While you were enjoying the guest posts in our New Mama Meals series, here’s a linky list of we’ve been up to…
1. We had a baby. We named him Owen.
2. My mom successfully kept us alive for a week after he was born.
3. We’ve successfully kept Owen alive so far.
4. I had an absurdly realistic dream that we -surprise!- actually had twins. In the dream, it was all girl logistics as Eric and I discussed the fact that we had no girl name, no girl clothes, no second car seat. I woke up in a cold sweat.
5. Generosity: People brought us so many meals, and I had so little need to cook that a spider built a sizable web between my counter top and spice rack.
6. I got myself through those first painful weeks of breastfeeding by reading this blog while nursing. Rae, the author, has been blogging for 7 years, and I’ve read 4 of the years so far. My obsession walks a thin line between flattery and stalkery.
7. We took Owen on his first road trip to meet my family up north [and there we had a National Lampoon’s vacation which involved (a) my brother and nephew nearly dying while out in the middle of the lake during a severe, 70-mph-winds, thunderstorm; (b) storm-induced power-outage on a 98* day; and (c) my breaking out in hives after my body decided to reject the antibiotic I was taking.]
8. Eric made a video of our now-epic vacation:
9. We came back just in time for me to be in my friend Lauren’s wedding. Fortunately, the hives disappeared just one day before they tied the knot.
10. We’re back for four days before heading down to Chicago for my cousin’s wedding. Oh the beauty of July.
Needless to say, I’ve spent very little time in the kitchen. With the meals we were brought, the 100* heat wave we’ve been having, and all our travels, I’ve barely been in there. But the other day, I had a bunch of strawberries I was trying to use up, and I was dreaming about Joy the Baker’s strawberry balsamic flatbread and lamenting at how little time I had to make my own dough, like in her recipe, when I stumbled upon this recipe for strawberry bruschetta on Shutterbean.
From the baguette, balsamic-soaked strawberries, and speediness of the Shutterbean recipe, and the orange zest and mint from the Joy the Baker recipe, I created a love-child of the two. Toasted baguette slices, smeared with orange-zest-infused goat cheese, topped with balsamicy strawberries, and kissed with chopped mint – these little bites of summer are to die for. These can come together in about 20 minutes tops and make a perfect little lunch – especially with some white wine. Plus, you can make a delicious next-day salad with your leftover strawberries and toasted baguette, cut up as croutons. This recipe was the perfect way for me to tip-toe back into the kitchen. I hope it acts as your excuse to go ahead and buy those on-sale strawberries today.
2-3 tbsp. butter
1 (4 oz.) goat cheese log
zest of 2 oranges
1 quart strawberries, hulled and chopped
1-2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (to taste)
1/4 c. fresh mint, chopped
Place rack on top tier of oven and preheat to 400*.
Cut baguette into 1/2-inch slices and butter one side of each piece. Place bread, butter-side down- on baking sheet, and bake for 4-5 minutes or until toasty, golden, brown on the bottom. Remove from oven and set aside.
Mix balsamic vinegar into strawberries and let sit for 10 minutes.
Mix orange zest into goat cheese. Spread the mixture onto each piece of bread.
Spoon strawberry/balsamic vinegar mixture onto each piece.
Top each piece with chopped mint. *Don't skimp on the mint - it makes all the flavors blend so well.