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July 29, 2007

Sugar and spice, mustard and coffee (Recipe: double strawberry tartlets)

Bbm2007

The next best thing for a pantry junkie to actually going food shopping for new pantry items is to have new pantry items appear, like manna from the post office, right at your front door.

So, when a package arrived last week from Erika at Tummy Treasure, and I saw the Wisconsin return address, I was excited.

Would there -- could there? -- be some local foods in the box, some new treats to add to The Perfect Pantry, and, perhaps, a lovely note from the blogger who drew my name in this Blogging-by-Mail exchange, organized by Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness?

Yes, yes and yes!

The idea behind Blogging-by-Mail is simple; you send a package of your favorite things to another food blogger, and someone else sends a package to you. Last year my package went to Australia, and I received one from Switzerland. This year, I shipped a few of my favorite things to North Carolina.

Erika maintains four blogs of her own, and also writes for Kids Cuisine. She enclosed a lucky thirteen items:

  • A lovely jar of strawberry jam, made this year from berries Erika and her children picked together.
  • Chocolate goodies, including Ghirardelli sweet ground chocolate (for making hot cocoa and brownies), chocolate covered cacao nibs, and a package of Wisconsin's own Door County chocolate-raspberry truffle flavored coffee.
  • Beautiful, unfiltered wildflower honey from Kallas Honey Farm in Milwaukee.
  • Wisconsin Wilderness cranberry mustard, which Erika recommends for dunking pretzels or smearing on a turkey sandwich.
  • More beverage treats: Door County vanilla nut coffee and a chai tea sampler.
  • For the ultimate dinner-and-a-movie nibble, a bag of Ruby Red Wisconsin Gold Harvest popcorn!

Also in the box were two savory items I keep in my pantry all the time, so I was delighted to be able to replenish my stash of Amore tomato paste in a tube (one of the best inventions ever) and Pickapeppa hot sauce from Jamaica (because you can never have too much hot sauce).

Three non-food items -- candles, note cards and soap -- rounded out this lovely and thoughtful gift.

Double strawberry tartlets

Erika's homemade strawberry jam inspired these quick little tarts. Use any fresh berries, or chunks of fresh peach or nectarine. Serves 6, with a dollop of whipped cream, cardamom yogurt, or vanilla frozen yogurt on top.

Ingredients

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1-1/2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced (or blueberries or sliced peaches)
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp of water
Granulated sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Roll out pastry sheet, and cut into six rectangles. Place rectangles on a rimmed sheet pan covered with a Silpat or parchment paper. With a fork, poke holes all over the pastry. Spread the center of each piece with a light coating of strawberry jam -- be sure to keep at least a half-inch border all the way around -- and top with fresh fruit. Paint the edges of each pastry with the beaten egg wash. Sprinkle a tiny bit of granulated sugar on top of the fruit. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and slightly brown. Let cool before serving.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Apple tart for non-bakers
Asparagus gruyere tart
Grilled fruit with cardamom yogurt

Comments

What a wonderful surprise! And what a delightful idea! Must check it out.
I keep thinking about making strawberry jam... then I just eat the strawberries and think maybe tomorrow...

Oh I'm so glad the package made it there safely! Those tarts sound really good and simple, I'm going to need to pick up some puff pastry soon, I think.

I couldn't figure out a safe way to add some Wisconsin cheese to the box...

What a super fun idea.

Very cool! Nice to receive a package like that.

Paz

What a wonderful package to receive! I wish I signed up for the event, but I only discovered it after teh deadline. Hopefully for the next round.

That's really a fantastic package!!

Katie, blogging by mail is lots of fun -- never know what you'll get!

Erika, thank you again. We're having such fun with our Wisconsin treats.

Christine, Paz, Tanna -- yep, it's very cool!

Nora, this is my second time, and I really enjoy it. Watch for it next summer....

How nice - treats shipped directly to the front door! Would love to try a touch of that cranberry mustard - sounds excellent!

I'm all about receiving packages. I get excited when I see one at the door. A great selection indeed!

TW, it's really good mustard -- I've had it before -- great on turkey sandwiches (the obvious) because it's not too sweet.

Veron, I love getting packages, too, just the way I used to love getting letters from far-flung friends (before the days of email, if you can imagine it!).

This is so fun...receiving that surprise package. You never know what you gonna get!

Hah!-Pickapeppa--I love it! You know I've heard of blogging-my-mail, but you've made me see how fun it can be. What a thoughtful package Erika sent you and what a thoughtful recipe you chose to hilight her strawberry jam.

Tigerfish, I love surprises, especially when I know they will have something to do with food!

Susan, both of my experiences with BBM have been great fun. Hope you'll try it next time around. If you check out Jen's post about what she received from me, you'll see some familiar Rhode Island products....

Wow, just like all the others said, looks like so much fun! I definitely want to take part next year! As for your strawberry tartlets, they sound delicious! You should enter them into Recipe4Living's strawberry contest!

Hillary, I've had such fun with Blogging by Mail. For a pantry lover, it's always great to get new pantry items to try -- even if they come from far away, I'll try to find something similar close to home.

I've done foodie swap boxes with a forum I visit, and they are such good fun. Mine came from Denmark and there were so many exotic things to me, and pretty much vice versa too.

Your box looks lovely :)

Kelly-Jane, it was lovely to have something homemade included in the box, and I'm still enjoying tasting some of the local Wisconsin products.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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