Tag Archives: crostini

White Bean Bruschetta with Rosemary and Lemon

Your Cans Totally Rock

Let me teach you guys a magic trick.  How’d you like to learn how to take some old cans in your pantry and elevate the contents to heavenly bites of goodness?  This white bean bruschetta is downright dirty in its simplicity – crack open a can of white beans, toss with a fresh vinaigrette of lemon, rosemary and garlic, and slather the deliciousness on toasted crostini. Continue reading White Bean Bruschetta with Rosemary and Lemon

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Crostini with Chocolate Olive Oil

Let Me Take You Down, Cuz I’m Going to…

Today I want to talk about straddling in the kitchen.  You know, working the line between flavors, textures and temperatures to your own advantage.  Juxtaposing ingredients to ensure that every bite is both sassy and class.  It’s similar to the way that a chocolate-covered pretzel or a good and salty margarita scratch some primordial itch that occasionally pops up and leaves you clawing the walls for the smallest taste of the intoxicating combination.  And if you don’t scratch said itch, you feel a need to indiscriminately throat chop everyone around you, until someone plies your greedy mouth with a salted caramel cupcake.  I totally approve – desperate times call for desperate throat chops, and I’d kill a man for salted caramel. Continue reading Strawberry and Goat Cheese Crostini with Chocolate Olive Oil

An Ode to Orvieto

Back when I was in college, I studied abroad in Italy on a minor in black and white photography.  Little did I know that my time spent in an art school in the sleepy town of Orvieto would inspire me with ever so many culinary delights.  Simple lunches consisted of ingredients considered haute in the states – fresh porcini mushrooms, black truffles, fava beans and homemade gelato.  All was washed down with a crisp, luscious white wine called Orvieto Classico (with a recipe dating back to Ancient Roman times).  It was a dream.

As a recent ex-pat of New York City, I’ve made fast culinary friends here in Phoenix, many of whom are voracious foodies.  As a means of treating them to the delights I tasted and experienced in Orvieto, I decided to prepare a full-on feast celebrating the dishes that managed to stay imprinted in my memory.  Incredibly, FoodBuzz felt that my plan was lovely enough to include it in the 24×24 for July 2011 – a monthly event showcasing posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers from around the globe during a 24-hour period. The moment I found out the good news, it was on like donkey kong.

This menu celebrates fresh ingredients highlighted as stars of simply prepared dishes – fava bean bruschetta shines with the addition of salty pecorino and floral mint.  Fresh tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms take the stage as a reminder of an Orvieto lunch favorite.  And I can’t forget the dish that made me question all I’d known about pasta up until the first time I tasted it – drunken pasta cooked in red wine until purple with a blond oxtail ragu (no tomatoes!)  Madness, but delicious all the same.  A sliced tenderloin of beef with creamy artichokes serves the main course, a stunner for anyone with expensive tastes and a limited budget.  Dessert is a glorious scoop of bacio gelato, an addictive combination of dark chocolate and hazelnuts. And for a last taste, the most beautiful digestivo with a homemade limoncello that will impress the pants off of anyone you deem worthy enough to try it.

For a play-by-play of the culinary goodness that occured in my 24×24, click on the links to the individual recipes below. Each one has a lovely history attached, and cooking them again for the folks here in the lawless desert reminded me of how blissful it can be to take a little time to celebrate the ingredients that inspire and amaze.

Crostini di Fave

Buttery fava beans and fruity olive oil get their swerve on in this luscious topping for crunchy toasts.

Tagliatelle with Porcini Mushrooms

This tangle of fresh pasta, mushrooms, wine, butter and parmesan is trouble.  Like eat the whole bowl with no regrets kind of trouble.  I completely authorize your using your fork as a weapon to keep away anyone who wants to steal a bite.

Drunken Pasta with Blond Oxtail Ragu

The drunken bit refers to cooking the pasta in red wine, which gives it a gorgeous garnet hue.  And the blond reference in the ragu means no tomatoes – just fall off the bone beef slow simmered with veggies and more wine.  Oh so good and well-worth trying.

Beef Tenderloin with Artichokes in Bechamel

The beef tenderloin is treated rather simply with just a smattering of salt and pepper, but then the lily is gilded with an accompaniment of artichokes in cream sauce.

Bacio Gelato

Creamy and decadent, here I use the clutch recipe from Ciao Bella to get the job done.

Homemade Limoncello

This one takes time to mellow into happiness, but if you leave it alone to do its thing, you’ll be rewarded with golden nectar from the gods.  Or at least that’s what it tastes like after you’ve knocked back a few chilled glasses of the goodness.

Crostini di Fave (Fava Bean Crostini)

Foodbuzz 24 x 24 | An Ode to Orvieto

This recipe was a part of a special menu for Foodbuzz’s June 2011 food blogger party, 24×24.  Showcasing posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers, the monthly Foodbuzz 24 highlights unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period.  Read more about my meal along with all of the other recipes at An Ode to Orvieto.

Although I was first truly introduced to them in Italy, the lovely fava bean is wordly in all senses of the word.  Burgeoning natively in Asia and North Africa, and found in gardens just about everywhere else, the fava (or broad bean) serves as a tender, meaty bean that can be transformed into all sorts of loveliness.  I first tucked into them as a part of a simple appetizer in Orvieto, Italy.  We had started going to this restaurant in town that we referred to lovingly as “The Italian Pottery Barn” – aside from the menu outside and the screamingly tasty smells coming from the kitchen, one would think that they were shopping for glassware and rustic furniture over a delicious bite.  This dish, comprised of creamy fava beans slathered over crisp toast and topped with curls of pecorino romano, was the perfect opening to some of the most gorgeous farm-fresh meals I’ve eaten in Orvieto.  I remember the first time I tried these babies, my friend told me that she would never try them because typically people with fava bean allergies tend to die the very first time they tried them. She explained that she didn’t want to take a chance, all the while I nodded my head as I tucked in to the most perfect fava bean puree dressed with fruity, local olive oil. Her loss – more for me.

This recipe is sometimes served rather chunkily, but I first had it as a smooth, almost hummus-like spread.  Some folks make it with a heavy kick of garlic or basil, but the way I had it, the seasonings were mild, allowing the fava beans to shine.  The best thing you can do is get the tastiest olive oil to drizzle, your favorite bread for toast points (I love a good ciabatta) and the most savory, nutty pecorino you can find.  Then, with a minimal amount of cooking, you can relish in the the joy of the fabulous fava bean.

Crostini di Fave (Fava Bean Crostini)

1 loaf of ciabatta, sliced into 1 inch ovals
1 clove of garlic
olive oil

1 lbs. of unshelled fava beans
juice of 1/2 lemon, freshly-squeezed
4 tbs. of white balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. of olive oil
2 cl. of garlic
3 sprigs of parsley, leaves removed and stems discarded (save stems for stock)
4 sprig of mint
1/4 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. of black pepper

pecorino romano

Drizzle the bread slices with olive oil and toast until golden and crisp.  Rub the warm slices with the clove of garlic and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Remove the fava beans from their husks and drop into the water.  Drain and cool under running water.  Remove the beans from their outer white membrane – you’ll have two split bean halves that’ll come out of the husk.  Drop the fava beans, lemon juice, balsamic, olive oil, garlic, parsley, mint, salt and pepper into a food processor and blitz until smooth.

Slather a few tablespoons of the fava bean puree on the toasts and shave pecorino romano over the top.  Drizzle with a good olive oil and serve.