Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Impromptu Appetizer

I love the cookbook The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. It provided a lot of inspiration and knowledge. I am a huge supporter of the library and I love to check books out weekly. (This love is being passed down to London who now looks forward to taking her books back and getting new ones.) I find it really nice to be able to check out cookbooks. You never know if you are going to like recipes in cookbooks until you actually get to look and try some of the recipes. Checking them out gives you a chance to make and experiment with the ones you like. If you end up not being able to live without it then you can go and buy the book. In this specific cookbook I found many recipes that I loved and have now added to my menus. The one that stands out is a Panini with roasted veggies and pesto sauce. (Yummmm, I know.) The other night we were going over to my sister-in-laws house and I didn't have enough bread to make Panini for everyone so I decided to try it differently. I made them into a sort of crostini appetizer. I usually like to make my own bread when I make the Panini but this time I just used store bought French bread.

sliced bread, an Italian loaf or French bread works great, but if making smaller crostini then a Baguette would work great.
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow zucchini squash
Olive oil
salt and pepper
a bit of red onion sliced thin
1 sliced avocado
1 sliced tomato
a few tbsp balsamic vinegar
pesto, preferably homemade
sliced Muenster cheese
Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat your oven to 400. Slice your red pepper and zucchini squash and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until tender and a little browned. I like to shake the pan and flip the squash after about 10 minutes.

Take out and start to assemble your crostini. Spray a baking sheet with some Pam. Place slices of bread on the pan. Take a brush and lightly brush the bread with the balsamic. Then spread some pesto. Then layer tomato, red bell pepper, squash, avocado, onion and then top with both cheeses. (You can also now grind some more fresh pepper on top.) Place back in the oven until the cheese starts to melt. Then, I turned on the broiler and watched as the cheese started to bubble and turn a little golden. You really need to just watch so you don't burn the cheese or bread. Take out and serve. I also think next time I will bake these on the pizza pan so that the bottom of the bread is crunchier. You decide and experiment at home! Enjoy!

This would be great as an appetizer, or to turn it back into a Panini just place a slice of bread on top, brush both sides of sandwich with some olive oil and place in a Panini press. London loves these and the taste of the pesto in combination with the balsamic and veggies with a little bit of cheese is just heaven to me.


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