Have you ever done one of those Paint and Sip parties? We did one recently in the White Mountains. The cute little girl in the middle is the teacher, Rachel. She had a lot to handle with a bunch of crazy people who can’t paint! But I think we all did a great job, and everyone was quite surprised at their creations….if you ever get a chance to do one of these parties, do it! And while we are on the subject of parties, here are three of the appetizers I made for the night:In the middle are Ina Garten’s nuts, which I blogged a couple of months ago. The 3 toppings I made (and all can be made the day before), are Walnut Pesto, Creamy mushroom, and Blistered garlic tomatoes.
This is the first time I have ever made pesto with any other nut than Pine nuts. But I’ve been noticing lots of cooking shows using different nuts (and even different greens). So I went for it, and it was a hit!
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. fresh garlic cloves
1/2 cup walnuts
About 1/2 cup olive oil, drizzled in while whirring in food processor. Keep drizzling till your pesto is spreadable. Taste for correcting seasoning. I even drizzled a little extra oil over the toasts.
In a skillet, saute about 1/2 lb. chopped baby portobellos in 2 Tbs. butter and 2 Tbs. olive oil, with 1-2 tsp crushed garlic. Simmer till almost dry, then add 1/2 cup cream and 2 Tbs. sherry wine. (You can substitute any kind of mushrooms you like. I often mix them). Cook till liquid evaporates, but mixture is easy to spread on toasts. (warm them first if you like)
“BLISTERED” GARLIC TOMATOES
1 box small cherry tomatoes (get some really good ones for this. )
1-2 tsp. crushed garlic
In a skillet, toss tomatoes and garlic in some olive oil. As they simmer, they will get very juicy. As soon as they start to ‘burst’, place skillet in a 425 degree oven, and cook till they begin to brown and toast. (probably 10-15 minutes. Watch them!)
Now, drop a couple of little tomatoes on each toast. (sometimes I spread homemade ricotta cheese on the toast first). OR, you could toast the toasts with a little cheese first, to make a wonderful tomato-cheese app. Ask me how I know!!