Sunday, June 22, 2008

crostini with goat cheese, beefsteak tomatoes, & red onion

Crostini with Goat Cheese, Beefsteak Tomatoes, & Red Onion 7

I've been apartment hunting lately. My lease is up at the end of the month, so as a self-confessed apartment committmentaphobe, I've been scouring Seattle-area neighborhoods for something that suits me better. Sure, I have a perfectly nice apartment now -- ample space, a garage, and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen -- but I can't help but wonder, could I do better? Could I live someplace with all of these amenities AND a view? I desperately want an apartment overlooking Lake Washington and the mountains. After all, I'll only be here for a few years and they sure don't have this sort of landscape in the Midwest, so I might as well enjoy it while I can, right? I think so, too, but unfortunately the view I'm after (unobstructed, of course) commands a high price out here -- a minimum of $300 more per month than what I pay now, and with far fewer amenities. I think the view would be worth it, but my inner perfectionist is holding out for that perfect combination of spacious, updated apartment and glorious, panoramic view at a price I can afford. And until then? I think I'll make month-to-month the name of the game....

Yummy, yummy, in my tummy. Will you be having friends over for the Fourth of July? (Or Bastille Day? Or for no particular reason at all?) Then may I humbly suggest this colorful, gone-before-you-know-it appetizer? I promise you'll love it if you give it a try. It's quick and easy and can be made ahead, but the best thing about it is that you can detect the distinct flavor of each individual ingredient. The crunchy toasts, juicy tomatoes, crisp onions, and creamy goat cheese combine for a palate-pleasing appetizer that is also a textural delight. Truly, the only disappointing thing about these for me was that I didn't have anyone to share them with! (So therefore, I will be making them again when I go home in two weeks....)

Crostini with Goat Cheese, Beefsteak Tomatoes, & Red Onion
A recipe from At Home with Magnolia: Classic American Recipes from the Owner of Magnolia Bakery
Serves 6-8

Tomato & Red Onion Topping
2 cups diced and seeded beefsteak tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

24 slices French-bread baguette, 1/3" thick
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 1/2 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, room temperature

To Make the Tomato & Red Onion Topping:
Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl until well blended. Let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

To Make the Crostini:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil with the garlic. Brush the top side of each baguette slice generously with the oil and garlic mixture. Bake until crisp and lightly golden, about 12 minutes.

Remove from oven and transfer baguette slices to a large platter. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the goat cheese onto each slice and then top with about 1 tablespoon of the tomato-onion topping. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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