Mushroom Crostini

To go along with the bacon crostini I also did a mushroom crostini with the mushrooms we grew out of that kit.  This is also very easy to make and has a wonderful earthy flavour.

I chopped up the mushrooms.  Here I used shiitake and oyster mushrooms.  I also used garlic and lemon thyme.

I saute these ingredients in olive oil.  You could use butter if that is your preference. Once the mushrooms start to brown a bit I then put in some very dry sherry.  1/4-1/2 cup depending on the taste you are looking for.  While these are cooking toast up some crostinis with olive oil.

Spoon on and enjoy!  This takes less than twenty minutes to make so is a great dish when you are in a rush.

Bacon Crostini

One of the things we learned at the cooking class we took in Tuscany was crostinis.  Easy to make and great for a light meal or starters.  My husband makes amazing bread and he did up the baguettes for this.  Unfortunately I was at work so I don’t have any photos.  When I make them I will do a post.

To start I gathered some fresh rosemary from the garden.

Then I chopped up some bacon and onion.  The bacon is nitrate free that we can get at our grocery store.

I start rendering the bacon first, once there is enough bacon fat I through in the onions and rosemary to cook through.  To deglaze the pan and add flavour I usually splash in a bit of white balsamic vinegar.  It’s not real balsamic obviously but that’s what it says on the label.  I got distracted and splashed in dry sherry instead.  Fortunately it worked just as well.

While this is cooking put some olive oil on the sliced bread and toast.  Top the crostini and enjoy!

I usually do a decent batch of this because it is so delicious.  This is very good paired with a chablis or pinot grigio.

Tuscany

In a recent post I mentioned going to Italy on our honeymoon and enjoying a private cooking lesson.  The place we had a cooking lesson was at Cassafrassi just north of Sienna.  The rooms were clean and basic but the view and the wine were out of this world.  A type of wine you can get over there is a Super Tuscan and that blend is by far my favourite.  We occasionally find it stateside but it’s not easy.

As soon as we arrived they asked if we would like a wine tasting and an olive oil tasting.  They had three wines and one olive oil.  We started off with a basic Chianti that the local farmers would have with their lunch.  It was inexpensive and went well with bread and cheese.  The next wine was a Chianti Classico and was lovely.  The gentleman pouring the wine said the first wine was good for hard work, the second for eating with, then he introduced the Super Tuscan and said this was for meditating with.  Oh my!  It was smooth and delicious.  Then we tried the olive oil.  It was interesting as I don’t normally have olive oil straight!  I can’t say I would rush out and do it again but it was good to do so I knew what I was putting in my food.

We then asked if it was ok to walk around with a glass of wine.  But of course!  My kind of place.  So we each got a glass of the Super Tuscan and I grabbed my camera for our walkabout.  This place has plenty of grapes and olive groves to wander through.

During the day looking out at this view it felt like it’s been this way for hundreds of years.  Only at night when the lights come on do you get a feel for any modernization.  Just to the left of where we were standing is a home for the caretaker.  At the time it was a couple from London who came to oversee the vineyard and grove.  To be able to wake up to this every morning!

The olive harvest would have happened a few weeks after we were there.

The grape harvest was complete at this time but the vines were still beautiful.

We live in New England and I wish rosemary was a perennial here.  So I was a little envious of all the rosemary we came across.

If we magically win the lottery we would love to buy a place like this.  It was amazing.