A few weeks ago I had my friends, Kate and Emily over for dinner. It’s always great to catch up with friends over good food and conversation, so I try to do these types of gatherings rather often. These two gals worked for me when they were students at Drake so it’s been really fun to watch them evolve from young college kids to successful professionals.
In addition to socializing, I really enjoy trying new foods and new ideas for my gatherings. For this particular event I wanted something easy and fun so I did a DIY Crostini Buffet. This was relatively healthy, minus the whipped feta, but it was a special occasion so it’s ok to splurge every now and then. This was also very quick and it allowed Kate and Emily to try new foods, like olives, which is always fun! So many of my friends have never had olives which baffles me since it’s actually a favorite food.
Here’s a quick how-to if you want to do a crostini buffet for your next gathering.
What You’ll Need:
Bread: baguettes usually work best. If you can find whole wheat, perfect. If not, it will be ok this one time.
Fruit: I used tomatoes, peaches, and bananas but other fruits that might work include pears, apples, and berries.
Cheese: I made whipped feta (recipe below). I also had a sharp cheddar, blue cheese crumbles, and swiss on hand.
Meat: entirely optional but I have a weakness for salami
Dressing: Reduced balsamic vinegar and honey
Random Treats: Things I didn’t put on the crostini but used as a side included dried apricots and olives
Oils: I used extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil to prep the bread.
To make the crostini:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Slice the bread to a desired thickness and brush either EVOO or coconut oil on either side. I used EVOO for a majority of the bread and coconut oil for the ones reserved for desserts. I definitely recommend using coconut oil for any kind of dessert crostini as it gives it a slightly sweeter flavor.
Put the bread on a baking sheet and bake each side for about 5 minutes or until crisp but not browned.
To make the whipped feta:
Most recipes on the web for whipped feta are a combination of feta crumbles and cream cheese. I ended up doing crème fraîche, feta crumbles, and honey. I don’t really like cream cheese and because this was my first time making whipped feta I didn’t want to risk using Greek yogurt in the event it might not work and my crostini night would be a disaster. I’ve already had one Greek yogurt substitution disaster which happened last Thanksgiving and I don’t want to relive it again, especially in front of friends. More on that later.
Combine 1/4 cup of crème fraîche and 3/4 of a cup of feta crumbles in food processor. Mix well and then add 2 T of honey if you want a slightly sweeter flavor.
To reduce balsamic vinegar:
This is still somewhat of a challenge for me as I don’t alway time it right to get the consistency I desire (think maple syrup). It is a wonderful way to top a crostini so I highly recommend you include this if you do a crostini buffet. Check out Joyful Healthy Eats for an easy how-to.
This is where the fun comes in! I let Kate and Emily put together all sorts of combinations which you can see from the photos below. We saved the coconut oil crostini for a little Nutella banana treat.
What are your favorite ways to entertain? Do you like to use traditional foods or do you use entertaining as a way to try something new?