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ffwd: goat cheese & strawberry tartine

On Bagels

I love cheese. It’s my favorite food. I like any kind of cheese, though goat cheese is a top choice. If you remember, earlier in the year, I experimented with making my own. I did buy it for this recipe.

I love strawberries. Well, do you know anyone who doesn’t love strawberries. They cry out “Summer is here!” They aren’t quite in season locally, but soon.

I love bread, especially crusty artisan bread, but any bread. I learned about bread eating from my dad. He always said I would make a good prisoner because I am often content eating good bread and drinking water.

This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was another “whisper” of a recipe, but these three key ingredients. Goat Cheese and Strawberry Tartine says it all. An open-faced sandwich: crusty bread spread with goat cheese, topped with sliced strawberries, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper.

I made the recipe twice this week. The first time, I made the tartine with big diagonal slices of a crusty baguette. I ate a plateful of tartine as a light supper. It was over 90 degrees out, so with no cooking required was perfect. With a glass of cold white wine, this fit the bill.

On baguette

The second time, I topped a toasted poppy seed bagel with goat cheese and strawberries, thought I left off the pepper and vinegar because it was morning. It brought together all the necessary breakfast food groups: bread, cheese, and fruit.

This was so simple, but so good. I think I’ll enjoy this combination again when the strawberries are at their peak, especially for breakfast.

I won’t even bother to find a link for the recipe because it’s self-explanatory. If you want to read about other Doristas’ tartines, check their links here.

Here’s to strawberry season!

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Berry Bonanza

One of the advantages of traveling up and down the East Coast in summer is the ability to chase the fleeting berry season. We had plenty of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries in July.

It started early in the month when we visited my sister Jane in Maryland. Strawberry season was long over at her house, but we got an early taste of black raspberries which were at peak there. They had buckets and buckets in the fridge. One day for lunch, we made a version of the FFwD recipe for Mozzarella, Tomato, and Berry Salad, substituting black raspberries for the strawberries, and drizzling with some raspberry balsamic vinegar we came across at Lebherz Oil and Vinegar Emporium. Then for the family dinner celebrating my niece Maggie’s 10th birthday, I made this Brown-Butter Raspberry Tart with the black raspberries. It was like a sugar cookie studded with fruit in a pastry crust. Yum!

The following weekend, back in New England, we caught the final weekend of U-Pick strawberries at Chipman Farm in Maine. We picked 17 pounds in the morning and spent the afternoon making three batches of strawberry freezer jam (21 containers). Until next summer, we’ll enjoy strawberry jam stirred into yogurt for breakfast. I also made a no-bake strawberry pie: a graham cracker crust with crushed strawberries cooked with cornstarch and sugar to make a gorgeous glossy jewel-toned filling and some fresh berries stirred in.

Two weeks later, again up in Maine, we made an expedition to Goss Berry Farm to pick raspberries. This is one of Howard’s favorite outings every summer. They have the most organized berry fields we’ve ever seen. It’s a joy to pick there. The blueberries were just starting to be ready, so we decided to pick a couple quarts of blueberries to go with the raspberries. Another round of freezer jam, 21 containers of raspberry and 5 of blueberry, to alternate with the strawberries for yogurt.

Now, the blueberries are peaking. We have one giant bush next to our dock at the lake. They’re not the big plump cultivated berries like we picked at Goss Farm, but they’re not the tiny wild low-bush blueberries either. We’ve already picked a couple quarts, and they’re not over yet. I love July! I wish the season lasted longer.

Strawberry Pie

Graham Cracker Crust, baked (see below)
1 quart strawberries
¾ cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp cold water

Hull & wash berries, leaving the best ones whole. Mash about half the berries. Make a paste from the cornstarch, salt, and water. In a medium saucepan, combine mashed berries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir in cornstarch paste. Cook over medium heat until thick, smooth, and transparent, stirring constantly. Cool a bit, then, stir in whole berries, saving 8 or so for garnish. Pour into baked pie shell and chill. Garnish with reserved berries. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired. (I prefer it plain.)

You can also make this in a 9-inch pie pan. You can also use a prebaked pastry crust, but I like the graham crackers.

Graham Cracker Crust
1¼ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 crackers)
2 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine crumbs, sugar and butter in a small bowl and mix well. Press mixture evenly over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake in the center of the oven for 8 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.