Are you tired of me saying it yet? Talking about how much I adore salty paired with sweet? I hope not, because you’re in for a big dose of it today.
This past weekend we made our way to our friend’s annual holiday company Christmas party. No, I’m not moonlighting on the side for their business—Lord knows I’ve tried—but we’ve been really good friends for a few years and somehow we’ve weaseled our way into getting an invite each year.
Maybe it’s because we’re helpers in the kitchen—during that last minute flurry of panic before the guests start rolling in, lending a helping hand. But since they always have it so well put together, I think its just because we are so much dang FUN! And these guys, well they go all out so it definitely isn’t a chore to whoop it up and have a good time.
This year I was asked to give my opinion on the menu. Now, Sherrie is an amazing cook and party giver, so she really doesn’t need any help from me. But since I’m a bone fide food blogger (ahem, cue smoke and mirrors) people seem to think I know what works when it comes to food.
In my opinion when it comes to feeding a crowd, I like to make it plentiful and keep it simple. And it doesn’t get much simpler than melted bread and cheese to keep people happy.
This recipe spruces up the flavors of traditional crostini with my go-to, keep in my pantry for any emergency, fig preserves. This jar has made its way onto more appetizers than I can count: almost always as a version of this cheese and spread combo, either served with crackers, baked on puff pastry with apples and nuts or simply slathered on a warm slice of sourdough.
This time around I’m loading up a thinly sliced baguette then topping it with shredded cheese, a dollop of the fig preserves, a second helping of a strong, slightly dry and salty blue, and then a drizzle of sweet honey. Adding just one more twist to your mouth is a few specks of rosemary.
I used a mix of an aged, thus dryer, asiago—you can try parmesan if it’s easier to come by—with a stronger, slightly nutty farm cheese, like gruyere. Feel free to try a milder cheese such as fontina or swiss if that suits your taste better.
For a crowd, I assemble the crostini on several baking sheets, multiplying the recipe for the number of guests. You can load 27-30 crostini per baking dish, prepared well before the party and refrigerated. Then pop them into the oven once your guests arrive and continue and add fresh, hot treats throughout the cocktail hour.
Make sure to layer the cheese on the bread before the jam if you are making these ahead of time. The cheese acts as a barrier against the jam’s moisture and potentially soggy bread slices. As such, choose a firmer bread like sourdough rather than a lighter french bread.
- 12 baguette slices cut about ¼" thick
- 1½ cups grated cheese, such as farm cheese or gruyere
- ¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
- ⅓ cup fig spread
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread baguette slices on a baking sheet fitted with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.
- Top baguette slices with grated cheese, then a teaspoon or so of fig spread, then blue cheese crumbles. Bake in oven for 5-7 minutes or until cheese has melted and edges of baguettes are golden. Remove from oven and drizzle with honey and top with rosemary leaves.
I have one more giveaway to share before Christmas. My friends at Korin want to give you a sampling of some of my favorite products from them. Korin is most well-known for their knives but they also have some amazing gift sets, kitchenware and tableware.
Meet Squirrel, Fawn, Rabbit and Cat Mugtails. Are these the cutest or what? They are my favorite treat of the season and I soooo don’t want to give them up. But I am. To one of you.
Nothing completes a kitchen like a sharp knife. Hand-inspected and razor sharp, you’ll be master of your domain with this baby.
Included in the Korin giveaway:
- 1 Japanese Western-style Togiharu Molybdenum 6-inch petty knife, a smaller chef knife that makes it a convenient size for peeling and other delicate work. The knife will also include a free knife sharpening service card in the box, for you to use at anytime for any non-serrated knife.($69 ARV)
- 1 set of four Mugtails ceramic mugs including Squirrel, Rabbit, Fawn and Cat mugs. ($64 ARV)
***The contest is now closed. Congratulations to Emily who likes low cal drinks from Cold Stone. Enjoy!***”
For bonus entries:
1. Join FoodieCrush on Facebook and leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.
2. Follow @FoodieCrush on Twitter and leave a separate comment letting me know you are a follower.
3. Subscribe to FoodieCrush newsletter and leave a separate comment letting me know you subscribed.
4. Follow FoodieCrush on Pinterest and leave a separate comment letting me know you follow.
The giveaway is open until Thursday, December 20th at 11:59 p.m. MST. The giveaway is only open to U.S. residents. Be sure a valid email address is included with your comment(s). Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on this post. We will email the winner and if the winner doesn’t respond in 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.
Thanks for reading and please keep in touch. Subscribe to Foodie Crush and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest and check out Foodie Crush magazine and Cookie Cravings Holiday Cookie Cookbook.
Disclosure: Korin provided a knife for me to review as well as these products to give away. All opinions are my own.