QUICK & EASY MAKE-AHEAD HOLIDAY APPETIZER Blue Cheese Crostini With Grapes and Walnuts
QUICK & EASY
MAKE-AHEAD HOLIDAY APPETIZER
Blue Cheese Crostini With Grapes and Walnuts
Every once in a while I’ll sit back and wonder what another persons’ life might be like. I contemplate the idea of a typical week or day and have to ask myself, “is there even such a thing”? It’s enough that we all lead busy lives with hectic schedules. Racing around from work to school, the kids, the errands, the activities, the socializing. Add the holiday shopping and parties to all of that and it’s enough to never get out of bed.
This week I find myself scrambling around work, heading to Sausalito, Sonoma and Santa Rosa to meet with clients and accounts. Hopefully I’ll get in a few sessions at the gym, prepare for my weekend trip to the Foothills-including laundry, cleaning and cat preparations — and, oh yeah, the company holiday party that I need to bring an appetizer to — enough to feed 35 completely different palettes. Um, by the way, when am I supposed to prepare anything for the latter? I’m not much of a “buy-something-frozen (or-prepared) and-call-it-a-day” kinda person (though in times like these, I truly wish I were). I’ve put together this appetizer that can be prepared in advance and in pieces to be compiled the day of the party or event. It is a creamy, bright and delicious appetizer that will pair well with just about any feast, wine and temperament. At the end of the day, I’m much more satisfied that I made something to show those I appreciate just how much they mean to me.
This recipe also works perfectly for a cheese and wine party and is absolutely lovely with Pinot Noir. I always have the velvety, slightly tannic Emeritus Vineyards William Wesley Pinot on-hand and it always receives praise when I serve it. The tannins cut right through the smooth creamy cheese, the earthy bite of chives and spicy bite of cracked pepper are subtly enhanced by the wines’ luscious berry undertones. In no time at all, the crostini will have vanished and the wine will be emptied, but both will remain in the forefront of your friends’ memory.
Handful of chives, chopped tiny
Crushed walnuts, toasted
1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese
1 container blue cheese crumbles
1 bunch of red grapes (well, you’ll only need about a dozen single grapes)
Baguette, sliced into ¼ — ½ inch slices
These directions are intended for preparing ahead of time.
Mix together the blue and cream cheeses, store in a plastic container. Dice the chives and put them in a separate container. Put walnuts in a pan over medium heat and heat the walnuts for about 5-7 minutes, or until the toasty aroma fills your kitchen. Let the nuts cool and put them into an airtight plastic baggie. Quarter your grapes and put into a plastic container. Turn oven onto low (250 degrees), slice your baguette into approximately ¼ inch slices. Lay the bread onto a baking sheet in a single layer and put in oven for approx 15-20 minutes, or until the bread is no longer soft. Store in an airtight container. *note, these can be made up to a week in advance as long as they are stored in an airtight container.
To assemble the day-of, swipe a dollop of the cheese mixture onto a bread slice, about 1 tablespoon. Place about 2 grape sections on top, sprinkle with chives and nuts. Turn out onto a serving tray and voila, your appetizer is finito!