Friday, June 4, 2010

Cherry Relish On A Goat Cheese Crostini

We got up to the Pacific Coast town of Gualala early on Saturday morning (we left around 5:30AM to beat traffic, and boy did we ever, didn't see more than about 3 cars for 150 miles) after driving for about three and a half hours. We pulled upto the house around 9 and woke everyone up (sorry!). The house we were staying at was a two story house on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, with sweeping views and a massive kitchen. What more could a couple of foodies want? How about a house full of more foodies? We looked at each other and knew this was going to be something to remember. Or depending on how much wine we had, something to try to remember. Laura started cooking up some crab omelettes while Ian started shucking oysters. Ian as it turned out decided that oysters would be the ongoing theme of our house and picked up a small handful. There were only about 150 left when we got there on Saturday morning, and my understanding is they were gone by the time everyone else left on Tuesday. Theres really nothing like a fresh shucked oyster that was plucked from the sea only a day or two before. After breakfast, we went into town to look around and grab a few last minute supplies while everyone else went through the wake up phase of the day. Saturday night, Ian and Lindsay got together and put on a culinary display, serving a number of different courses and wine parings, and we spent the night wining and dining. It sure is nice to eat great food as prepared by someone else from time to time!

When we got invited to the Abalone Dive and Picnic we were a little concerned about what to make and how to serve the number of people that would be coming (around 100!). We came up with the stuffed apricots but felt that it wouldn't be substantial enough for such a big event. After some digging through websites and looking at recipes until it felt like our eyeballs would fall out Charisse stumbled on the idea of a fruit relish. With Cherry season right upon us a Cherry Relish seemed ideal. Charisse also had some extra jicamas sitting around so we used those too. If your like Eric, the first thing that popped into your head was probably "What the heck is a jicama?". It's a funny looking starchy root. Adds great texture to something like this, without brining much extra flavor to throw off the dish. Now we've not met many people who will eat relish of any kind by the spoonful without something to slather it over, so we toasted up some Crostini and slathered the bread with chèvre. Pile on some Cherry Relish and you've got another super appetizer.

More pictures and recipe after the break

Laura and Charisse
Laura and Lindsay
Sean enjoying the deckside hot tub
Andrew helping out in the kitchen
150 Oysters ready to eat

Views from the kitchen windows

Ian and Lindsay's cooking

Our Cherry Relish Crostinis:

Cherry Relish On A Goat Cheese Crostini
What you will need: 

2 cups fresh red cherries (pitted and chopped)
1 cup jicama (peeled and chopped)
2 scallions (thinly sliced)
2 Tbs fresh mint (minced)
1 tsp red wine vinegar
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup chevre
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
2 french baguettes sliced

Preheat oven to 400*

Brush baguette slices with light olive oil and toast until light brown and crispy.  Don't go to far from your oven, these can burn quickly if not watching.  Allow crostini to cool before topping. 

In a large bowl combine cherries, jicama, scallions, mint, vinegar, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Set aside

In a medium bowl mix the two cheeses together until smooth. 

Top 1 slice of crostini with about 1 Tbs (give or take a bit) with the cheese then pile a large scoop of the cherry relish.

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