Show of hands: who celebrates Valentine’s Day? Confession: I used to be a bit of a cynic, thinking it was nothing but a day to be guilted into supporting card and flower companies and feeling bad about relationship statuses. But if I think back, from a young age my family celebrated Valentine’s Day as a celebration of love of all kinds, especially the family and friend variety. My mom would surprise my sister and me with lacy Valentines and pink and red balloons, and my grandmother used to send me care packages full of Valentine’s Day decorations while I was in college. And honestly, in this world ridden with conflict and struggle and hate, who doesn’t need another day to celebrate love? Or another excuse for a special meal? (Or maybe it was simply invented for those of us in the Midwest to make it through the winter…)
Whatever the case, Alex and I love taking this time of year to dream up some special eats to eat with loved ones. This one is a super simple appetizer featuring a sweet and savory combo made in heaven: tart cherries + creamy goat cheese. We took dried Montmorency cherries and cooked them down with a little balsamic vinegar to make a sweet-tart compote, then poured it over crostini with fluffy goat cheese and topped with a few slivers of fresh sage. It’s easy to prepare for guests or for a date night in. (An aside; the more we experiment with cherries the more I’m obsessed with eating them out of the bag — the other night I exclaimed to Alex that they tasted just like fruit snacks! He had to remind me this was nature’s original fruit snack…right!)
This recipe part of a collaborative effort from some fantastic food bloggers around the web to make a Valentine’s Day meal starring cherries, which also doubles as an excuse to celebrate National Cherry Month. We love the challenge to incorporate a single ingredient throughout in every dish in a meal — some friends of ours used to have a monthly ingredient-themed dinner party, and we loved the idea as it’s the perfect excuse for creative cooking! (Let us know if any of you out there have ever had an ingredient-themed collaborative dinner party!) This menu is full of inventive options, from cherry old fashioneds to cornish hens with cherries to cherry tarts. We wish this party was IRL instead of virtual. #sigh For the full recipes, check out this Perfectly Tart Dinner Menu.
We’d love to hear if you celebrate Valentine’s Day and if you’re cooking up something fabulous? Let us know.
Tart Cherry Old Fashioned
Cherry & Goat Cheese Bites
A Couple Cooks
Tart Cherry Glazed Root Vegetables
Tart Cherry Tartelettes
Love & Lemons
We’re working with the Cherry Marketing Institute to create a few recipes with tart cherries. A bit of info on them if you are interested: Montmorency tart cherries are mainly grown on small family orchards in the US and Canada (yeah!), and are available year round dried, frozen, and as juice in grocery stores and online. We love them for their taste, but they’re also rich in nutrients, with health benefits ranging from inflammation and exercise recovery to sleep. They’re a great snack since they can fulfill that sweet craving — you can eat them plain right out of the container (our favorite!) or pair with nuts or seeds, which makes for a fantastic combo of fiber and protein. Check out more details about Montmorency tart cherries and their nutritional benefits here.
- ½ cup dried Montmorency cherries
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1 small baguette
- 6 fresh sage leaves
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the baguette, and place the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast 15 minutes until slightly browned and crisp.
- In a small saucepan, place ½ cup dried Montmorency cherries, ½ cup water, and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Bring to a strong simmer and simmer until the liquid is reduced by one half, about 7 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Thinly slice the sage leaves. To serve, spread goat cheese on top of the crostini; top with cherries and a bit of sage.
This post is sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute. All opinions are our own; we love cherries and use them often. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who keep A Couple Cooks in action!