Sunday, July 8, 2007

An Infectious laugh ……..& Hot Crostini, A palette on palate and Freshness in a Bite !!

Let me start by sharing a very cute video…… sure it will lighten up your mood :)

Before I got familiarized with the food blogging community and before I realized that a herb garden is possible in our balcony, which is as big as a hand kerchief, I had some ‘Green Friends’ at home…..10 pots of some indoor plants and some converted outdoor plants….and some marigolds planted on the ground in front of our house, for which I had to get permission from our Leasing office, so CJJ who loves to see fresh blossoms when he opens the front door, gets a pleasant and refreshing view everyday ! I poured all my love and care on our green friends……caressed ‘em…..watered ‘em…..sometimes I spoke to ‘em when nobody was around….they brought life and positive energy to our home. I was quite happy with my green friends but the moment I entered the world of food blogs and learnt that herb garden is possible in our matchbox apartments, I got into the clutches of greediness…the thought that I need not spent $3 and some cents on a small bunch of basil or mint, perhaps to use only 1-2 sprigs and then store them in refrigerator, to see the inevitable wilted leaves after a week or two …so this time when the Spring started, I was quite excited and under the guidance of RP and Shaheen who gave me lots of tips on seeds and seedlings, soil and containers, I started out with a small batch of mint, sweet basil, cilantro, parsley, oregano, rosemary, and chilies…..though very few showed some resistance, I am quite happy with my herb garden now…..A corner of my balcony is all green now… small beautiful green forest :) So, thought the best way to show off would be with this Sweet Basil plant and an Italian appetizer made with basil chiffonades.

My homegrown Sweet Basil Plant in a window-box.

Almost an year ago, when me and CJJ were lazing around, on a Saturday morning, lying down and struggling hard to accommodate both of us in a single couch and while browsing through the channels aimlessly, we chanced upon a cooking show, America’s Test Kitchen, and this particular recipe, Hot Crostini, evoked my interest mainly because of all that rich colour and the freshness and evidently, the fact that it can be prepared in less than 10 minutes! Crostini, means ‘little toasts’ in Italian. They are “small thin slices of toasted French bread, drizzled with olive oil and topped with a few simple ingredients and served as appetizers”. Easy to make, especially for your last minute parties!

Ingredients for Hot Crostini:-
  • Half loaf of French Baguette Bread
  • 1/4 cup red onion minced
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • 1/8 cup green bell pepper (Capsicum)finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup yellow bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2tbsp garlic minced + 1 whole garlic
  • 6 basil leaves roughly chopped
  • ¾ tbsp extra-virgin Olive oil + more for brushing the bread slices
  • 1/2tbsp red wine
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/8 cup grated cheese of your choice (optional)
  • Halve the tomato and squeeze out all its watery pulp and seeds; finely chop the cleaned tomato and mix with finely chopped onion, tri-colour bell peppers, garlic and basil chiffonades. Add olive oil and red wine and season it with salt. Mix well, cover and let this stand in the room temperature for 30 minutes, allowing all the flavours to set in.
  • Preheat the oven to 450F. Cut the baguette bread into ½ inch coin shapes or small circles. Brush some olive oil and toast in the oven for 3-4 minutes or until they turn golden brown and crisp. Halve the whole garlic and rub lightly onto the toasted slices, to get the flavour and aroma of garlic bread. Spoon some mixture onto these garlicky crispy breads and garnish with some Parmesan or Mozzarella or any cheese of your choice. Serve with wine and sorriso*
Don’t you think it’s really a Palette on palate and Freshness in a Bite?

Note: Make sure that the pulp and seeds are squeezed out thoroughly from the tomato and there is no water content as that will result in a watery mixture. Since baguette bread was not available in our store this time, I used mini French bread which worked quite well.

This goes to Green Blog Project - Summer 2007 hosted at Letzcook.

I have already blogged a recipe for Tomato Bruschetta, another Italian appetizer which is similar to Crostini…..though I really could not understand the difference between Bruschetta and Crostini in concrete terms, these links, here & here, throw some lights to clear up the confusion. Nevertheless, I would really appreciate if any of my Italian fellow bloggers or Italian readers, if any, could come up and help us distinguish between Crostini and Bruschetta!!!.

* Sorriso is Italian for Smile :)

UPDATE : Here’s an excerpt from the mail I received from Susan of Food Blogga, an Italian American from Rhode Island, currently residing at California. She was the best authentic source I could catch hold of from my contacts : “Though I am not an expert in Italian cuisine, here is my best response. In Rhode Island (where we have a large Italian population) bruschetta always referred to toasted bread topped with garlic, olive oil, and fresh tomatoes. Crostini was what we called toasted bread that had toppings other than tomatoes. So, here's my personal explanation of the difference between bruschetta and crostini: Bruschetta usually refers to bread that is toasted (over a wood fire or a grill or a skillet) then rubbed with fresh garlic, drizzled with olive oil, and topped with fresh tomatoes, basil, salt & pepper.Crostini typically refers to bread that is brushed with olive oil first then toasted. Unlike bruschetta, crostini is served with various toppings, such as beans, eggplant, or roasted peppers.


No part of the content ( articles, photographs, recipes) of this blog may be reproduced without my written permission.Copyright © 2007-2010 All rights reserved.


  1. Though even I don't know about crostini, this sure looks colourful and your herb garden is a real delight. My basil is almost dying because of the amount of hot sun we get on the deck

  2. Simple and delicious snack Shn :)

    and i had this as bruschetta before. i don't know the difference, but i saw some bread rusk kinda' thing in Whole Foods being sold as crostini. so i am imagining that crostini would be really crisp toasted to dryness?
    and then topped with all this.

  3. Hmmm.... I am confused between the bruschetta and crostini as well... but looks great, freshness indeed!

    And that video... :D :D :D we were literally laughing out loud..

  4. I was almost asking if its the same as bruschetta :) Nice n colourful. You have nice healthy plants!! Only my ginger and curry leaves are sprouting here!!
    That video was cute, was laughing away!!

  5. Your herb was so delightful to watch. The Crostini looks great. Nice post Shn. Viji

  6. if I am not wrong...... bruschetta is mainly tomato while crostini is of different varieties. At this restaurant - Little italy we had a whole platter of assorted crostini's ....... few like what you have shown... some with mushrooms and other varieties. :)

    The video is very cute!!!! and the crostinis look awesome.. very fresh and colourful. :)

  7. Delightful post! Basil grows well here but I'm not able to find a plant, or seeds, even though I know nothing about gardening!

  8. Nice video of laughing baby........easy but taste snack with great photo.:)))
    Looks yummy and can’t wait for eating. Thanks for sharing such a simple recipe.....I try it when lots of children at home I think they like it very much.:))))

  9. Oh my goodness Shn, that hysterical baby almost makes me want another -- I am sorry I can't help much with crostini/bruschetta but in my limited experience, bruschetta is fresh tomato salad of sorts on largish bread. Crostini, no clue :)

    Yours looks great though!

  10. The video was chooo chweet...quite infectious laughter...

    As for bruschetta and crostini, I too can't really see any great deal of difference...btw, your crostinis look very fresh and delectable :)

  11. That baby is sooooo cute..and what a beautifully infectious laughter!Loved the video Shn..crostini looks great.BTW,I too have wondered the same thing always..lets see if somebody can come up with an answer:)

  12. looks very tasty and yummy..


  13. have you see this one, shn?

    your basil looks lovely.

  14. Crostini's looks yummy.

    Bruschetta are bigger versions of crostini.

    Crostini are toasted thin slices of Italian bread brushed with olive oil. Often used as croutons in soups and salads, crostini also can be topped with various ingredients, including cheese, shrimp and pate, for canapes.

    Bruschetta, sliced from a large round loaf, are traditionally grilled over a live fire, rubbed with a clove of garlic, drizzled with good olive oil and then sprinkled with salt and pepper. Its name comes from the Italian bruscare, "to roast over coals."

  15. perfect pics usual you rock lady ....excellent color combho ...this weekend i bought all the bell peppers will try it out is so sweet .....nice plants too

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  17. Oh shn,we watch these U tube thingies and laugh until we tear up!:D Have you watched Will Ferrel's U tube? It's hilarious.It's called funny or die.
    I love Crostini's,make great refreshing snack.Basil looks so good there girl,green and yummy.Nothing beats fresh herbs and veggies.Enjoy:))

  18. Kiranz..!! said...

    എന്റമ്മച്ചി എവിടുന്നു പിടിച്ചു വച്ചേക്കുന്നു ആ കുഞ്ഞിച്ചെക്കനെ ? ചിരിച്ച് അടപ്പിളകി..:)
    എന്തോന്നിത് ? അല്ല എന്തോന്നിത് ? ഇതെല്ലാം ഇവിടെ ചുമ്മാ എഴുതി വെക്കുന്നതേ ഒള്ളോ എന്റെ ചെറുക്കനു ഇത് വല്ലോം ഉണ്ടാക്കി കൊടുക്കുന്നുണ്ടോ ? ഒണ്ടാക്കി കൊടുക്കണേ,അല്ലേല്‍ അവന്‍ ആര്‍ത്തി മൂ‍ത്ത് പ്രാന്തായി പോവും :)

    Let me know whether you able to read the above malayalam font,if yes am gonna post only malayalam comments on your blog to terrify all the other lady kitchen "puppuleez"..You know what ? Am having terrific traffic comin out from Mishmash.! to my blog,Atleast 100/month :)),ha..ha..they must be scratching their head seeing all the mallu scripts pointed out to hear a song :)

    Nice to see everything at Mishmash..!

  19. mouthwatering recipes and lovely clicks!!

  20. lovely basil.. so it finally is getting used up ..:)can i have one of the crostini?is crostini the same as brushetta?

  21. hey Shn, I have seen that video before and its so nice right?
    I really dont know the difference between the two but I am posting bruschetta in my next post.
    your basil garden looks so green and nice.

  22. Dear Mishmash,

    Fell in love with your crostini.
    This is not fair. Send some here to me too. Now that is one healthy fair right?
    Thanks for the comments on Pineapple-strawberry-green pepper salsa. Yes I try to eat healthy, but sometimes I go for the comfort stuff too.

  23. wow this looks very appetizing. basil looks so healthy and green. At last i have one chilli on my chilli plant.

  24. The dish is looking very colourful.Can't see the video as there is a big problem with my computer. The herbs are nice and green :)

  25. i was also laughing with the video even before i knew!it was soo contagious! we really need to laugh like this .... thank you Shn.
    your recipes and post as usual ....just great!

  26. hi
    ur basil garden looks so beautiful.You are a wonderful cook:)Thanks for sharing the recipe of crostini.

  27. The recipe sounds like a great idea, for either a snack or finger food! I love the photo of the basil. It looks so beautiful and luscious!

  28. Baby video is so cute,fresh herbs are awesome anytime,crostini looks delicious looks similar to Bruschetta

  29. I just bought a basil plant to start a modest herb garden (in pots) on our deck. It's always been one of my favorites. Your crostini looks fabulous. And the baby--TOO CUTE! :)

  30. Vibrant, perfect basil, Shn. Crostini and bruschetta are more alike than different. I suspect they are from different regions of Italy, but that is only a guess. Thanks for the recipe and that sweet, happy baby!

  31. Hi Mishmash,

    I always admire the way you present things.....bythe way i did try your blueberry tea bread not once but three times..and i must say every time it has come out awesome.....thanks a lot for the wonderful recipe which one can have without much guilt...:-)


  32. I can't recall clearly but I think the difference is that the crostini is cut thinner than the bruschetta. Also in one case, the topping is placed on the bread before toasting and in the other case the topping is put on after toasting the bread.

    As always, your posts and pics are outstanding. Lots of hugs.

  33. OMG that video was beyond adorable! And just what I needed on a Wed afternoon, thank you mucho.

    Your basil looks fantastic! How wonderful to have fresh basil on hand to meet the whims of cooking adventure. :)

    Ari (Baking and Books)

  34. shn, I cant see your pics for some reason. Crostini sounds good. hope I can see it soon:)

  35. I just had crostini at an italin joint yest and was thinking that its a good snack! :) Will try it...Btw, my orange delight flopped big time as the gelatine didnt dissolve well....and i was wondering how urs looked white, mine turned light orange when i added the juice...

  36. yes, just pics from this post shn. I can see the pics from the other posts.

  37. Amazing pictures on your blog... each dish is a sight to behold. The video is too cute and I was laughing in no time.

  38. Video was good...this is something competely new...thanks for lettlign me know...looks great.

  39. Shn,

    Your photos are looking really good! Bruschetta, and Crostini's are a big favorite of mine, and yours look really delicious.


  40. Ahem, Me italiano and me like your recipe. i eat any recipe.

  41. Oh, wonderful! This is the thing i miss during my holiday. (My mom could only take small amount of Western-style food, so we mainly feed ourselves on Chinese food). I now have real craving for pizza, pasta and gooood bread!

  42. Shn!!
    What can i say??
    whatevr i wanted to say, other fellow bloggers already showered with compliments!!
    I was little late but what an amazing herb garden!!!

  43. Hi Mishmash,
    Thaz was nice post on crostini and you have lovely basil growing in your garden...I am a new blogger, do check-in my blog if time permits..

  44. mishy, i came running to check ur this sunday post and i am shocked to see no posts from u:) been busy all these days with hectic job schedule. was away on full day meetings and workshops and didn't get time to check blogs in between:( hope everything is fine @ur end.

  45. I wont much about the recipie coz it is sadist just to be shown the pics... :-P

    but i think after Indian cusine I love italian..especially lasagne!! ;-P

  46. Hey, I've been waiting for your Sunday post and I'm surprised it isn't there! Busy aano?

  47. Very bright and quick recipe...Nice blog too!

  48. Hello Friends,

    I have given an update on this same post, with some excerpts from the mail I received from Susan of Food Blogga; I hope that throws some light into the differences between Crostini and Bruschetta. Please do refer the updated paragraph!

    Sandeepa,hmm...basil does nt require too much of sun I guess....i have kept mine in a corner now..

    Musical, thanks...pls check the update !

    Sig, thats one video I have watched innumerable times, but still laugh out loud as though I am watching it for the first time :)

    Jyothsna, I wish I had a curry leaf plant!! You re lucky to have one...and I remember your pic, it looked so healthy as well!

    Vcuisine, Coffee, Sra Thanks a lot girls....pls do refer the post for the updates !

    Kajal, I dont know how popular this would be among kids...coz of all the peppers included....but definitely a pleaser for adult parties :)

    Linda, you did make laugh with that comment :D

    Sunita,Vini, Srivally Thank YOU :) Vini, pls refer the post again.

    Bee, that link is also there on the video link I shared....but this baby is fav...I laugh every time I play that video :)) but the quadruplets made me wonder how worse the situation would when they all cry at the same time!!!!! :)

    Shobitha, Thanks for dropping that very informative comment....your explanation sounded quite valid and similar to Susan's response...Thanks again and thanks for reading my blig ! :)

    Deepa, Thanks....hmm....try this one with all your leftover peppers :)

    Asha, I did watch the video you shared...thanks dear..:) yes i am enjoying the fresg herbs in my balcony.....though it hurts me when I snip off the leaves :)

    Kiranz, treat njan avide varumbo chodicholam :)

    A little light, thanks dear :)

    Mallugirl,how can I say NO to you ? :))))

    Sharmi, yes that baby is adorable...:)Thanks :)

    Foodie , Am sure this is your kinda recipe....healthy and fresh ..try and let me know if you like it :)

    Roopa,Archana, Nanditha, Prajusha , Maninas, Sreelu...thanks a ton friends :) do try and see if your like it...its wayyy tooo easy :)

    Susan, am sure you will enjoy your basil plant, especially for your kinda cooking....Thanks a lot for helping me out sort out the confusion :)

    Susan, the region difference is also there...i have read somewhere that crostini is a tuscan treat....pls check susan's response, as part of my post!

    Rashmi, I was quite glad to read your comment....and all the more happy to know that you tried it thrice successfully...but wonder why you waited till your third attempt to let me know this :)))It's a GREAT pleasure to read that someone tried the recipe I blogged and liked too...:)

    Cynthia, thanks sweetie....:) pls check the post again for the update!

    Ari, yes, I am enjoying my fresh herbs :) and that video is something I keep playing whenever I happen to open my own page :D

    Ash,ohh....sweetie, gelatine has to be dissolved well..thats the binding /thickening agent....use tropican I had already written in that post, freshly squeezed orange may not work well for this recipe...hope you try again///

    Hema, I have uploaded the pics in photobucket this time...wondering if thats the reason!

    Laavanya, thank you so much for the generous comments....I am yet to check your site...will sure drop by :)

    Usha, try easy appetizer/snack...

    Kanchana, Thanks for this encouragement!

    Inji Pennu, Grazie ! :)

    Anh, hahah...I understand what you re saying :) I am so happy to have you back :)

    Padmaja, you re never late to my blog, trust me :) Thanks for this support and encouragement!

    Padma, I will surely check you blog....thanks for dropping by ....a warm welcome to Mishmash!

    Sia, thanks for checking on me...:) I am very much in good spirits...:)

    Mathew, at the moment I am looking for a particular variety of german liquor, and if u can get me that I promise you some good food, howzzat :)))))

    Jyothsna, hey thanks for enquiring ....nope busy alla....just trying to recoup my brain :P will be back for sure :)

    Poonam, thanks and welcome to Mishmash! :)


  49. OK, lazy girl, I can understand that. Keep blog hopping...:) Good nite! Its good morning for me :)

  50. Could you tell me which one is that..people here are very "spiritual"..Maybe its easy to get it here.. ;-P


  52. Y is that we dont get to hear frm u.....u were n r inspiration for many... !! Many took to the world of food blogging becox of u.... some even copy the way u write...n reached the heights of fame !! ur a mentor post some more inspirations!!!


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