I have been blessed to be apart of The Alpha Course for many years, but when Student Alpha started at our high school 3 years ago the blessings were three fold. The collaboration between teachers and parents was so meaningful and in January 2014 we are starting our 4th year. I have met some wonderful people. One in particular, along with her husband, has been instrumental in running Student Alpha at our high school. Recently they offered their home for a Student Alpha planning meeting with the youth minister who has helped us for 3 years and other youth ministers and parents supporting our Student Alpha program .
We had the most amazing dinner! Fellowship and food in one evening is my kind of evening. I was offered this deconstructed appetizer, which comes from Alan Wong’s Pineapple Room in Honolulu, upon arrival. My friends recreated it and I, too, have recreated their recipe.
This amazing crostini starts with olive oil grilled baguette slices and is then topped with basil pesto, olive tapenade, roasted sun dried tomato jam, and goat cheese. Oh it was so so heavenly. So heavenly that I couldn’t wait to try making it at home for my girls. My son just ate the baguette, go figure! We have had it two nights in a row it was so delicious. I will definitely be making this again over the holidays. It is very festive with the colors of the pesto and sun dried tomato jam.
Yes you can buy pesto, olive tapenade and tomato jam but they really are not that hard to whip up and taste so much better than store bought jarred varieties.
Sharing this over the holidays with friends and loved ones will sure to be a conversation starter and a recipe added to your favorites for next Christmas.
1 baguette sliced in 1 -1 1/2 inch pieces
Olive oil for brushing
Pesto, see recipe
Olive Tapenade, see recipe
Sun dried tomato jam, see recipe
Soignon Petite Sainte Maure Goat Cheese, crumbled (I don’t love goat cheese but this brand is yummy and mild)
1. Brush olive oil on baguette slices and grill until crispy and grill marked
2. Make a crostini bar putting everything in separate bowls
3. Guests can layer a little pesto, tomato jam, and tapenade on bread slices and top with cheese
This recipe makes 1 1/3 cups of pesto. Most likely you won’t use it all unless you are serving a lot of people. Save in the fridge to add to pasta, top on fish, or mix into roasted veggies.
3 cloves garlic (I often use only 1 clove because my girls don’t like garlic breath:)
1/2 c pine nuts
2 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded about 2/3 cup
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
3 C loosely packed fresh basil
2/3 C extra virgin olive oil
With food processor running, drop in garlic and finely chop. Stop motor and add nuts, cheese, salt, pepper, and basil and process until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil, blending until incorporated.
1 cup pitted black olives like Kalamata or Nicoise
1 T capers, chopped
1/2 t anchovy paste or 1/2 an anchovy mashed up
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 t fresh thyme
1 t fresh oregano
Salt and pepper
Put all the ingredients except the herbs in a food processor and process until chunky/smooth. I don’t like it completely smooth. Put into bowl and add herbs. Taste and add salt and pepper. Some olives are very salty if in a brine and you may not need any additional salt.
Sun Dried Tomato Jam
We make these with cherry tomatoes cut in 1/2, drizzled with olive oil, salt, dash of sugar, fresh thyme and pepper and roasted in a 250F oven for about 1-2 hours or so until dry and shriveled. If you don’t have time turn the oven up to about 350F and just watch so they don’t get to brown. I like with some brown/black bits though. Time will also vary depending on the size of tomatoes you are using. You can also sprinkle with fresh thyme. Whiz up the tomatoes in food processor until desired consistency.