November 15, 2011

Cannellini Crostini


This was another of the dishes served at my sister’s baby shower.  Once again, I made a large batch for the party, but am posting a scaled-down version here.

I've been really into using dried beans lately.  Their simplicity, versatility, heartiness, and economy are unparalleled. And they can be turned into and endless variety of dips and spreads that are an inexpensive addition to any party menu.  The rosemary makes this version particularly nice during the winter.

The method for soaking and cooking dried beans can be found in a previous post on using dried garbanzo beans for hummus (also linked below).

Cannellini Crostini

Makes about 3 dozen crostini.

2 cups cannellini beans, soaked and cooked (from 6.5 ounces dry beans)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small sprig rosemary (½ minced, ½ whole on stem)
1-2 cloves garlic
salt, to taste
sundried tomatoes, sliced into thin strips
1 baguette or other rustic bread, sliced about ¼-inch thick (I used Peter Reinhart’s whole wheat pain all’ancienne.) 

Optional: Rub bread slices with the cut side of a clove of garlic, brush lightly with olive oil, and toast in a 350° oven until golden brown – 10-15 minutes.

Heat oil over medium heat in a small pan.  Then add whole garlic clove and rosemary (minced and whole).  Simmer garlic and rosemary in oil for about 5 minutes.

Remove any large pieces of rosemary and set aside. Press (or mince) the cooked garlic clove.

In a medium bowl, combine oil, garlic, and beans.  Beat with electric mixer until they begin to form a cohesive mass.  (Don’t puree, leaving some whole beans adds nice texture to the spread.) 

Season with salt, to taste.

Spread a small amount (2-3 teaspoons) on toasted baguette slices and top with a sliver of sundried tomato.

Variation: Serve as a dip/spread in a bowl with crackers, pita, or bread on the side.

November 14, 2011

Mini Quiche with Chard and Red Onion

mini quiche with chard and red onion
I made these for my sister’s baby shower, and they were a huge hit!  I made a large batch for a total of about 150 mini quiches.  The recipe below is scaled down for a smaller audience.

Mini Quiche with Chard and Red Onion

Makes about 60 mini quiches.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
2½ sticks unsalted butter (20 tablespoons), cut into ½-inch pieces
6-7 tablespoons ice water

Combine the salt and both flours in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.

Add butter and pulse until all the butter is coated in flour and the largest pieces are the size of small peas.
Add the water, a few tablespoons at a time, and pulse until the mixture forms a cohesive mass.

Turn out onto a floured surface.  Gather and press the dough into a ball.  Add flour or water if the dough is too sticky or too dry.  Divide into 3 pieces.  Form each piece into a ball, flatten into a ½-inch thick disk, and refrigerate for at least one hour (and up to two days).

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Lightly grease 3 mini muffin tins (24 cups each, 1¾-inch diameter muffin cups), or you can reuse one muffin tin.

Remove chilled dough from refrigerator, one piece at a time.  On a well flour surface, between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap, or on a pastry mat, roll the dough until it is 1/16 inch thick. 

Using a small round cookie or biscuit cutter (2 to 2½ inches in diameter), cut circles from dough.  Gently press the circles of dough into mini muffin tins.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  The crust will not be completely cooked at this point, but should be set and barely beginning to brown on the edges.  

Allow to cool in the pan for 3-4 minutes.  Then carefully remove to cool on a wire rack.



1 small bunch of chard, washed and chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ large red onion, chopped
4 teaspoons butter
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup cream
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
pinch nutmeg (freshly grated, if possible)
4 oz freshly grated aged goat cheese, or other flavorful cheese (I used Midnight Moon “Cypress Grove,” and it was perfect.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange par-baked shells on the parchment paper.

In a large pan over medium, heat 1½ teaspoons of oil. And chopped chard and cook, stirring, until wilted – about 3 minutes. Remove chard from pan and set aside. 

Add butter to the pan. When melted, add chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Cook onion over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, until translucent, soft, and sweet. Removed from heat; add to chard and gently toss to combine. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yolks, milk, and cream; salt, pepper, and nutmeg. 
Divide chard mixture between the par-baked pastry shells.  Top each with a sprinkle of cheese and about a tablespoon of egg.  Alternatively, you can stir the vegetables and cheese into the egg mixture and divide evenly among all pastry shells.

Bake for about 14 minutes, until mixture is just set.

Serve warm or at room temperature.
November 12, 2011

An Eco-Friendly Baby Shower

In just a few short weeks, I’m going to be an aunt!  I can’t wait!

Back in September, I helped plan and catered a baby shower for my sister.  The menu was designed to be eco- and pregnancy-friendly, with a focus on high-quality, seasonal, organic ingredients for mama, baby, and guests.

The invitations were printed on recycled paper produced with “100% green hydroelectric power” (great paper and great customer service). 


Beverages were served in mason jars that will be re-used for canning.DSC_0502

The Menu

  • Mini quiche (recipe): whole wheat pastry crust, wilted rainbow chard, caramelized red onions, Cypress Grove “Midnight Moon” goat cheese.
  • Cannellini bean crostini: from dried beans; with rosemary, garlic, extra virgin olive oil,  and sundried tomatoes.
  • Spinach salad: dried cranberries, toasted pumpkin seeds, “Bellavitano Raspberry” cheese, and homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Carrot cake: with cream cheese frosting; made with organic ingredients; icing dyed with natural, vegetable-based food coloring.