Signature Cafe Soup Crostini (& lunch with Tiffani Thiessen)

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A couple of weeks ago I found myself having lunch with Tiffani Thiessen—a perk of getting to fly down to Los Angeles for a special event hosted by Safeway to celebrate the launch of their new Signature family of brands. It occurred to me that we’d practically grown up together: we’re both from Long Beach, we’d both spent many afternoons with Zack and the other kids at Bayside High, and gone on to crush on Dylan Mckay. It was only natural that we’d be hanging out and talking about our kids over lunch.

I don’t attend many such events, so it’s often a bit more like vacation than work. Celebrities or not, it’s always especially fun to have a chance to meet other bloggers. A group of us got together in West Hollywood for dinner, spent the night on the Sunset Strip, and then enjoyed a day cooking and talking in one of those homes in the hills I’ve always been so curious to see.

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One of the things we tasted were the Signature Cafe soups and I think one of my favorite take-aways from the day were the suggestions Chef Anderson—Executive Chef for Albertsons family of stores (including Safeway)—threw out for repurposing soups: everything from using a bisque as a base for salad dressing to poaching seafood. My favorite? Straining a pre-made stew and using it atop crostini. Such a good (fast) party appetizer trick!

I thought I’d share a few photos from the event. Find the recipe for the crostini below the recap…

First, West Hollywood…

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We stayed in the Andaz Hotel on the Sunset Strip. There was a rooftop pool with gorgeous views of LA and, when you came up the elevator, you could learn about the hotel’s history (as The Continental) hosting bands like Led Zeppelin and Guns N’ Roses. Apparently Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards dropped a TV out of one of its windows back in the ’70s. I always think of it as the place depicted in Almost Famous. 

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Signature lunch

The home where the lunch was held was incredible. It belongs to a photographer, which makes total sense: So much light!

Signature Flatbreads

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We learned some techniques for making flatbreads before Tiffani showed up and…

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…made us dessert!

Everything was delicious, and I came back home inspired to try out that soup trick.

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Signature Cafe Soup Crostini: Tomato & Basil with Feta, and White Bean & Kale

You’ll need:
Signature Select Artisan French Baguette
Signature Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
White Bean and Kale Signature Cafe Soup
Fresh parsley for garnish
Tuscan Tomato and Basil Bisque Signature Cafe Soup
Feta Cheese, crumbled
Fresh Basil leaves for garnish

Note: I found all of my Signature products here in Davis at my local Safeway store, but you can find them at all Albertsons Companies grocery stores, including Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, ACME, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Shaws, Star Market, United Express, United, and Carrs/Safeway.

Signature Soups

You can choose any soup you like for the crostini, but I think the White Bean and Kale is particularly well-suited for straining and using as topping. (You could use the remaining broth to flavor rice or poach chicken for a main dish.)

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Pour the soup into a strainer and set aside. While it drains, slice your baguette and arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush (or drizzle) each slice with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake the toasts for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are crisp and browned.

Stir the strained topping to get out any remaining liquid and spoon onto the toasts. I like to add some uncooked green—in this case I used chopped parsley—to add more bright color.

Next, for the tomato bisque, all the flavors are already there—spice and pepper and cream—you simply need to spoon some on before adding crumbled feta and a basil leaf.

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Is everyone else already doing this? I thought it was such a good idea to use soup for a perfectly pre-seasoned, pre-cooked topping.

[Thank you to Safeway for sponsoring this post and providing travel. The Signature line includes more than 4,000 items — from coffee to juice, soup to cereal, fresh produce to fried chicken, and delicious prepared foods to paper towels among other trusted home staples — all with a 100% money back guarantee, which is really impressive!]

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