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Crostini with Pecorino, Pear, Hazelnuts, and Rosemary

With holiday office parties and family get-togethers upon us, I wanted to share a recipe by my eminently talented foodie friend, Emily Gold, with whom I collaborated to shoot some recipes for Culture Magazine last year. (See the related blog post here). And I would be remiss if I didn’t give props to another foodie friend and Editor Elaine Khosrova for styling and art-direction. I really enjoy collaborative efforts in the studio and plan on doing a lot more in the coming months.) Enjoy!



This freeform recipe casually pairs savory, sweet, herbaceous, and nutty elements. It’s important to use a really exceptional pear jam or butter that is not too sweet. Simple to assemble, it makes for an extremely toothsome and wine-friendly snack. The recipe is inspired by an autumn specialty from Eric Warnstedt at Hen of the Wood, in Waterbury, Vermont, that combines Bonnieview Farm Coomersdale cheese with honey-roasted pears, grilled bread, and hazelnuts. 

Serves 4 to 8

1 baguette or sourdough loaf

Olive oil

¼ cup hazelnuts

1 stalk fresh rosemary

Pear jam, pear butter, or apple butter

Young pecorino or medium-aged sheep’s milk cheese

Heat oven to 350ºF. Cut bread into ½-inch-thick slices. Brush both sides with a little bit of olive oil. Place on a sheet pan, and bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake another 10 minutes. At the same time put the hazelnuts on a separate sheet pan and bake with the crostini for the second 10-minute stretch.

When the crostini come out of the oven lightly brown and crisp, rub one side of each slice with the rosemary. Little pieces of the leaves will break off onto the crostini, which is what you want.

Let the hazelnuts cool, then rub off skins. Chop coarsely and set aside.

Spread a thin layer of pear jam on each crostini, and top with slivers of pecorino (use a vegetable peeler for thin, uniform pieces). Return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes, until cheese gently droops over jam. Remove from oven and top with hazelnuts.

Pairing suggestion: Pinot noir or Trousseau, such as the Arbois Rouge 2010 Trousseau Les Bérangères

(Note: for more info on Emily, check out her Website: www.papercakescissors.com)


In the studio—Culture Magazine shoot

In this age of ever-growing demand for digital content for Web sites, e-publications, and mobile media, it’s still very satisfying to see my work in print. So when I was contacted to shoot for the Fall issue of Culture Magazine and get to collaborate with my talented foodie-friends Elaine Khosrova and Emily Gold, I couldn’t wait to get started.

The photos were used for a wine-paring insert into the Fall issue, and the five recipes that Emily prepared were:
Spicy Roasted Tomato Dip with Chévre;
Sweet Potato, Chard, and Alpine Cheese Croquettes;
Savory Mushroom and Cheese Panna Cotta with Apple Salad;
Crostini with Pecorino, Pear, Hazelnuts, and Rosemary;
and my favorite—Ham, Manchego, and Fig Twists.

The studio never smelled so good!

storyboard001 storyboard002 storyboard003 storyboard004 storyboard005Wine Culture insert

Root Vegetable Stew

Another recipe from the Vibrant Rioja wine “At Home” recipe book project, and I have to give a major thank you to my friend (and fantastic chef) Michael Chesloff, who owns the sharpest set of knives I have ever seen!

Of the 12 recipes I shot for this cookbook, this recipe was by far the most tasty, and the entire time this stew was roasting in Michael’s oven my mouth was watering. The only thing I could add to this recipe, in addition to the Rioja wine of course, would be a rare standing rib roast. Just an amazing recipe by Jill Paradiso that will make your whole house smell fantastic.

I love to shoot food, but the color and texture of vegetables are my favorite, and these root vegetables are the type of photo that I like to hang in my kitchen, and probably will 😉

This satisfying, hearty dish truly highlights the various textures, colors and flavors of root vegetables. It can be served as a main course but would look especially beautiful as a side dish on a holiday table.
Note: This dish can be made ahead of time and reheated, but do not add turnip greens until ready to serve – they are best when they are bright green and lightly wilted.
6 cipollini onions, peeled
6 baby turnips, washed and halved (or 2 large turnips, quartered); turnip greens reserved
½ lb baby carrots
4 fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
2 leeks, washed, cleaned and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
2 parsnips cut in ¼-inch rounds
1 celery root, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup Rioja, preferably barrel fermented white or Crianza
2 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup olive oil
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
Sea salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In heavy roasting pan, combine vegetables and olive oil; toss to coat. Roast turning every 10 minutes, until vegetables are browned, about 30 minutes.
2. Transfer pan to stove over high heat. Add wine, stock and herbs; cook 15 minutes. Add turnip greens; cook and stir to wilt; season with salt. Remove herb sprigs before serving.
Yield: 8-10 as a side dish
Rioja Pairing:
Root vegetables have a delicate creaminess and earthy flavor that would pair beautifully, but not be overwhelmed by the warmth and spice of a Rioja Crianza or the richness of barrel-fermented white.