve this on crackers, but it is an excellent stuffing for celery. As a matter of fact, I like it better on the celery.


1 cup pecans, chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 large can crushed pineapple, well drained
1 Tbls onion chopped
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together and serve with crackers or stuff in celery.

Printable recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.