Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Guest Post: by the talented Javelin W.

Plated Crostni Version 2

Hello readers of A Cup of Mai!  I'm Javelin and I am the author of Cookin w/ Luv.   Mai has invited me to guest blog on her gorgeous site.

Hi, my name's Javelin Warrior and I have an addiction.  Actually, I'm addicted to two devilish foods: Bread (my absolute favorite thing to eat) followed very closely by my second favorite food, Cheese.

This is no exaggeration as I would happily eat a slice of warm bread with a smear of melting butter before ever taking a slice of pie (or a piece of chocolate for that matter). And I'll always reach for a home-baked roll at the Thanksgiving table long before I go in search of turkey. In fact, my one true nemesis to ultimate healthfulness is my addiction to bread.

Homemade Baguettes

An addiction only slightly more powerful than my obsession with cheese.

When I was in high school, I used to buy bags of Kraft cheese cubes, sneak off to my room, and devour the entire bag before dinner. And sadly, despite having matured (aged) a few years, I really haven't done much to curb my obsession. When appetizers are served at parties, I'm instinctively drawn to the platter of sliced cheese - and only the fear of being branded as a glutton keeps me from carrying off the platter to devour in privacy! 

Yet bread and cheese are wickedly fattening, especially when paired together - which is of course my favorite way to eat them. But out of respect and love for my body and the health of those I cook for, I try to restrain my enthusiasm for these two addictive foods by serving only in moderation.

And moderation really was the driving force behind this crostini recipe. This is my controlled method of doling out precise quantities of toasted bread and melted cheese - piled high with healthful roasted vegetables to alleviate guilt. 

Roasted Root Veggies V2

Quite frankly, these crostini are so good you may be tempted by the roasted root vegetables into believing you're gorging on something healthful - except with all that bread and cheese, we both know it's a delusion! In fact, I find it's best to plan EXACTLY how many crostini to make before beginning, otherwise I find myself with a whole sheet pan of crostini goodness and only my boyfriend to help me scarf them down.

Although these crostini would make a lovely appetizer or a side for soup, I rarely eat them as anything but a entree served with perhaps a greens salad. These toasted devils are a fairly well-rounded meal in and of themselves and if I'm feeling a bit low on protein for the day, I may pair with a small handful of roasted almonds (8-10). If you REALLY want to show some love for health, serve these along side seasoned black beans or salted edamame. The goodness of the beans just might cancel out all that cheesy toasted bread badness. Might.

Before we get to the recipe, I should be upfront about the ingredients. These crostini are ridiculously easy if:
  1. You have stale baguettes lying about (I prefer homemade baguettes and there are a lot of loving reasons to make them yourself
  2. You make your own mayonnaise (it's easy and so much more flavorful than the bottled variety) 
  3. You have leftover roasted root vegetables hanging about in your fridge (I shared a recipe for roasted root vegetables last week)
The homemade mayonnaise, crusty baguettes and tangy roasted vegetables are utterly irresistible when topped with melted cheese. So brace yourself and warn your guests - you WILL be rationing these out. Because bread and cheese is addictive, because healthfulness is important, and because you love your guests.

I attempt to keep all of my recipes more healthful by eliminating transfats, artificial dyes and flavorings, preservatives, and pre-prepared shortcuts. However, this recipe still contains a great deal of fat and carbs and is NOT a health-conscious food. Out of respect and love for your own body (and for those you cook for), please exercise restraint when consuming crostini!

Plated Crostini Along Side Almonds

Crostini with Roasted Root Vegetables
By JavelinWarrior
Prep Time: 10 min  Bake Time: 5 min  Oven Temp: 475℉

Ingredients


Technique

  1. Preheat oven to 475℉
     
  2. Arrange baguette slices on a large baking sheet (or two smaller sheets), add vegetables to a large, shallow oven-safe baking dish and place both vegetables and baguette slices in oven for 3-4 minutes - watch carefully to be sure baguette slices do not burn!

    Homemade Baguette SlicesSliced Baguette Ready for Toasting
    Roasted Root VegetablesRoasted Root Vegetables in Oven
     
  3. Remove baguette slices and vegetables from oven; transfer baguette slices off baking sheet to prevent over-toasting and spread each baguette slice with mayonnaise; return baguettes slices back to cooling baking sheet

    Toasted Baguette SlicesToasted Baguette Slices w/ Mayonnaise
     
  4. Top each baguette slice with roasted vegetables and sprinkle cheese over top of vegetables; place sheet of crostini to the oven for 2-3 minutes until cheese has melted; serve immediately
  5. Baguette Topped w/ Roasted Root VegetablesCrostini Topped with Cheeses Cheese Melted over CrostiniPlated Crostni Version 2
Tips
  • I've shared recipes for making homemade baguettes and mayonnaise - and I really recommend going the homemade route. I know, I know - we're all busy and baking your own baguettes or making your own mayonnaise is time-consuming, out of touch, and perhaps even daunting - but adding a few versatile recipes to your weekly routine (like baguettes and mayonnaise) is completely doable - and can really elevate so many different recipes

    Homemade BaguettesHomemade Mayonnaise
     
  • You really cannot make finished crostini in advance - once the cheese hardens and the vegetables cool, these crusty munchies lose their appeal. So if you're serving as an appetizer for a crowd of guests, prep everything in advance (slice the baguettes, grate the cheese, measure out the vegetables, etc) but wait until your guests have arrived before toasting off the bread and melting the cheese
     
  • As you can see by the pictures, I usually halve or quarter this recipe as there are generally only two of us eating the final result - I find 4 crostini per person is about right if I'm serving as an entree with perhaps a side salad. If I'm serving as a appetizer, I would allow 2 crostini per person. As a side to a soup or other entree, I would probably serve just one crostini
     
  • Don't skip the mayonnaise! The creamy tanginess of the homemade mayonnaise is a surprising note against the dryness of the toasted baguette and the complex flavors of the roasted vegetables. In fact, if you want to cut calories, skimp a bit on the cheese because it really it's not the star ingredient with these crostini

    Grated Parmesan Cheese


Huge thanks to Mai for having me as a guest!




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8 comments:

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

lovely post!... I love the idea of simple root veg on toast, with lashings of cheese of course!... and what a delightful blog you have Mai x

simplyvonne said...

oh yummmyyyy!!! everything look so delish! i need to get my butt to the kitchen and cook more often! :D

Javelin Warrior said...

Mai, thank you again so much for having me today - it really was a lot of fun and a great honor to be included in your lovely blog...

Tina said...

Glad to you guest posting, it is a fun thing to do every once in a while.
You have brought a gem of an appetizer here! I am ashamed to say that I have way to many different cheeses in the fridge. It is definitely to the overboard point.
Seeing how you offset the guilt of cheese by adding the roasted veggies for these crostini does sound like a great idea.
Yes, I do agree that cutting corners with the store bought mayo would be a mistake. Tasty post.

Alida said...

What a lovely post! Interesting recipe and very creative too. Love the photographs too!

Gloria said...

Lovely and nice post !

The city of Blinding lights said...

Hi ! Fine blog ! So amazing !
Come to visit and follow mine... I'll follow you back !

xo xo
http://the-city-of-bl.blogspot.com/

Lizzy said...

So nice to find your blog via Javelin Warrior :) Off to look around~

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