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Caprese Appetizer

From Natalie:

With beautiful garden tomatoes now available at all the local farms in the area, I have been adding them to everything.  This is a simple recipe, but one of my favorites! Add to a buffet table or serve as a first course of a nice dinner.

Ingredients:

  • Garden fresh tomatoes, I used cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Buffalo mozzarella
  • Fresh Basil (I grow it in a pot on my deck)
  • Jane’s Crazy Salt
  • Balsamic Glaze

Slice the cucumbers about 1/8 inch thick.  Slice mozzarella about the same thickness and put on top of the cucumber.  Slice tomatoes also and put on top of the cheese.  Add a leaf of basil (or a piece of a leaf if they are large), in between the cheese and tomato.  Sprinkle with Crazy Salt.  Drizzle Balsamic Glaze over the top.  If you don’t have the glaze, a drizzle of olive oil would be a nice alternative. This is easy, fresh and delicious and makes a beautiful presentation to any table.  Enjoy!

Baked Italian Picnic Sandwich

From Krisann:

This bake and take crowd pleaser comes directly from my sister Kim’s kitchen.  It seems like this time of year I am always looking to bring a sandwich on the boat, to the beach, or to a friend’s house.  I really like making my sandwiches on a long loaf of bread and then slicing to enjoy with lots of friends.   Not to worry if you are going to a location that you won’t have access to an oven.  You can either bake the sandwich at home and then wrap it in foil or even skip the baking part and enjoy it as a cold sandwich.  Let me know what you think.  Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb each hot capricola, mortadella, black pepper ham and salami
  • Pesto (prepared or homemade, see my pesto pasta salad recipe for homemade pesto recipe)
  • fresh basil (wash and dry basil leaves)
  • Roasted Red Pepper (I used the one in a jar, blot the pepper on paper towel so they are not so wet.  If you are using whole peppers break them into strips to place into sandwich)
  • 1 small thinly sliced Vidalia onion
  • 1 eggplant (remove skin, cut into 1/2 inch slices)
  • Fresh mozzarella ball (thinly sliced)
  • Loaf of bread (I usually use some sort of unsliced italian loaf)
  • Balsamic glaze (this comes prepared and can be purchased at most grocery stores)

 

Preheat the broiler to high.  Brush eggplant slices with olive oil and sprinkle with crazy salt and pepper.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; broil 5 inches from the heat for 5 minutes on each side or until browned.  Repeat procedure with remaining eggplant.  Set eggplant aside.

Cut the bread lengthwise.  Spread the pesto on the bottom half of the loaf.  Layer your eggplant, onion slices, roasted red peppers, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese.  Take the top half of the bread and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.  Add the meats and carefully place the top half of the sandwich on the bottom half.  Place the sandwich on a baking sheet and cook in a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked.  Sandwich can be sliced and enjoyed.

Pesto Pasta Salad

From Krisann:

If you are a pesto fan, then this is the salad for you.  This recipe came from my sister Kim, who is a very talented and creative cook.  This salad is sure to be a hit at your next cookout.  I would double this recipe to bring to a party.  Let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Bowtie pasta
  • 1 small container Grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 container Small Mozzeralla balls
  • basil 1 bunch, about 2 cups(washed and dried)
  • 3 medium size cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan-reggiano or romano cheese
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Pesto – Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor.  (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil).  Add the garlic, pulse a few more times.  Slowly add the olive oil an a constant stream while the food processor is on.  Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.  Add the grated cheese and sugar and pulse again until blended.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.

This will make 1 cup of pesto.  (Note that pesto is always made to taste, based on the ingredients at hand. So adjust the ingredients to your taste. Most pesto recipes call for Parmesan cheese, you can use Romano which has a stronger flavor).

Then, cook pasta and drain, rinse with cold water.  In a large bowl, add the pasta and mix with the pesto.  (You will need to add some olive oil, but go easy you don’t want to add much.)  Once the pasta and the pesto are nicely mixed, add the grape tomatoes, onions and mozzeralla balls, and blend gently.  Salt and pepper to taste.   Garnish with some sprigs of fresh basil.

CROSTINI w/Goat Cheese~Tomato ~Basil & Balsamic Glaze RECIPE

From a tiny BEACH kitchen…

I needed a quick and easy appetizer to bring to Easter dinner.   Krisann deserves the credit for this recipe. The bread and basil are super fresh.  The goat cheese is pricey but makes a big difference in taste and is easy to spread on the baked bread.  Just delicious!  The basil and balsamic glaze are sprinkled on top.  The plate looks amazing without a lot of effort.   Which was a good thing- this Easter morning it was 55 degrees on our porch! Yeah summer! There were kids playing on the beach with dogs and easter baskets in tow.

 Ingredients:

  • French Bagette, sliced thin
  • Fresh basil
  • Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Herb Goat Cheese
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • Salt and Pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Put sliced bread on cookie sheet.  Spray with Olive oil,  sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Bake 5 minutes.  Use tongs and flip bread slices.  Bake 3 more minutes.  Meanwhile cut tomatoes in half and sliver the basil.

Spread each cooked bagette with goat cheese.  Top with half a cherry tomato.  Sprinkle sliced fresh basil over the tomatoes.- Do NOT used dried basil.  It won’t taste or look the same.  Then simply drizzle a small amount of balsamic glaze over the top.  Serve on a long platter with fresh basil tucked in a corner ~  The presentation is beautiful.  ~ ENJOY!

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