Hey friends! Matt and I climbed Mt. Fuji over the weekend and it was incredible! We did make it to the top. I was a bit worried that it wasn’t going to happen due to some very bad weather (think monsoons blowing me off the face of the volcano) but luckily the weather on our second day was better. More to come on Fuji soon!
Before we went, I made this balsamic roasted cherry bruschetta that made me a bit nostalgic. One of my favorite childhood activities besides sports and teasing boys (you know the usual things) was picking berries. I didn’t do it often, only when I visited my Aunt Danette and got to go out in her strawberry patch or down to my neighbor Marv’s to pick raspberries a few times each summer. I think the part of me that seeks solitude and quiet was there in the berry patches as a child. I felt something magical with my little bucket and my big opportunity to eat as many berries as I wanted without anyone around. Juicy, sweet, my moment of zen.
Later, as a teen I would go with friends over to Flathead Lake, a few hours west of my home in central Montana. There you could go up into the mountains and pick huckleberries. A very rare and unique treat, you have to know the right areas to go pick huckleberries. And watch out for bears who were competing for the huckleberries. There were also farms around Flathead Lake where you could pick sweet Flathead cherries. More went into my mouth than my bucket most of the time and I would end up with a massive stomachache. Not so surprising if you know me.
These days, cherries and berries are an expensive treat. Here in Okinawa, fruit is very very expensive. Forget gorging enough to get a bellyache, I just try to maximize my cooking and eating fresh of the few that I can justify buying. I roasted these dark sweet cherries in balsamic vinegar and honey, then made them into a delightful summer bruschetta. The gorgonzola and basil give them a little bit of complexity but try a few right out of the oven after they cool for a few minutes. Yummm. I have a bit of a bruschetta thing going with my other recent curried chickpea herb bruschetta but I just think it’s a perfect appetizer or light meal, especially in the summertime. I found that the flavors significantly blended through a few hours to a day refrigeration but if you can’t wait you could eat it immediately.
- 4 cups pitted fresh sweet dark cherries
- ⅓ cup honey
- ⅓ cup + 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, divided
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ⅓ cup basil chiffonade
- ½ cup crumbled gorgonzola
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Garnish with extra basil chiffonade
- Olive oil
- 16-20 inch baguette cut into ¾ inch pieces, ends cut off
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place pitted cherries on lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix honey, ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Pour over cherries and toss lightly. Roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven and allow to cool somewhat.
- In a medium bowl, mix cherries, juices from roasting, 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, gorgonzola, pepper, and basil chiffonade. Mix gently to combine. For best results, refrigerate and let flavors come together for a couple hours to a day but it can be eaten right away.
- Brush olive oil on bread slices. Toast baguette on a baking sheet in oven at 350F for a few minutes on each side. Serve cherries on slices of toasted bread with basil chiffonade garnish.