“Garden Party Bites” for The 2015 Historic Germantown Garden Guzzle

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I love Garden Parties. Whatever the season. May Garden Parties in Nashville are the best. Gardens are verdant, flowers blooming, herbs abundant and the weather is still cool enough to keep the mosquitos at bay. This was the setting yesterday for the 2015 Historic Germantown Garden Guzzle, an annual event that is now over 26 years old. The idea is to tour neighborhood gardens, drink wine and beer, have a few snacks along the way and convene with neighbors to celebrate the coming of summer. It is a unique Historic Germantown Neighborhood event and it has been mine, and Wouter’s, pleasure to have been a part of it for 10 years.

This year our garden was on the tour. As a garden host it is expected of one to have some sort of “bites” available for the “guzzlers”. After rummaging around in our cheese drawer and a quick trip to the grocery these are the “bites” I came up with. “Sun-dried Tomato-Fresh Dill-Cream Cheese & Feta with Zaatar Spread” for matzoh & water crackers and “Blackberry-Goat Cheese & Blue Cheese Dip” with sweet potato chips, flax-seed chips & crisp raisin bread plus a large bowl of chilled green grapes.

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(I used my new “Hasami Porcelain” bowls from “Wilder” which is an amazing art and home goods shop in our neighborhood on 4th Avenue North.)

These were both “off the cuff” recipes based on what I had in the fridge and pantry.  I was pretty confident about the sun-dried tomato-dill dip but not so sure about the combination of blackberries and blue cheese? A delicious combination on both counts!

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Don’t you think this color is both fantastic and just a bit odd for anything other than ice cream? I do, but it was fantastic all the same.

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Our dog Ella standing partially under the table hoping to catch a few bites for herself!

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Wouter here is a bite for you…enjoy while in Amsterdam!

Here is an older blog post I did a few years ago on our “Guzzle”.

Sundried Tomato-Dill-Feta & Zaatar Spread and Blackberry-Goat Cheese & Blue Cheese Dip

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
  • 1 generous Tbsp Zaatar
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries + extra for garnish
  • 6 ozs blue cheese crumbled
  • 8 ozs goat cheese softened

Directions:

1. For Sun-dried Tomato-Dill Spread put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth and spreadable. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.  Serve with crackers such as salted matzoh and water crackers.

2. For the Blackberry-Blueberry Dip put all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust to your liking. Serve with chips such as sweet potato, flaxseed and raisin bread crisps.

Notes: Feel free to experiment and come up with your own “what do I have on hand” dips and spreads for summer parties. Keep it simple and fresh and it will be hard to go wrong.

Bon Apetit!

“First Figs…a Savory Tart”

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First figs are always the sweetest. Much anticipated & coveted… to be eaten warm sun-ripen directly from the tree or added to simple recipes that highlight their rich earthy juiciness such as this savory tart.

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All over my neighborhood there are fig trees…some very old,  branches laden with ripening figs…others recently planted lightly adorned with just a few green figs. I do not have a fig tree in my yard  &  there is no need for me to add one to my landscape as my neighbors are very generous. Fig Tarts to Steal Your Heart, A Late August Four Letter “F” Word to Savor and Jam the Figs are some of my other fig posts here at Food on Fifth using the bounty of my friends.

Here are the ingredients for this easy savory tart:

1 pre-made pie crust or your favorite homemade crust, 2 eggs, 8 ounces goat cheese & 8 ounces ricotta cheese (both at room temp), 6 to 8 fresh figs, black pepper, crunchy sea salt such as Maldon

Here is how I made it:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press pie crust over the bottom & up the sides of a tart pan with a removable bottom if you have one, if not, then use a regular 9″ pie tin.

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2. Cut figs into quarters lengthwise. Set aside. Using a mixer blend the eggs, goat cheese & ricotta cheese together until creamy.

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3. Spread cheese mixture over the pie crust.

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4. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until set & slightly golden. Remove from oven.

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5. Top with the quartered figs. Return to oven & bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven & allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. The figs cook just a bit in this last 10 minutes of baking in which they begin to caramelize. Sprinkle with crunchy sea salt right before cutting into servings. Great as an appetizer or as an entrée with a simple green salad.

Printable Recipe Here

Fig & Goat Cheese Tart

Have you ever enjoyed a fresh sun-warmed fig right off a tree?

Which do you like best, dried figs or fresh?

What is your favorite way to use figs in recipes?

When you think”figs” do you immediately think of The Garden of Eden…Adam & Eve…Michelangelo’s David?

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Fig Lovers Unite!