Hi, I’m Jaime and I’m addicted to parties. If you’re wondering what the hell that has to do with goat cheese and roasted grape crostini, I promise I’ll make the connection shortly.
Anyway—I love planning parties, and I don’t discriminate on the type. From themed dinner parties, to baby showers, to birthday soirees, they’re all fun in their own way. My friends and family know that, so I’m often their go-to gal when they need help with an event (and I love it that way!)
Even though 2019 has just started, it’s already shaping up to be a year full of celebrations. My best friend just got engaged, so I’m sure there will be some bridal showers and bachelorette parties in my future. Next month, I’m having a Galentine’s Day party for my book club and I’m also co-hosting a baby shower.
All of that to say, party food has been on my brain. But after all of the holiday events, I can’t look at another cream cheese-filled dip or store-bought veggie tray. This party appetizer is different, beautiful, easy to make, and, most importantly, tasty.
I work for Cooking Light, and one of our editors developed a recipe for a wheat berry bowl with roasted grapes and goat cheese. Inspired by the trio of tangy-creamy-sweet flavors, I wanted to replicate it in a more party-friendly way. If you’ve never had roasted grapes, don’t be intimidated. They’re less tangy than grapes straight from the bag, and they taste jammier (if that makes sense.) In short, they’re delicious and worth trying. I promise, this will be your new favorite app to serve at parties.
This Warm Goat Cheese and Roasted Grape Crostini is about to be your new favorite party appetizer.
4cupsred seedless grapes
4 oz.goat cheese
1/4cupwhipped cream cheese
2tbsp. olive oil, divided
cracked black pepper
fresh thyme leaves
1bottle balsamic glaze
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place goat cheese into a small, microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 20-30 seconds (until completely softened). Mix in cream cheese, and season generously with salt, pepper, and 5 sprigs of thyme leaves (removed from stems). Set aside.
Wash and dry grapes. In a bowl, combine grapes with 1 tbsp. olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper.
Place grapes on baking tray and roast for 12-15 minutes, or until grapes begin to split open.
Turn oven broiler to high. Drizzle remaining olive oil on bread slices, and place on baking tray. Place in oven in rack below grapes for 1 minute (or until bread is lightly toasted.)
Begin assembly. Swipe bread with goat cheese mixture and layer on about 2-3 tbsp. of grapes per slice. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with additional thyme leaves, if desired.
I tried shishito peppers for the first time about a year ago, and all I have to say is “OMG why did I wait so long?!” They’re so tasty, and very mild. Only about one in 10 peppers is has a kick to it. Plus, shishito peppers require few ingredients to really shine—so they’re easy to make at home with what you already have in your pantry.
My recipe is really simple: You just heat a little olive oil (about a tablespoon) in a cast-iron skillet and get it hot. Then, when the oil begins to glimmer, add peppers to your pan and cook them over medium-high heat, tossing occasionally until they’re blistered and slightly charred. It should take about 5-10 minutes. After they’re nicely charred, toss them with flaky sea salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and a teaspoon of minced garlic (I cheated and used a cube of Dorot crushed garlic, which you can find in the freezer section of Trader Joe’s.)
Shishito peppers are a perfect one-bite appetizer to serve with cocktails, and you can adapt the peppers to suit your taste. Craving Latin flavor? Add some cumin, a squeeze of lime juice, and crumbled cotija cheese. Want to lean more Asian-inspired? Sub the olive oil for sesame oil, and sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with soy sauce. The world is your oyster. The good news? No matter how you make blistered shishito peppers, they’re pretty much always delicious.
I first tried patatas bravas while in Spain. Though there are plenty of restaurants in America that serve them, I couldn’t seem to find that smoky and slightly spicy aioli that rivaled the kind I had in Spain. So, I tried making it myself. Full disclosure: it took me several tries to get it right, but I think I finally found the (no pun intended) secret sauce.
I cut corners (and calories) by microwaving baby potatoes first, instead of cooking them the entire time in oil. Par-cooking the potatoes ensures fork-tenderness and a fluffy interior, but you’ll still get that golden-brown crust by finishing cooked potatoes in a skillet with olive oil.
These patatas bravas are good, but the pièce de résistance is truly the aioli (pronounced aye-oly…or, if you’re in Spain, allie-oly). I hate to brag, but this stuff is the bomb.com. Even my mayo-hating husband happily dunked his potatoes in this luscious red sauce. It’s more smoky than spicy, but you’ll still get a little kick at the end. Feel free to add more spice if that’s your style (you’re a rebel, and I like you already).