A Quick, Easy, and Impressive Appetizer for your Next Dinner Party

This is my go-to-recipe for a quick appetizer at a basic dinner party where I am serving French, Italian or good old-fashioned American food. I also will bring this over to a friend’s house at the last minute. This recipe is easy to make ahead, just don’t assemble the crostini until a few minutes before your guests arrive.

I also find that Grand Padano cheese is an adequate substinute for the Parmesan cheese in a pinch.This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found on the Food Network website, by Giada Di Laurentis. You can find the original recipe here.

Green Pea Pesto Crostini

Adapted from a recipe by Giada Di Laurentis

1 (10-ounce) package defrosted frozen peas

2 garlic cloveImage

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

If you are making crostini, you’ll need :

1 skinny baguette of good French or Italian bread, it’s ok if it’s a little stale

1/3 cup olive oil

8 cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 small tomato, diced

Otherwise, just use your favorite unseasoned cracker.

In a food processor bowl with a mixing blade or in the blender add the defrosted peas. Put the garlic through a garlic press or finely dice and smash with the side of a knife until a paste. Add garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to the bowl. Pulse ingredients while drizzling in olive oil. Blend until it becomes a paste and you can no longer recognize individual peas. Add more salt and pepper as needed.

For the crostini:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the baguette into ½ inch thick slices. I try to slice it on the diagonal, so I get more surface area to spread the yummy pesto. Brush each slice with a little olive oil, I like to do both sides, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes turning over crostini half way through the cooking time.

Take out and allow to cool.

To serve I like to use a small ice cream scoop, around 1 ½ tablespoons to add pesto to the crostini. Add ½ a cherry tomota to the top, pressing down slightly.

As an alternative for a casual party, serve pesto in a bowl with a small knife for spreading with your favorite cracker.



Entertaining at home can be fun

Klaus and Kathy

Klaus and Kathy

I admit it. I really enjoy entertaining friends and family at home. It wasn’t always that way. I used to get so stressed out about having people over to the house. Between the menu planning, shopping, cleaning and cooking,  I was so frazzled and stressed out, I was snapping at my husband, and my kids hid in their rooms. By the time guests arrived, I was almost in tears, but this has changed, and you can change too!

Now, when people come over they remark on how easy I make it look, or they pull out the camera to take photos of my plating. Sometimes they want recipes, but most of all they take home tips for easy entertaining at home.

And that’s what I would like to share with you. Tips, tricks, recipes and menu plans, but mostly a philosophy  that will make entertaining at home pleasurable and memorable for both you and your guests. Hopefully we can all swap ideas and share the wealth, because sharing dinner with friends and family is priceless.

So check back in from time to time to see what’s new, but especially check back in when you’re planning you your next dinner party!


Kathy Hofmann