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.
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
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.
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