Braising Contest Winner #2
Joanna's Crostini Toppers Three Ways

(This was a very spirited contest: we had dozens of entries from home chefs around the country who took to the stove and braised up a storm. Our five winners will each receive a Calphalon Dutch Oven and a copy of Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine by Daniel Boulud and Melissa Clark.)

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What we loved about it: Some made one braise. Joanna dared to make three different braises for her entry. She served her braises as crostini and put them on a beautiful tray and tablecloth. Serving a braise as a small bite is a fresh idea for spring.

Read on for the recipe and words from the chef...

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Recipes:
Whiskey-Braised Apple Sauce and Goat Cheese
Joanne modified this recipe. She sauteed the ginger and apples before adding the remaining ingredients and simmering, covered, for about 1 hour. She spread goat cheese on crostini and topped with the apples.

Braised Kale with Romano Cheese
Here she sauted the kale with the oil, garlic and pepper flakes before adding the chicken stock and simmering, covered, for about 45 minutes. Finally, she rubbed the crostini with a halved garlic clove, spread the mixture on the crostini and topped with shredded Romano cheese.

Braised Onions with Orange and Balsamic Vinegar Paste, Topped with Toasted Pine Nuts
She browned the onions and then added the remaining ingredients and simmered, covered, for about 30 minutes. She spread the mixture on crostini and topped it with toasted pine nuts.

Words from the Chef:
Joanna told us these braises took her two and a half hours. "Please excuse the messy stove," she said in her entry. No need to apologize for a mess, just means there's a lot of good cooking going on. We barely noticed the mess, we're too busy eye-ing up her finished crostini. They're picture perfect on the soft green tray with the chocolate and ivory table cloth.

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