Instructions Included (French Fridays with Dorie: Goat Cheese & Strawberry Tartine)

The whole non-recipe recipe thing of the past couple of weeks has kind of had me thinking about non-instruction instructions and things that should seem obvious, but may require a little bit of "leading the horse to water".

For example, preparing ramen noodles. If you look on the side of a package of ramen, there are instructions on how to prepare them. Somewhere out there, there must be a soul who is making ramen for the very first time and needs a little help getting it right.

Toothpaste.  If you ever check out your toothpaste box - directions. (Hint - ancillary equipment required to get full effect of toothpaste. Hopefully, you own one already.)

I am sure the list of non-instruction instructions is endless.

This week's non-recipe recipe saved itself from ludicrous simplicity by bringing forward the concept of a most excellent flavor combination.

Strawberries & goat cheese & balsamic vinegar.

Now, for those of you who need a recipe, it kind of goes like this.

Grill some bread. (I used a multi-grain loaf from the grocer's bakery).

Spread some creamy goat cheese on top. (I did this while the bread was slightly warm. The goat cheese was one that I found in our local co-op and was made by a local source).

Slice some berries and spread over top.

Drizzle with balsamic. (I used an espresso balsamic.)

If desired, sprinkle with cracked peppercorns. (I recommend pink peppercorns.)

Stuff your face with the delicious results. (You don't really need directions for that, do you???)

If only life were as intuitive as ramen, toothpaste and tartines...

Speaking of life, Culinary Kid finished school this week. Next week is state testing and then graduation in two weeks. That's. Pretty. Real. I am ready and not ready all at the same time.

I am not sure that I am ready to be a parent to two almost adult children. I am pretty sure they didn't ask for my permission to grow up so fast. On the plus side, it is pretty stinking cool to have two extra people in the house that are capable of doing house chores.

In other news, my CSA share started up this week. The goat cheese/ strawberry combination is going to have to be revisited when strawberries show up in the box. (We are a couple weeks out from berries up here.) This is our second year with this CSA and even though it is a little bit of a pain to get to, the experience far outweighs the aggravation. The couple that runs the farm and their daughter are great people and very passionate about what they do. And they grow some pretty darn good fruit and produce. 

In anticipation of the onslaught of vegetables, I have been spending time each evening scouring through stacks of cookbooks. I have to find something besides pestos and salads to use up all those greens. If it was green and showed up in the box, I probably made a pesto out of it. I am still working off last summer's pesto bounty. Two cookbooks that I think are going to get a lot of use this summer? Roots by Diane Morgan and Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison. I've also been spending a bit of time with Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant and Vegetarian Everyday (David Frenkiel/ Luise Vindahl). People can tell where I sit in the living room because that's the spot with the stack of cookbooks next to it.

I hope everyone's summer is getting off to a good start.

Peace out.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie.


  1. "If only life were as intuitive as ramen, toothpaste and tartines…" Truer words were never spoken, Cher :)

  2. I love CSA programs. I'm such a spaz that I already started looking them up in DC, since (she says, with no degree of certainty) that's where we're looking to go next. In 2 years. I have my priorities in check. I'll have no place to live, but by God, I'll have vegetables!! haha. When I left DC 6 years ago, there weren't any programs available. Now, I'm happy to say, there are. PHEW!

  3. Beautifully done, my friend...hooray for the non-recipe! And congrats on the upcoming graduation!

  4. Good post Cher, and have to agree on intuition. But I´ll be one of those first time ramen noodles person, don´t even know what they are. The tartines are fantastic! Can´t wait for sweet strawberries to appear.

  5. A beautiful platter of deliciousness just waiting to be gobbled up by a strawberry and goat cheese lover like myself! I like non recipe recipes, especially with a just a few perfect ingredients -like strawberries and goat cheese, and your bread looks pretty good too!
    Congratulations on the upcoming graduation, I remember those days-they pass too quickly, - just enjoy every moment;-)

  6. Shampoo. Has instructions. lol. The last one is famously "Repeat" which, of course, is what this recipe for a tartine doesn't have but should as I am guessing we all did repeat. I repeated with Cherries.

    1. You are too funny! I never realized these things had instructions on them! Lol!

  7. I wish my son would read the instructions on how to use soap. How great you CSA is already starting to come in... I hope it fits with some of our recipes.

  8. Congrats on the graduation! You had me laughing out loud as I read about the instructions on toothpaste. I didn’t know they had instructions on the box. And Espresso Balsamic sounds delicious…a great flavor addition! Have a wonderful weekend, Cher!

  9. Yes, wasn't this an amazing combination! I would never have tried this alone, now I am hooked.

  10. Kids grow up too quickly but you do have a point about having extra help with chores. :) I hope you enjoy your second year with the CSA. Being part of one really expanded my culinary horizon. Great choice of cookbooks you have there. Personally, I love Nigel Slater's Tender (both volumes). Incredible source of ideas.

  11. lol I have a stack of notebooks, post its and magazines next to my spot! I can't wait to see what you do with your CSA!!

  12. I had a mini crisis when my youngest graduated from high school! I've always wanted to do a CSA. One of these days......So many interesting balsamic vinegars. I've never had espresso balsamic but it sounds good.

  13. Congrats on the graduation! Hope you like the recipe again when you try it in the future.

  14. Roots is on my 'to buy' list, for certain. It sounds great. I'm going to go to a cookbook swap this summer, which will justify adding to my collection - unless I get carried away at the swap, that is...

    All of Dorie's un-recipes have been a hit for me, as I recall, perhaps because they give lots of leeway for preferences.

  15. It's [un]recipes like this that make me wish I had been able to stick with the group (Dorie's creations are all awesome, but she really shines at the [un]recipe). Strawberries are at their peak here right now - sweet and perfect - I'm all about anything with strawberries!

  16. espresso balsamic AND pink peppercorns. why, you've made this tartine even more chic than it already is.
    and congrats on the graduation. time flies fast huh?

  17. I'm loving these non-recipes. Such a great idea and so easy that I know I will make it again and again.

  18. This non-recipe will be making frequent appearances around here, in various forms. In fact, I'm off to the farmer's market this morning to see if I can score some more fresh strawberries.

  19. expresso balsamic... I have not heard before!
    I'm learning a whole lot of stuff by cooking with FFWD.
    I just had a baby and it will be a long while before she grows up into an adult.
    Good job on being a wonderful mother to your kids!

  20. Oh yum creamy goat cheese crunchy bread, fresh strawberries covered in an acidic balsamico sauce. Your tartines are very inviting, I love that for breakfast or as a snack Cher. =)

  21. Cher, beautiful ripe strawberry slices on top of your wonderful tartines - so nice that everyone seemed to have enjoyed this simple recipe so very much!
    We have something similar to the CSA boxes here and it is a wonderful initiative that seem to call for some really inspirational cooking/baking sometimes!
    Have a good Sunday with some wonderful "leisure" time and good (cook)books!

  22. God we all loved this. Our tiny local option for the Vermont creamery was way too small and I will be looking for econo sized versions when I next head north :) WOW- Culinary Kid is graduating this year !!! Oh my, how exciting and how "many other emotions" too :) All the best with the adventures this summer ~

  23. Great photo Cher!
    Culinary Kid is graduating! Congratulations :)
    What an exciting (and scary) time! We are a couple of years away from that but I know it will be here before you know it. I've noticed going to uni where you guys live means leaving home? I have a some friends who are from the US and they are surprised here the kids usually live at home while studying at uni. I'm learning there are pros and cons to all situations!

  24. Check again to see if Culinary Kid is graduating. I thought we were just going through the graduation of Child #1 (wasn't that Runner Girl??). Did you know there are pills to stop teen-age girls from growing up too fast??? Seriously, it must be an exciting time at your house and I know you are proud of those two. They seem like lovely young women. Love the multi-grain boule as much as I do the entire tartine. Although I haven't ever participated in a CSA, I did just receive Vegetable Literacy. Wow, is that some book. I am neck-deep into my Master Naturalist program now and my Botany/Wildflower prof is going nuts over that cookbook. We gave it to her for her birthday. Please let me know what you try and I will do the same. I am just starting "And the mountains echoed" and already have a difficult time putting it down. Happy Summer to you and, yes, Mountain Mary is just a fine name. I am so glad to be home in Colorado.

  25. I cant wait to see what inspiration brings out of those CSA boxes and late night study sessions!

    I love your choice of bread for the tartines too!

  26. I've been loving the non-recipes too. This one will be revisited when the local strawberries are here.

    Our CSA starts this week. Weeks of intensive cooking ahead. Yay! I want to get Vegetable Literacy, and I'll check out Roots for later in the season. For greens, you should look at Martha Rose Shulman's Mediterranean Harvest. Lots of great tarts filled with greens in there.

  27. bahaha! no instructions necessary, you have me swooning for these! :)


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