Sunday, August 26, 2012

Crostini

One of the things that pains me the most about being a foodie is the unavailability of some produce and ingredients in our dear city, perhaps even in our dear country. For example, I have looked almost everywhere in grocery stores for Agave sugar and I haven't been lucky. I can't seem to find Agave anywhere! I tried in our local baking supplies store, none; in the massive supermarket by our main road, nada. Maybe I'm going to the wrong places, would any of my Manila-bound readers know where I can find my Agave sugar? I would be able to post some real good and healthy desserts for it!

Aside from Agave, for the past three weeks, there has been a dry spell for basil. I couldn't find fresh basil anywhere! Not only have our loyal customers been asking for Pesto, I personally miss the fragrance of the leaf enveloping our kitchen. Finally this morning, when mother and I went to the Sunday market, we finally found basil but at an unreal cost. What was usually sold at 120 to at most 180 pesos per kilo, was a whopping 350 pesos a kilo. What. Perhaps it was due to the storm and all the basil plants were washed out? Oh, how painful.

Needless to say, we had to buy before it goes on a strike again. We can't help it, basil, to my family at least has been the staple herb in the kitchen. We use it for pasta dishes, salad dressings, sandwiches, paninis, we even use the water we wash basil off as a house spray to ward off creepy crawlies (they hate the smell!)! To celebrate our mini reunion, I thought to prepare a lazy Sunday afternoon snack: Crostinis.


Crostini is Italian for "little toasts" and it's pretty easy to see why. Crostinis, usually served as appetizers or canapés at parties, are made of bread with small toppings that vary according to tastes. Sometimes they can be served with just butter with a pâté or dip on the side. It can be as simple with just a slice of cheese, as luxurious served with caviar, or as elaborate as adding truffle, olives and tomatoes in a tiny piece of toast.

For my go-to crostini, I opt to keep it simple but flavourful with basil, tomatoes and cheeses. I won't post a measured recipe, just estimate how much you'll need like a handful of basil or a couple of chopped tomatoes enough to cover your bread slices. You can even create your own!



You could slice or chop away but I took advantage of the food processor. Add some salt, pepper, chili, whatever really! You might even want to splash a little Balsamic vinegar like I did for that extra kick! ;)


Butter the slices (or drizzle with olive oil) for added flavour and crunch!


Top with the cheese and bake at 300 degrees until the cheese melts and the bread is toasty.

Lookie at my Deathly Hallows nail art! :D
I always enjoy crostinis for their simplicity and ready-to-eat quality soon as they're out of the oven. Just pop one in your mouth really. In fact, Italians in the Middle Ages ate these using the bread as the silverware, or would eat it due to the lack of silverware! A word of caution however, you might tend to eat a lot since they're just "small pieces" but don't go blaming me - they're much too good and easy!

As ever,
Isobel

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