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Easy Crostini

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I have a confession. As much as I enjoy cooking and sharing recipes, and even as confident as I’ve become in my cooking ability during the past few years, I still panic when I have to take food to someone’s home.

Recently, my Sunday school class provided three days worth of dinners to a couple with a new baby. When I signed up, the only open spot was for a side item on a day when the main meal was going to be potato soup. Ahhhhhhh!!! Of course that would happen to me. What was I going to send to go with soup other than a big, boring salad? (Side note… I can’t stand making salad. It just doesn’t peak my culinary interest.)

So, as often happens in these situations, Kenley stepped in with a great suggestion. Little toasts was her answer to my dilemma, otherwise known as crostini.  As it turns out, crostini, according to Wisegeek, actually means “little toasts.” They are made by thinly slicing bread and toasting or grilling the slices so they become crispy. As often as I’ve enjoyed crostini on the side of an order of soup at Jason’s Deli or The Loop, I never thought about making them myself.  But, at Kenley’s urging, I did and they were yummy. I even slipped a few out of the container when I was on the way to drop them off. (I just couldn’t resist!) Here’s how to make them:

Easy Crostini
Loaf of French Bread (I used Pepperidge Farm because it was small in diameter, so toasts were the size you see in restaurants)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Ground black pepper
Shredded cheese (I used Cheddar, but Parmesan would be great too)

Thinly slice your bread so that it will become crispy when cooked. Combine olive oil, salt and pepper to taste in a ramekin or bowl. Lightly brush the oil on each piece. Using too much could make the bread soggy. Bake the bread according the the package directions. Mine said to bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. That was perfect for these pieces. Remove the bread from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle a small amount of cheese on each one and put them back in the oven on broil, only long enough to melt the cheese. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container. They’re good for several days.

My tips: I’m sure there are a million different ways to make these, but this is what worked for me. Also, you could leave off the cheese and serve them with a delicious goat cheese spread. I’ll round up a good goat cheese spread recipe and share it with you soon. If you’ve got one I need to try, send it to me and I’ll post it for everyone to enjoy.

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