My sister has her Christmas tree up.
I still have my bikinis and jean shorts on the ready.
The last few months have been a whirlwind. This is the first weekend I’ve had in Chicago since mid-August. But it’s not that. I’m in some time warp – I keep waiting for April to show up. And I don’t know when I’ll digest it all and catch up.
And this isn’t a complaint – it’s been amazing. I’ve been to Italy and NYC and Nantucket and Canada and so many places in between.
But I feel like Finding Nemo – I just keep swimming. I can’t slow down. It gives me anxiety to think about sitting still. I’m not ready for the holidays, but I’m in need of the holidays. For days like today that are cozy on the couch laughing with the girls. For hosting friends. For days full of cooking. For so much family time with the Griswolds. For all the chaos the holidays bring, it’s the most comforting kind of chaos – and I need it, maybe more than ever.
I had friends over this weekend before a late night birthday dinner and cooked up these little gems to hold us over until the big meal. I love crostinis. They’re a little more something special than cheese and crackers (although, it’s not a party without charcuterie), they’re versatile, easy to make, easy to eat and hearty enough for an appetizer.
I know people are all like, ugh I don’t eat appetizers before a Thanksgiving size meal. Those people are amateurs and can’t be trusted.
You can add heavy cream and cream cheese to the goat cheese and honey and whip it to make it creamier, but – and I won’t pretend these are “healthy – that makes it a bit heavier in my mind so I skipped and mixed the honey and goat cheese on their own to infuse the flavors together.
A must: toast the pecans. It’s easy to do and adds this amazing roasted flavor that pairs well with the sweetness of honey and tartness of honeycrisp apples.
Plus, everyone’s running out to buy pecans for pie (because thanksgiving without pecan pie is like christmas without a tree or the fourth of july without fireworks or mondays without wine. you get me). Pecans are harvested this time of year so they’re in abundance and add a buttery, sweet, crunchy flavor to every dish.
- Toasted Pecans:
- 1/3 cup pecan pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 french baguette
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 4 ounces of goat cheese (I used a 6-inch log but had leftovers)
- 1 tablespoon honey, plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 honey crisp apple, sliced into pieces
- 1/3 cup pecan pieces
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- In a small bowl, add pecans, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix until combined. Place on cookie sheet and roast for15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Place the baguette slices on a cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, until crisp.
- Using a mixer (or blender), add goat cheese and honey, Mix until combined. It will be crumbly.
- Spread goat cheese on toasted baguette slices. Top with toasted pecan pieces, honey crisp apple slices and drizzle with honey. Serve warm.