May 18, 2011

The big game

IPL is as exciting as it is superficial; it is as competitive and fierce as it is communal…but what it definitely is is that it is here to stay in the long run. I think all of us today suffer from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) to a certain extent. Maybe its ‘cos of the curse of technology, which enables us to do everything at 1/100th of the time, or maybe its ‘cos we simply don’t care to stop and stare…

I’m sounding cynical, jaded and confused all at once aren’t I? Okay, so the basic point of this post is the T:20 format of cricket and since Chennai is taking on Kochi today, no prizes for guessing what my attention will be on 8.00 pm onwards.
A good friend of mine very graciously has brought down a couple of bottles of amazing white wine – one a nice, crisp Sauvignon Blanc and another white – which is fruity and sparkly, with top notes of citrus and berry. So today is match watching, wine-drinking, hors d'œuvres day…here are a few recipes:

Tomato, Avocado, Goat Cheese Crostini
·         1 loaf baguette bread
·         2 teaspoons garlic, minced
·         1/3 cup olive oil
·         2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
·         4 ounces mild goat cheese
·         1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
·         Freshly squeezed lemon juice
·         1 1/2 cups Roma tomatoes, seeded, diced 1/4-inch
·         2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
·         1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
·         1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
·         1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
·         Small basil leaves for garnish

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice bread into 1/4-inch thick diagonal slices. If you're working with a large loaf, you'll then want to halve each slice again.

In small bowl, combine garlic and olive oil. Brush bread slices lightly with garlic oil mixture. Arrange on sheet pans in a single layer. Bake crostini approximately 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and let cool. NOTE: These can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container. Be sure to let cool completely before storing.

In medium-sized bowl combine avocados, goat cheese, and 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt. Mix until smooth. NOTE: Add a little fresh lemon juice to prevent the avocado from browning. In separate bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, pepper, and basil. To serve, spread each crostini with approximately 1 tablespoon of avocado mixture, then top with tomato-basil mixture. Garnish with small basil leaves if desired. Place on a large serving plate. Try not to top too far ahead of serving, as the bread can get soggy.

Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe
·         24 large mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
·         3 tablespoons butter
·         1 medium-size onion, chopped
·         2 cloves garlic, minced
·         1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
·         1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened and cut into pieces
·         1/2 cup (2 ounces) blue cheese, softened and cut into pieces*
·         1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
·         2 tablespoons cream sherry or port wine (optional)
·         Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove stems from mushrooms; chop finely and set aside. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add chopped mushroom stems, onions, and garlic. Saute approximately 5 to 6 minutes or until onions are translucent.

Reduce heat to low; add parsley, cream cheese, blue cheese, lemon juice, and cream sherry or port. Stir until cheeses are melted and well blended. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon cheese mixture into the mushroom caps, filling generously. Place stuffed mushroom caps on a baking sheet with sides. Bake approximately 8 to 10 minutes until mushrooms are cooked and cheese is melted. Remove from heat and place mushrooms on a large serving plate or platter. Serve immediately.

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