Game Day Eats: Pear, Gorgonzola & Bacon Toasts

It's sooooo rainy and humid and disgusting here on the East coast. It's one of those days that makes me want to stay in bed with a cup of tea, some good reality TV and the air conditioning blasting. Yep, I'm still rocking my air conditioning. I simply cannot sleep while it's hot in my apartment. And I simply cannot bear the though of wearing rain boots while it's so warm outside. Ick.

Anyway.

 

You all know about my love for football Sundays. I love the constant of it. I know that it will always be a relaxing day where Shaun and I make time to just relax, geting dooded up in our respective team jerseys and making a yummy spread of food. I also like to use it as an excuse to try some new dishes! So often I get caught up in my usual favorites; pizza dip, mini hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls (yup, we go there) and simple chips and onion dip.

This past week, I decided to change it up a bit. I threw together these pear, gorgonzola and bacon toasts in no time. The toasts are quickly cooked in the oven, while the rest comes together in a snap.

Creamy, sharp gorgonzola, crunchy toast, sweet juicy pears and turkey bacon crumbles...what could be better?

Pear, Gorgonzola & Bacon Toasts
*Adapted from Food Network Magazine
**Makes a lot of toasts

1 baguette
1-2 fresh pears, cored and sliced
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 oz gorgonzola crumbles (about half of a container)
2 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
olive oil
kosher salt
pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the baguette, spread out on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 7-10 minutes until baguette is toast-like. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet or microwave until slightly crispy and crumbled. Drain on a paper towel and set aside. Mix together the gorgonzola and cream cheese; season with salt and pepper. Cut up the pear into small slices. Take out the toasts, place them on a platter and assemble. Spread gorgonzola mixture, followed by pear and top with bacon crumbles.

Enjoy. It's easy!

And pretty! For a party, you could probably even make these right before your guests arrive, simply toss the pear slices in lemon juice before plating them and cover with saran wrap. I'm keeping this on file for my next gathering. Yum!!

I love the combination of sharp cheese and sweet fruit. Not to mention the smoky bacon flavor topping. So delicious.

So there you have it. A {very} easy game day {or anytime!} eat!

Questions of the Day:

Do you ever enjoy a rainy day?

What's your favorite unusual flavor combination?

What foods do you enjoy for curling up in front of the TV?

February Favorites

Please pardon my MIA-ness over the last few days but Shaun and I took a little vaca in Antigua to escape some of the cold Jersey days (more on that to come later, so stay tuned!), but hopefully you enjoyed my guest article over at Haute Apple Pie. I'm just a few days late on my February Favorites but still want to share them, and hopefully you'll share some of yours with me! Without further ado...

Mascarpone cheese This is one that I must explore further, especially following my truly delightful and palette pleasing marscapone dessert at Fig & Olive. Though Giada DeLaurentiis uses it incessantly, my own Italian mom doesn't so I hadn't either. But mixed with some vanilla bean atop an almond shortbread cookie, this creamy Italian cheese has won me over big time.
Crostini There's just something about spreading anything on a crispy, salty bread round that just makes my heart skip a beat. Whether it's fig jam and gorgonzola cheese, truffles, bell peppers, or roasted garlic, crostini has been a major player in my repetoire of late.
Red wine It's been perfect during the harsh winter months. Since I virtually never drink hard liquor and only enjoy beer on a warm summer day, red wine is really the only alcoholic beverage for me. Whether by the glass at our favorite Friday happy hour or a cheap bottle from Whole Foods for our Valentine's Day dinner, I've thoroughly enjoyed this treat over the last month.
Cherry tomatoes Though I'm typically not a huge fan of tomatoes, this miracle produce turns a basic pasta dish from eh to oh la la. Chopped up and sauteed in my Pasta with Turkey Sausage, the only thing better than the taste is the heavenly smell that comes from sauteeing them with a little garlic and olive oil.
Multifunctional Kitchenware Living in a one bedroom apartment with a tiny kitchen means that any appliance or tool that doubles in use jumps to numero uno in my book. After continuously making a giant mess by resting spoons on my stove top between stirs of sauces and the like (a tiny kitchen has made me reluctant to even buy a spoon rest since it's just another item that stays out on the countertop), I realized that my sweet red and white tea cup saucers double as a spoon rest. Added bonus: I get to enjoy my seldom used, yet gorgeous, red and white saucers more frequently.
Baked by Melissa mini cupcakes Ok, I was going to let this one pass by since I tend to write about cupcakes a lot. But I scored a freebie box of BbM cupcakes a few weeks ago (thanks, L!) and enjoyed them immensely during a girls night at my sister Kimberly's Brooklyn apartment. Of course, I already gave these little guys a glowing review, and yes, they're still just as delish the second time around.

So what do you think? What did you thoroughly enjoy over the last month? Any new found favorites? Share 'em in comments!

Psst...Missed last month's favorites? Check out my January Faves here.

Restaurant Roundup: Fig & Olive

A few weeks ago, I wrote this article detailing New York Restaurant Week and well, just haven't gotten around to detailing my Restaurant Week dinner. I had made reservations at two restaurants on our list: Fig & Olive and Artisinal. We only made it to one of the two...but we'll get to that story later. So Fig & Olive. Located in the Meatpacking District, Fig & Olive is a trendy abode with high ceilings, dark corners, and lots and lots of tables. So many tables, in fact, that it kind of felt like we were dining with the couple next to us. Though the atmosphere was very 'meatpacking district' (read: on a dark cobblestone street in a chic, bumpin', industrial-type space), it did leave a little to be desired in terms of acoustics (read: I had a hard time hearing Shaun yet I found out all about the overly loud man sitting next to us). But the food? Well the food was something else entirely, and there, I don't really have many complaints. And let me ask you upfront to please excuse the lack of photos. Remember that dark cornered space I mentioned? Yeah, not really condusive to taking good photos. So I'm sharing the best of the bunch, which really don't even do the goods justice.

Here's the menu:
We started with two appetizers from the Restaurant Week menu, Mushroom & Truffle Soup and the Duo of Salmon, as well as one not featured there, the crostini. Apparently Fig & Olive is famous for their crostini (and you know my feelings on that) yet it wasn't included on the RW menu. Enter my one and only gripe about Restaurant Week. Isn't the point to showcase your best menu? Needless to say, it was disappointing to have to pay an extra $9 for another appetizer, especially when we already had so much food on the way but we felt it necessary to get the full Fig & Olive experience and that includes trying the signature dish. And the result? it was totally worth it. With a laundry list of crostini toppings, we went with truffles & mushrooms, bell peppers & goat cheese, manchego cheese & fig chutney. And they were each truly delish - something I wouldn't pass up if you make your way over. And let's just say I don't even remember my mushroom soup as the crostini was really the shining star. I don't eat salmon, but Shaun raved about his appetizer, the duo of salmon (a mousse and tartar combo).

Onto the dinner portion of the night. Shaun had the roasted veal tenderloin with fig chutney while I filled up on the filet of beef with herb butter & fingerling potatoes. Both dishes were perfectly cooked, tender and seriously scrumptious. And let's just say that a giant pat of herb butter makes everything wonderful, especially a major piece of beef. Oh, and though I typically don't eat veal unless I'm in Europe, I did sample Shaun's dish and not only was the veal a serious stand out, but it helped ignite my love for fig chutney, as detailed in my January Favorites and Gorgonzola Fig Crostini. By this point in the meal, we were overly stuffed, but had to carry on with dessert (for research purposes, of course).

Enter the chocolate pot du creme (a rich custard with whipped cream, the latter being one of my all-time favorite foods - if you can call it a food) and the almond shortbread with vanilla mascarpone cheese, pistachios and marinated cherries. The clear winner? The shortbread. The pot du creme, though I've heard great things about it elsewhere, just didn't measure up while I'm still dreaming about that shortbread dessert. Not only was it easy on the eyes, it was decadent and sweet 'n savory to boot.

So that's the roundup. Though, for me, the appetizers aside from the crostini were less than memorable, the rest of the meal was totally worth trekking out in the freezing cold and stuffing ourselves until we had to take a cab home. Yep, that's the sign of a really good meal (scientifically speaking). Is it a pricey meal? You bet. But for RW? It's just the kind of place to visit. Oh I should mention Artisinal and our canceled reservation. Not only were we still stuffed a week after Fig & Olive, but after going back over the Artisinal menu, we realized that cheese was nowhere to be found. And Artisinal is all about the cheese. So we canceled, and added it to our list to visit at some point solely for the fondue. Sorry Artisinal, but you lost us by not offering your signature item.

So what do you think? Did you partake in any Restaurant Week activities? And by doing so, found a new favorite restaurant?