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by on February 22nd, 2013

Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta & Aviation Cocktail for “SNS”

Sunday night supper and a cocktail.

There are two couples we usually go out with on Friday nights and on occasion we do dinner together on Sunday night. This has come to be called “Sunday Night Supper” and we all love to be invited to Sunday Night Supper because that means another night we do not have to cook. It’s fun to go to each other’s houses and see what’s cooking and how the table is going to be decorated.

I usually have confidence in what I’m cooking but never been that great at setting a great looking table. This past Sunday night we hosted SNS and even though there was just a little chill in the air and not a cold wintery night I decided to do a chowder for the main course.

Our evening started with cocktails out on the deck. I had spread one of my French square table toppers (that I had picked up in France) out on my teak table. Cocktail of the night was a once obscure drink, Aviation cocktail, made with Bombay gin, marachino cherry liquier (clear) and creme de violet (purple) and lemon juice and that was shook into a fantastic before dinner cocktail to go with the Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta and my White Bean Hummus. For my salad dressing I used Ina Garten’s Champagne Vinaigrette and the salad consisted of baby arugula, baby spinach, some mixed greens and a whole carton of pea shoots. I also added avocado, some toasted walnuts and some paper thin julienned slices of jicama. I was able to buy all the greens in bulk so I could get a handful of this and that.

When it came to dessert I knew exactly what I wanted to make (Cherry Couflatis) so I went to Sur la Table to buy more of the creme brulee type dishes. I had two but needed four more. Then I was surprised to find that cherries were out of season. But that didn’t stop me because I knew I still had a freezer full of blackberries and blueberries I had picked last summer and after adding a carton of fresh raspberries to the mix I came up with Mixed Berry Couflatis and it was delicious topped with whipped cream that was beaten at our table in a copper bowl my sister had given me. Normally I’m lazy and don’t want to drag out my mixer and get it dirty and I try to whip by hand. I always make sure my husband is nearby so I can pass the bowl to him for a few seconds so the arm can rest. So the whipping process started it as usual but the arm doesn’t last that long so we just passed the bowl around the table and everyone gave it a few whips until we had a delicious almond flavored cream to top the dessert.

The tomato Crostini was so delicious and it’s going on my list as “appetizer of the day” at the beach this summer.

So, the final menu:

Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta (Ina Garten)

White Bean Hummus with Veggies 

Aviation Cocktail 

Green Salad with Champagne Vinagirette (Ina Garten)

Sausage and Bean Chowder

Homemade Cornbread (my mother’s recipe)

Mixed Berry Clafoutis

I love this Epi loaf of bread; it is suppose to resemble a wheat stalk.  That’s going on my list of “to makes”.

Sorry about picture quality. I was using my point and shoot and it was after 6:00 outside and I had adjustments set wrong I guess.

Cocktail outside with the apps.

One of my Xmas gifts add some spark to the outside cocktail scene.

White bean hummus along with some French breakfast radishes, sugar snap peas, baby carrots and celery.

My table. See the little chick salt and peppers. I picked those up in France. Sure hope I don’t break them because they are so cute.

Sausage and bean chowder. I doubled the recipe for six of us and had about 4 bowls left by the time we were done.

I love my cactus cornbread pans and the corn sticks are always cute.

Sorry about the blown out looking picture. Don’t know what happened. Just wanted you to see the mixed berries. I do think I favor this over the traditional all cherry clafoutis recipe.

Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta

6 ounces good feta, crumbled
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup good olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced shallots (2 shallots)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
2 pounds ripe heirloom or cherry tomatoes, 1/2-inch-diced
3 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving
20 to 25 (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal baguette slices, toasted
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

For the whipped feta, place the feta and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the cheeses are mixed. Add 1/3 cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and process until smooth.

For the tomatoes, up to an hour before you’re serving, combine the shallots, garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the tomatoes, stir gently, and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and taste for seasonings.

To assemble the crostini, spread each slice of bread with a generous amount of whipped feta. With a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes on top. Put the crostini on plates and scatter with the pine nuts. Sprinkle with extra basil and serve.

Aviation Cocktail

2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur (clear)
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz. creme de violet
ice to shake
maraschino cherry to garnish

Mix the gin, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice and creme de violet in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for a couple of minutes, strain into martini glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry or lemon peel.

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