Funtober is so fortunate today to introduce attorney and noted food blogger Michelle Hershman. Her website Healthy Recipe Ecstasy features her lifelong passion of new foods and healthy cuisines.
Three Sweet and Savory Fall Crostinis
Fall is in the air. Can you feel it? Ok, all I’m feeling right now is the humidity, but I can smell it. The sweet sugar is releasing from caramelized apples and tickling my nostrils. Pecans are toasting in the oven until fragrant and fig jam is simmering on the stovetop.
Maybe it’s just my kitchen. But I have the feeling that folks across the country are just chomping at the bit for fall and all the festivities that come with it. Sure, summer is great with its cookouts and pool parties and popsicles, but there’s something special, almost magical, about fall. It’s the changing leaves, the slight chill in the air, the year’s best holidays (who can argue with one holiday based around costumes and another holiday based around turkey and stuffing?), and, most importantly, it’s the food. There’s something familiar and cozy about fall cuisine. Casseroles and stews bring a lot of people back to their childhoods. It’s a time for family and it’s a time for gathering.
While there are plenty of things to celebrate in fall, I love to have fall parties for no good reason other than to celebrate the fall harvest. And parties mean appetizers – my favorite food group. There’s nothing better than mingling around a party with a cocktail in one hand and a small plate full of finger foods in the other hand. To me, there is no finger food more diverse than the crostini. You start with a little slice of toasted bread and the sky’s the limit from there.
So, this fall, I’m throwing a crostini party to celebrate some of my favorite fall flavors. I created three crostinis with three unique, but familiar, flavor combinations. First up is the goat cheese and fig jam crostini with toasted pecans. The tangy goat cheese matches perfectly with the sweet fig jam, and the toasted pecans fill your kitchen with an aroma that screams fall. This crostini will be a major crowd pleaser.
Next up is the pumpkin and ricotta crostini with brown sugar bacon. Nothing says fall like pumpkin. But pureed pumpkin can be a strong flavor all on its own, which is why a lot of people choose to bake it into a pie or a muffin mixed with a lot of sugar. Here, the creamy ricotta tempers the pumpkin flavor while still letting it be the star of the show. And, brown sugar bacon, do we need a reason?
The final crostini is topped with brie and cranberry-apple chutney. You knew cranberry and apples had to come into play at some point, right? The brie is so smooth and creamy and the tart chutney flavors just explode in your mouth.
Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Toasted Pecans
6 teaspoons goat cheese
4 teaspoons fig jam
1 tablespoon chopped pecans
4 slices French baguette
Toast the pecans in a small skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant. Spread 1.5 teaspoons goat cheese on each baguette slice. Top each with 1 teaspoon fig jam and garnish with chopped pecans. Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees or until the cheese and fig jam start to melt.
Pumpkin Ricotta Crostini with Brown Sugar Bacon Crumbles
6 teaspoons part-skim ricotta cheese
4 teaspoons pumpkin puree
Pinch of kosher salt
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 slices center-cut bacon
4 slices French baguette
Add bacon to a foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar. Put the bacon in the oven and turn the heat to 400 degrees. Cook for 20 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Keep your eye on the bacon because the sugar can burn quickly. Drain the bacon on a paper towel and crumble it. Mix the ricotta cheese and pumpkin puree in a small bowl until combined. Season with a small pinch of kosher salt. Divide the pumpkin ricotta mixture evenly among the baguette slices and garnish with crumbled bacon. Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees.
Brie Crostini with Cranberry-Apple Chutney
1 cup cranberries (fresh or thawed from frozen)
1 small apple, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon all spice
Zest and juice from ½ of one orange
4 ounces of Brie cheese
4 slices French baguette
Add the first six ingredients (cranberries through orange) to a small pot and cook over medium low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down to low and cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Spread 1 ounce Brie cheese on each baguette slice. Top with desired amount of chutney. The chutney is really tart so keep it light if tart is not your thing or pile it on if you love the tart. Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees or until the Brie melts.
Our guest author today is Michelle Hershman @Healthy Recipe Ecstasy. She is an attorney and wife with two adorable cats. Her passion is food. She tries to make most of her foods from scratch thereby giving up on most processed foods. She experiments with lots of recipe types. I know you will love her recipes. If you have a question about this recipe she can be reached at: michelle (dot) hershman (at) gmail (dot) com.