Cook the Book Fridays – Cherry Tomato Crostini

Cherry Tomato Crostini with Herbed Water Buffalo Cheese

I spend the hottest part of the summer negotiating with myself over when I can turn on the oven and for how long. As much as I love stone fruit pies, roasted corn, and all that heat can bring to summer’s produce, I am not built for hot weather (or cold, but at least turning on the oven in winter helps alleviate my weaknesses). I should probably take up grilling, since I’m not sure how my neighbours would feel about my visualizations of an outdoor kitchen.

Cherry tomatoes ready for roasting

One thing that can motivate me is high summer’s tomatoes. I love roasted tomatoes. I usually slow-roast them, but David Lebovitz‘ quicker method is so good, I might just start using it all the time.

Roasted cherry tomatoes

I had a meeting in the backyard while the tomatoes were in the oven, so the heat was only a factor when I was taking them out. I ended up leaving them in a little longer than the recipe calls for, inadvertently, but they came out just the way I like them – soft, jammy, and a bit browned. I roasted them with thyme and rosemary, lashings of black pepper and a little sea salt. They are sweet and savoury in perfect measure.

Making herbed water buffalo cheese

That was today’s primary activity in making this week’s Cook the Book Fridays selection, but I started preparing this dish yesterday. To make the herbed cheese, I bought some thick, Greek-style yogurt. It was supposed to be goat’s yogurt, but the only containers I could find were huge and the yogurt inside seemed runny. So, on a whim, I used water buffalo yogurt instead. It’s milder than goat, so the finished cheese is less tangy than it would have been, but I really like the results. It’s more like labneh than a soft cheese and it’s perfect for this recipe.

Herbed Water Buffalo Cheese

I’ve made chèvre before and loved it, but this recipe is much more likely to be made regularly. It’s easier and can be used in many of the same ways as soft cheeses like goat cheese. Mixed with garlic, shallots, cayenne, and herbs (I used basil, flat-leaf parsley, chives, and thyme), it made a perfect foil for the tomatoes.

The last step was the easiest, but it required a little fortitude. I’d been out in the heat, running errands, and the last thing I wanted to do was turn the oven back on to toast the bread. It was worth it – who can argue with toast that’s been slathered in olive oil before going into the oven and then rubbed with a garlic clove on its way out? But I might cheat tomorrow, if it’s as hot. Toast can be brushed with olive oil on its way out of the toaster, after all.

Cherry Tomato Crostini with Vegan Cream Cheese and Gluten Free Bread

I actually made this two ways – one version with gluten-free bread, vegan cream cheese, and the roasted tomatoes; the other with the French country bread, the herbed water buffalo cheese, and the roasted tomatoes. The second one was for me and I loved it. The first one didn’t go over as well – the vegan cream cheese wasn’t a perfect match for the roasted tomatoes.

I’ve got enough of everything to do it all over again tomorrow. And if I use my toaster cheat, I won’t have to turn the oven on at all.

If you want to try this yourself (and if you have summer tomatoes available, you should), you can find the recipe here: Cherry Tomato Crostini with Homemade Herbed Goat Cheese. But, buy the book – everything in it is stellar.

You can read through everyone’s posts here. And consider joining this community of wonderful cooks and lovely people, as we work our way through David LebovitzMy Paris Kitchen.


21 thoughts on “Cook the Book Fridays – Cherry Tomato Crostini

    1. I should have done that, too! There’s no shame in using a toaster, after all. The buffalo yogurt made a nice, mild “cheese.” I love the tang of goat’s milk, but this was a good variation.

  1. We seem to have done the same and gotten similar results. That includes toasting the bread. It was taking a long time before the bread turned medium brown in the oven, and was too crunchy, hard crunchy. I toasted the bread the next round and like it so much better. I’d start using this recipe too to make soft cheese and fast slow-roasted tomatoes. Very nice post.

  2. I didn’t realize your temps in Vancouver were so high and hot. Here in the mountains we are spoiled, that’s for sure. I loved these Roasted Tomatoes and, like you, although I have tried Dorie’s and others, this recipe worked for me. I think the reason is that it was “less work.” Your goat cheese looks delicious as well. This was a light and filling lunch and dinner for me. Easy to make again and again.

  3. I use the toaster oven cheat as often as possible during our few (but terrible) days of hot weather, though it does still heat up the kitchen some. You guys have really been getting it this summer in terms of the heat and I’m sorry for that. I’m like you–I really want it to be between 65F and 78F, otherwise I’m too cold or too hot. I’d rather be cold, though.

    Gorgeous photos and so glad yours worked out! That’s interesting the vegan cream cheese didn’t go well with the tomatoes and good to know if I ever want to make this for vegan or non-dairy friends. Hmmm.. And water buffalo yogurt! How cool!

    P.s. I did see your post and YES! I’ll be in touch. It’s a super-short visit overall, and I want to see you!

  4. I figured that the time required was worth it – but certainly, even in the mountains, in AZ I share your hesitence to turn on your oven. I end up doing a lot of grilling! 🙂

    Yours look wonderful, and I really appreciate your comments on making things vegan. I have some friends who have just moved here so even more reasons to look for ideas, and so it’s always helpful! Buffalo yogurt. Wow. Oh, you might want to do the beans (from my “other” recipe), the black ones were great, but any would be yummy, I think! I was thinking maybe white bean dip… lots of ideas.

    Always wonderful, my friend!

  5. As I was reading your post I just kept nodding my head in agreement over and over again. All activity in my kitchen basically ceases once the temps go over 75. This summer, however, I think that only happened for one week back in June, and since then it’s basically felt like autumn. I hear rumors that we will break into the 80s later this week, but since I wore a sweater to work today, it’s kind of hard to image. It’s been a weird summer.

  6. I am sure the toaster cheat worked perfectly! This one was good, wasn’t it? I loved the herbed goat cheese and will make it again for sure. My husband is not eating grains of any sort right now, so he had a bowl of the roasted tomatoes with some of the goat cheese mixed in, and he reports it tasted wonderful.

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