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Cooking with Kyle: Brie & strawberry crostini; classic Hurricanes

OKLAHOMA CITY – With Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day 24 hours apart this year, creative and dual-purposed menus are in order. Whether celebrating one or both, these two recipes will begin the evening in classic style!

Brie and Strawberry Crostini:
1 loaf baguette, sliced into thin slices (no more than 1/2″) Slice as many as desired Fresh Strawberries – 1/2 berry per Crostini
1-2 t grated orange zest
1-2 t chopped mint leaves OR fresh thyme leaves Brie, sliced into 1/3-1/2oz pieces – 1 per Crostini
1-2 T honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place desired amount of baguette slices on an ungreased baking pan. Top each with a slice of Brie. Bake 5-7 minutes, or until baguette is toasted and Brie is slightly melted.
Remove tops from and slice in half desired amount of strawberries – 1/2 berry per Crostini. Place halved strawberries in a bowl and gently toss with orange zest and mint or thyme.
Remove Crostini from oven; allow to cool a few seconds before topping each with 1/2 strawberry (skin side up) Add additional residual zest/herb as desired. Place Crostini on serving platter or plate. Lightly drizzle with honey. Serve while still warm.

Classic Hurricane Cocktail:
This cocktail is equally delicious without the addition of alcohol. It is the quintessential Mardi Gras drink, made famous by Pat O’Brien’s in the 1940s. Its’ red color makes it equally festive for Valentine’s Day.

1/3 C fresh orange juice
1/3 C passion fruit juice
1/4 C Grenadine
1 lime, juiced
Optional: 1/4 C each light and dark rum
Garnish: long straw, orange wheel, maraschino cherry.

Ice Hurricane or tumbler glasses – roughly 1/2 full. If using rum, pour over ice. Combine orange, passion fruit and lime juices. Pour over ice. Top with Grenadine.