Deconstructed (French Fridays with Dorie: Dieter's Tartine)


To break down into components.

To dismantle.

Its a big word.

Deconstruction cuts across the threads of life in so many ways.

Tearing down the set after the last performance of a play - paving the way for the next production.

That abandoned department store that has been left unoccupied for so many years, dismantled to pave way for something new.

Emptying a room in preparation for a remodel.

Packing it all up - getting ready to start over somewhere else.

Figuring out how to rearrange your life in the absence of a loved one.

There are two sides to deconstruction.

The sense of loss and missing that comes along with leaving something behind.

On the other side, there may be feelings of anxiousness jumbled up with the anticipation that comes along with facing what lies ahead.

Change is inevitable.

We can't hold on to what was forever. Maybe, the best we can do is figure out how to help the process along so that we are ready for "what comes next".

Sometimes, the old must be deconstructed to make way for the new.

On a lighter note, I bring you this week's French Fridays with Dorie selection in its deconstructed form.

Yes, one of the simplest recipes in the book and I still couldn't bring myself to follow the directions. Sigh. 

Chopped cucumbers and tomatoes. A mound of fresh, creamy cottage cheese. Wedges of still warm, crunchy toast.

It reminded me of the food of my childhood. As the Culinary Kid and I picked the components off the plate, I kind of felt like I was five again. The cucumbers went first. The tomatoes, well... we won't talk about that. (Sorry Mom, I still have a hard time eating raw tomatoes.)

I had some kind of mental block about placing all of those items on top of a piece of bread. However, Culinary Kid scooped up her cottage cheese with the toast - so I guess the whole toast/ cottage combo isn't as weird as I thought it was.

Go figure. 

On a totally unrelated is what is on the in-process & just finished reading list: The Peach Keeper and The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen (really liked them both), Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand (like) and Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult (it took me a while to get into it, but I am starting to like this one too). Up next: Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.

Peace out.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie.


  1. Deconstruction sounds complex. Can you share the recipe, in simplified form?:)

  2. That looks so refreshing and delicious. I really enjoyed the tartine and will definitely
    repeat it. In reference to your book list, I just finished reading INFERNO, and truly
    enjoyed it, as I did all of his books. Have a great weekend.

    1. Nana - I just finished Inferno, although it too me a while to read. I thought it was a good read, but it did keep me on my toes keeping everyone straight.

  3. I agree that deconstruction is a big word. My only association with cottage cheese is the scarsdale diet, go figure. They don´t sell it here anymore, or at least it´s not easily found, I don´t know why. It was so popular at one time. I like your plate Cher!

  4. I like the simplicity of your dish - an I thought of you because I didn't follow the directions, either! Ricotta sounded so muc more appealing than a blend of sour cream & cottage cheese...and, I just can't eat cucumbers. I figure this is more of a method than a recipe anyway.

    I'm really curious to know if you liked "The Girl Who Chased the Moon." I've had it for awhile but haven't read it yet.

    1. Yep, another non-recipe, recipe.
      I liked The Girl Who Chased the Moon. This is my first time reading Sarah Addison Allen's books, but I really like her works so far.

  5. You need to eat this constructed next time - you'd love it!

  6. LOL...I don't think anyone is suprised! I didn't think the cottage cheese on toast would work either, but it was darn good.

    PS...thanks for your book list...I've read 3 of those, so I'll check out the others :)

  7. Cher, I love "deconstructed" recipes, somehow they always remind me of the "deconstructed black forest cake" that my kids adore and put on the "summer bake" list that is now stuck to our fridge. Your way is a nice way to serve fresh veggies and cottage cheese.
    Enjoy your weekend! Hope all is well!

  8. Did you write this deconstructed stuff for my benefit? It's as if you took the script from my playbook. Hopefully, after a year, I'm through with the deconstructed mumbo jumbo and am on to organized, all together and in control (that means toasted bread, cottage cheese, and tomato-cucumber-stacked up in order). I'm wondering if you don't like the "idea" of a tartine or if the combo, including the chopped tomato, is what turned you off. I do agree that the cottage cheese could be a little off-putting.

    1. Just my own insanity - but, I can definitely see how you could relate.

      I like tartines in general, but there are just certain foods that I like to eat on their own, not all jumbled up together - cottage cheese is one of those foods. Maybe if I had made a cucumber goat cheese tartine (hold the tomatoes - blech), I would have been more on board with stacking 'em up...

  9. I'm not big on raw tomatoes, either, which Kevin's okay with (more for him), but still shocks my parents, a little. Cottage cheese on toast I'm okay with, but I'd reach for the goat cheese, too, if I had my druthers.

    I'm curious about Cheryl Strayed, I've seen raves about her work and her, personally across the internet lately. I think I'll have to check her out. I just finished Janisse Ray's The Seed Underground, which I generally liked, though I couldn't get behind all her assertions. I'll be using her method to try and save tomato seeds this summer, though.

    I'll put together a little list of things you might like in Vancouver and send you some links to check out, too.

  10. This tartine is straight out of my childhood ... My mom was a cottage cheese addict, and we had this for lunch all the time with tomatoes right from the garden (aw, sorry to hear you don't like tomatoes - you've tolerated my posts exceedingly well :).

  11. Cottage cheese and I simply don't mix. I used goat cheese instead. I liked that deconstructed approach though. That works well on lots of different recipes. Clever, as always. I'm enjoying all your recent book recommendations. Did I already tell you about Life After Life by Kate Atkinson? So clever. I loved it. Now reading Michael Pollan's Cooked. Also good. Have a great weekend!

  12. LOL - I love that you found a way to diverge from the recipe. I didn't think I'd like this, but it surprised me - much better than I imagined.

  13. I can see using goat cheese - my favorite. Cottage cheese brings back memories of eating cottage cheese and pineapple (canned pineapple!). Did I just admit to that? I do like the look of your deconstructed non-recipe. :)

  14. Love your presentation! What's better than the option to pick and choose what you'd like and how much!?

  15. That deconstructed plate looked amazing. Also looks like something I would be sitting at the kitchen island with my kids nibbling on bit by bit...which is partially why I made two official slices for the taste testers and moved out of the room :) Seriously, I have had cottage cheese on toast for years..with fresh cracked pepper on top...a la I knew this would be a winner. Also enjoyed your discussion on deconstruction - you gave this week's recipe the thought it deserved while I was delighted to only have to toast bread.....kudos !

  16. You are on a reading mission! That's the way I've been lately. I never cared for Tom Wolfe but something I read about him caught my attention recently and I decided to try him again. I'm reading Back To Blood and I think its an excellent commentary on modern American life.I have a stack of library books to get through so I'm reading like its my job! Changes in family life are hard for us takes a while to find our way through it. Your deconstructed dish sounds perfect!

  17. Now that my kids swim season is over I hope to start "Inferno" as my fiction book and the new book about the political side of Jesus called, "Zealot" I saw the author on a talk show and he really had a fresh take on historical Jesus.
    When I was in graduate school for English "Deconstructionism" of literature by a the French philosopher Jacques Derrida was all the rage. We used to spend hours with our professors breaking down text until we would find, "The inherit contradiction" or we would just go insane and bang our heads on the desk. Thank you France for yet another philosophy that has scrambled my mine.
    This all some how relates to Dieter's Tartine...right?

  18. Your deconstructed "tartine" seems perfect for that summer apéro!

  19. Deconstructed is perfect! And I share your affliction with directions/instructions. Your reading list is terrific - don't you just adore the printed page...

  20. I guess I was not the only one not excited about the recipe this week. :) At least it was easy. Deconstruction can be a source of melancholy but I much prefer the new beginning, new interpretation, new perspective way to look at it.

  21. OK. Yes. Thank you. Brilliant. If there was ever a dish that deserved deconstruction it was this one. I am so mad I didn't think of it myself. I'm also so mad that until I saw yours sitting here like this I never realized it but that this dish is one of those dishes were the whole is NOT greater than the sum of its parts. Its just a bunch of parts. They were good parts mind you but just parts...piled on top of each other not really making a sum. Just not a greater sum.

  22. I'm jealous of your book list. I definitely miss having time to read, and many of those are books I've read/want to read. Thanks for sharing...You are too funny. I really liked the combined ingredients, but your presentation is very pretty.


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