Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Earth Day Event at Bella Toccare Spa



To celebrate Earth Day, my former boss and friend, Jeanne McCarthy-Caparso, now owner of the beautiful Bella Toccare de Spa and Salon in Brecksville, asked if I would provide some appetizers for a fund-raiser event to benefit the Ohio River Foundation.

When I think spring, I think fresh and green, and nothing says fresh and green like peas and mint. At first I was thinking about doing pea soup shots, but inspiration struck the day before the event and I created this crostini:

Fresh Pea and Mint Crostini - Dine-In Diva Personal Chef Service

1 cup fresh peas, shelled (or sub frozen, thawed)
2 T. fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. blanched, raw almonds
2 T. grated Parmesano-Reggiano Cheese (use the good stuff)
1 t. freshly grated lemon zest
3-6 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. fresh ricotta cheese
1 baguette
couple of tablespoons of olive oil
Fresh mint and lemon zest, for garnish

Combine peas, mint, lemon juice and zest, almonds, a 2 T evoo in food processor. Process until combined and chopped. Stream in a little more oil if it’s too thick.

Thinly slice the baguette, brush with olive oil and toast in preheated 375 oven 6-10 minutes or ‘til toasted.

Spread a little ricotta on the toasts, and top with the pea pesto. Garnish with chopped fresh mint and lemon zest, if desired.



For something a little sweet, I made brownie bites and topped them with a little Strawberry Hot Pepper Jelly, a strawberry half, then brushed with more jelly. A little bite of sweet heat. I also made grape skewers with Limoncello Vanilla Syrup.



To carry the spring theme, I made this goat cheese pesto spread and surrounded it with a "nest" of fresh thyme sprigs. This would look extra cute if some if some of the cheese mixture was reserved prior to mixing in the pesto, then rolled into egg shapes to place on top.

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