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Options are good, but having too many choices often leads to confusion, overindulgence and playing in fantasy leagues with three active quarterbacks.

I don’t understand people who play in leagues with multiple active defenses, quarterbacks, four kickers and just for shits-and-giggles eight receivers.  Whenever I talk to fantasy players who have these kinds of – let’s face it – stupid leagues, I cannot help but picture two defenses on the field at the same time.  Say the obviously weaker Seattle defense as the first line, but then the Ravens D anchoring the rear.  Chaos would rule the field and soon a hole would open up (one would hope so with eight receivers, four running backs and three tight ends on offensive) for the somewhere, resulting in a game that would resemble the Italian Peninsula during World War II.

Crostini is the same way.  It’s too easy to decide you want to have five or six different types of crostini at your party, but next thing you know the kitchen is covered in toasted bread, you’ve run out of platters, why did you decide to have three heated variations for Christ’s sake the game starts in five minutes, and how much more chopping needs to happen?!?

Stick with a simple game plan.  One crostini that needs baked.  One that you can make the night before.   One that just involves chopping.  One with only two ingredients besides the bread.  And stick with a traditional fantasy football league.

You will need:

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So many items, so many options.

Crostini: (The bread part)
One (or two) loafs of a nice crusty baguette. (Avoid sourdough if possible.)
Clove of garlic.
Extra virgin olive oil.

It is incredibly important to have a sound base.  A solid running game (THAT CAN PICK UP TWO YARDS ON THIRD DOWN MISTER-BRUCE-THROW-TO-THE-END-ZONE-ARIANS), some money stashed away in savings just in case you quit your day job, and bread that has been properly toasted.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

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Slice the bread no more than a quarter inch thick.

I wish just for once, I could cut something on the FFF and not think of a Peyton Manning commercial.

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Rub each slice of bread with a clove of cut garlic.

Still no word from nail polish fan this season, but just so they know, it just looks black in the picture.  It’s actually a very deep red with black.

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Brush with olive oil.

Toast in the oven until golden.  About four to six minutes.

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One baguette will yield about 50-60 slices of crostini. You can toast the bread ahead of time if you store the crostini in an airtight container.

Sage, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto:
Bunch of fresh sage.
Fresh mozzarella.
About 1/4 – 1/3 pound of prosciutto.
1 – 2 tablespoons of butter.

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Slice your fresh mozzarella to be toast size.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. (Or just keep the oven on if you just made your crostini.)

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Place a slice of mozzarella and a small piece of prosciutto on each crostini. Put in the oven until the cheese has melted and the prosciutto is baked. Say about four to six minutes, depending on how hot your oven is.

Some people love prosciutto wrapped around cantaloupe.  Now I love cured meats and I love cantaloupe, but football foodie rules clearly state all melons served in conjunction with football watching  must be properly soaked with Popov first.  Hopefully you are not combining a handle of anything with your food that costs less than the prosciutto.

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While the topped crostini are in the oven, melt two tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium heat. Once it begins to brown, throw in your chopped sage leaves and remove from heat to fry the leaves.

Remove the baked crostini from the oven and cover with the fried sage leaves.

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This took me a few times to get right. I tried to bake the sage leaves under the cheese, over the prosciutto, between the meat and cheese. Unfortunately for kicker Jeff Reed, there was not a third attempt in last week's loss to the Bears.

Artichoke, Olives, and Capers
1 14-15 oz can of chopped artichoke hearts.
1 cup of ripe green olives. (Not the salty jars of green olives stuffed with pimentos.)
1 tablespoon of capers.
1 clove of garlic.
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.

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Stick everything in the blender or mini-chopper. Hit the "Chop" button.

Look! You’re done!

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Yes, I know it looks like a pile of "green" stuff. But as a wise man once said, "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts."

If you have leftovers from the artichoke, olives, and capers spread, mix it with a cup of cooked orzo for a nice side dish later in the week.

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Yes, I am calling this bruschetta even though bruschetta is supposed to be on long toasts. Some people put in cheese, some do not. Since I already had the mozzarella for the other crostini, I decided to make my bruschetta bastard more caprese, capisce?

Bruschetta
Three or four good, meaty tomatoes. You can even cheat a couple of hot house tomatoes if you sneak in one heirloom tomato. (Beef steak tomatoes should be avoided as they are mostly water.)
Fresh mozzarella.
A bunch of fresh basil.
2 – 3 cloves of crushed garlic.
Extra virgin olive oil. (If you have extra light, extra virgin olive oil on hand now is the time to use it.)
Ground pepper, salt.

Chop up tomatoes, mozzarella and basil into small cubes.  Add garlic, a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

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If you cannot figure this one out you may as well go heat up a box of plain cheese pizza rolls.

Salami and Ricotta
See above.  Two ingredients.

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A smart quarterback is always counting the number of defensive players on the field. A smart crostini lover has already done the math on how many pieces of sage, mozzarella, prosciutto crostini each person gets as soon as they hit the table.

BALAIKA!

Go ahead and yell it.   This is a fun drink to say.  BALAIKA!  When we went to Vegas in the spring to meet up with some awesome college football bloggers, this was a drink that I enjoyed teaching everyone about. (That is, before we busted into the Sweet Tea Vodka by Firefly.)  Since it is still hot as balls in LA, this is great cooling alternative to a margarita.

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No shaker, no worries. Just mix in the glass.

Equal parts vodka, Cointreau, and lemon juice.  Serve over crushed ice.  Pray for the end of 100 degree days, if only because hockey is already in the preseason.

Artichoke-Olive crostini adapted from Smitten Kitten, who adapted it from from Mario Batali.

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5 Responses to Original Friday Football Foodie – Crostini and Balalaika!

  1. [...] Original Friday Football Foodie – Crostini and Balalaika! « Black and Gold Tchotchkes blackandgoldtchotchkes.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/original-friday-football-foodie-crostini-and-balalaika – view page – cached Options are good, but having too many choices often leads to confusion, overindulgence and playing in fantasy leagues with three active — From the page [...]

  2. DougOLis says:

    Nom. I need to try that one with the fried sage.

    I’m a big fan of this Serrano Ham and Membrillo Crostini from Chow: http://www.chow.com/recipes/10444

  3. IJustMadeThatUp says:

    Don’t let the size of the crostini fool you. The two trays of food filled 3 people quite easily, and left us with more than enough to make a 2nd round later on.

  4. Holly says:

    Thanks to the cocktail recipe and some serious Vegas nostalgia, Doug ended up singing Rocky Top at full volume AS a balalaika at brunch this morning. I cannot thank you enough for this joy.

  5. [...] like you did for the “What do I put on my crostini?” post from last season, all you need to do is slice a crusty baguette (avoiding sourdough if [...]

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