The setting: Brand spanking new kitchen, open for business
The event: Oscar night
The cast: Gabe, Margy, Olivia, Oscar, Chloe, swirling around, cooking, setting out glasses, silverware, napkins.
The action: Small groups of adults and children arrive, family and neighbors, casually dressed, bearing food and drink. People gather in small groups, begin chatting, laughing.
[Exit Margy, stage left] We hear her greeting new guests as they arrive.
[Enter two adults and two children with a tray of food.]
[Enter Margy, stage left] We see her pause, survey the scene for a full minute, smile.
She enters back into the fray, chatting, pouring wine, passing appetizers.
Each of the three components of this dish -- the baguette toasts, the lentils, and the goat cheese spread -- can be made ahead and stored in airtight containers. Store the toasts at room temperature and the goat cheese and lentils in the refrigerator. If the toasts lose their crispness, reheat them in the oven for a couple of minutes before assembling. Bring the lentils and goat cheese to room temperature before assembling the crostini.
For the crostini:
approximately 1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove
For the lentils:
1/2 cup small French (Le Puy) lentils
1 teaspoon salt
For the goat cheese spread:
8 ounces soft goat cheese, such as Chèvre
a few splashes of milk
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, preferably chives and flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
While the oven is heating, slice the baguette. Layer the slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Brush each slice on both sides with olive oil. Toast the slices in the oven until they are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool. Slice the tip off one end of the garlic clove and, when the toasts have cooled, rub the garlic clove over the top of each toast. Set aside.
Put the lentils in a small saucepan and bring them to a simmer over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to low, add the salt, stir, and simmer the lentils until they are tender but still hold their shape, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the lentils and set them aside.
In a small bowl, mash the goat cheese with a fork, adding a couple of splashes of milk, until the mixture becomes a spreadable consistency. Add the fresh herbs and mix just until they are fully incorporated.
To assemble the crostini, spread a thick layer of goat cheese onto each toast. Top with a teaspoon or so of lentils and a sprinkle of chives.