15.12.13

Whipped Goat Cheese Crostini with Pancetta & Kale and Rosemary Roasted Pears



Exams. are. done.

I don't know about you, but I need a large glass of wine.

annnnd some party appetizers. Preferably something in small pieces so I can justify the large number of them that I am about to consume in post-exam induced celebratory eating.

And maybe some vegetables and fruit so I can still get my nutrients? But also bacon. And cheese. Definitely cheese.


The idea of whipped goat cheese came to me, like a vision, in a moment of studying procrastination. I don't even remember what I was supposed to be studying, but I was dreaming about an appetizer I could make to bring to a holiday party the day after my last exam. 

Once I had the idea of whipped goat cheese on my brain, I literally could not stop thinking about it. 

On the night before my second exam, I was laying awake in bed dreaming of flavor combinations, asking Adam for ideas.  

He told me go to sleep. 

I was so tired and brain-dead by my next exam, I'm lucky I didn't start writing out recipe directions. 

I have a feeling that would not have gone over well with my professor. 


I have to admit that my weird studying-crazed brain came up with some pretty good flavor combinations. In fact, I'm as obsessed with the toppings as I was with the idea of the whipped goat cheese. 

I knew I wanted a sweet and savory variation, and after my professed love of these rosemary roasted pears, I already knew what the sweet crostini would be.

I used bosc pears, which held up to roasting beautifully, thanks to their firm texture, and their sweetness paired perfectly with the creamy the goat cheese.  


The savory crostini were inspired by Adam. (He did finally give me some ideas after all. I can be devastatingly persistent.)

When asked what he would like to eat on whipped goat cheese crostini, his response was "bacon." When coaxed further, (What about a vegetable?) his response was "spinach."

I opted to use kale instead, because I thought its heartier texture would hold its own with the other ingredients. I also added in some caramelized onions and garlic and used pancetta instead of regular bacon.

These were, I think, the party favorite.  I personally love them both together, mostly because I have one of those weird palates where immediately after eating something savory, I want something sweet, and vice versa. I could go on eating these for a LONG time.


All things considered, these crostini are pretty easy to make.  The whipped goat cheese is simply room temperature goat cheese mixed with half and half, honey, and any other spices you like. While the pears were roasting, I made the pancetta/kale/onion mixture and then all of it was ready around the same time. I put everything into containers, and assembled the crostini at my friend's house for the party.

Also, I know goat cheese is an ingredient that people seem to either love or hate, so if you think these look good sans the goat cheese, try them with whipped feta instead.


Whipped Goat Cheese Crostini with Pancetta & Kale and Rosemary Roasted Pears

Ingredients:
*For the whipped goat cheese:
8 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons half and half, room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
pinch of salt & pepper

For the rosemary roasted pears:
2 Bosc bears, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tbsp olive oil

For the pancetta & kale:
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp garlic
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 small onion
4 ounces pancetta, cubed (I bought this kind)
4 cups kale, cut into very small pieces

1 multi-grain baguette, sliced

*This quantity makes a LOT. If you're making appetizers for less than 12 people, I would halve the the whipped goat cheese recipe.

Directions:
For the rosemary roasted pears:
Preheat oven to 450.

Assemble sliced pears on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary. Bake for about 6 minutes, then remove and flip slices over. Bake for an additional 6 minutes, or until both sides are golden.

For the pancetta & kale:
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until golden and translucent. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and pancetta, and cook until pancetta is browned and has rendered all its fat. Remove onion and pancetta mixture onto a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess fat. Return to pan and add kale. Cook for only a minute or so until kale is soft.

For the whipped goat cheese:
In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese, half and half, and honey. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and any other fresh herbs you like!

For the crostini:
If desired, brush slices of baguette with olive oil and roast in the oven at 450 for 5 minutes. Spread each slice with the whipped goat cheese and top with pears and pancetta/kale mixture.

Whipped Goat Cheese inspired by Giada De Laurentiis.

7 comments:

  1. oh my goodness Aunt Patti would love this!

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    Replies
    1. I will have to make them for her! They would go great with some white wine!

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  2. Aaahhh I'm so happy for you! I can't even imagine how nice it feels to be done with the exams, oh I wish I was you know ; )
    I guess I'll have to keep on going until Friday, when I'm done with mine and get round to make such lovely crostini. These sound fantastic! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Consuelo! Best of luck with the rest of your exams!

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  3. Congratulations on the exam finishing and what a way to celebrate. I love goat cheese but whipped with all the goodies sounds so good.

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  4. YES for being done with exams!! Now go get yourself some wine. :P And a batch of these crostini!! Loving the flavor combos you went with!

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  5. These look delicious! Perfect for our next party. Can't wait to try!

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