End of Summer Appetizers

I grew up in a family of appetizer loving people and appreciate a good appetizer spread. As you grow older, appetizers usually consist of fancy cheese plates which is a bummer for me since I am still learning to like fancy cheeses. These two toast or cracker toppings are an excellent addition to your end of summer cheese plates! And they are perfect for the non cheese lovers in your life. Plus, the sautéed olives are vegan!

cheese plate

For the cheese plate pictured below there are quite a few elements. Cheese: Manchego, a salty hard cheese that is a total crowd pleaser. Toppings: Rustic Bakery sourdough crackers, sliced and toasted french bread crostini, and homemade rosemary sea salt bread. Toppings: bruschetta, sautéed olives, and oil and balsamic vinegar. Served with some light white wine or crisp rose and you are off to a great start!

Bruschetta is garlicy, acidic, and so flavorful! The best thing is that it is hard to mess up and easy to fix! Taste and adjust after you let it refrigerate because the flavors will change as they sit. 

cheese plate
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Tomatoes, basil, garlic, and balsamic make the perfect mixture to top crusty toasted bread with.
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, 1/4" dice
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 t balsamic vinegar
  • 7 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 heaping tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 grinds fresh black pepper
  • pinch of salt, to taste
1. In a small bowl combine all ingredients. 2. Stir until mixed through. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour (preferably overnight). 3. Before serving, drizzle with one teaspoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of balsamic. Taste for addition of salt. 4. Serve with toasted bread.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 appetizers servings

The first time I had a castelvetrano olive was in Tahoe last year. We tried to recreate an appetizer served at a restaurant in the area and this is what we came up with! I have seen a lot more of these olives since then and am so glad they are gaining in popularity because they are so good! Apparently they are quite popular in Italy as a snacking olive. They are hard to find pitted though so you have to go through that extra step but it is worth it. I also used them while making this chicken dish from Food and Wine and highly recommend it. 

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Sautéed Olives
A unique addition to a cheese plate
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1/2 C castelvetrano olives, pitted, roughly chopped (approximately 13-15 olives)
  • 1 t lemon zest (heaping teaspoon)
  • Juice from 1/4 of a lemon
  • 1 t fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 t brine from olives
1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. 2. Add remaining ingredients and stir until olives are heated through, approximately two minutes. 3. Serve warm with crackers or toasted bread.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 appetizers servings

Listening to: Leon Bridges