Crispy Herbed Chevre with Heirloom Tomatoes ~ PLUS Easy Herb Batter Bread

We're getting down to the nitty gritty; the very last of the
tomato season here. After this it will be the hothouse
variety until next season.

I like to treasure these last few colorful remnants of summer in
the most simple way, to let their natural sweetness shine.

This presentation is similar to what Chef Jonathan Waxman introduced
way, way back at the beginning of California Cuisine, in the 1970's.  
Long before PCs were a household commodity I remember 
clipping newspaper and magazine recipes which featured 
this exciting nouveau style of preparing food ~ 
I think most of us "of a certain age" did the same. 

Practically unheard of here prior to that time, 
fresh goat cheese became all the rage, thanks to 
Laura Chenel in Sebastopol, CA. 
She was  America's first commercial producer 
of goat cheese in the US. 
 I remember meeting Laura around 1980 as she introduced her 
newly published cookbook (featuring, of course, goat cheese) 
at one of the first Williams-Sonoma stores to branch off from the 
original store in nearby Sonoma, California.

Those were exciting times ~ though we now take the 
concept of California Cuisine rather casually, it is important to 
remember that it was the start of a food revolution, 
heavily influencing the way we eat today.


I love the colors of a mix of tomatoes! But any kind of fresh,
ripe tomatoes you have will do, slice the larger ones and just
half the cherry or pear tomatoes.

Fresh and vibrant, this salad exemplifies the roots of
California Cuisine.  Chef Jonathan's method is very simple; get the
ripest, most flavorful tomatoes adorn them simply with
salt and pepper, lemon juice and your favorite nut oil,
such as walnut, hazelnut, etc.

Blend a couple of teaspoons or more of freshly minced herbs into
the goat cheese very well,  then form the herb cheese into patties 
(about 2 ounces each), one per each serving.  
Dip in beaten egg and then in plain breadcrumbs
which have been seasoned with salt and pepper. 
(You can use Panko crumbs if you like.)

Chill the patties or at least 1/2 hour in the refrigerator, 
(they will hold together during cooking a little  better if you chill 
them even longer.) 
When thoroughly chilled bake them on a buttered baking sheet 
@ 375ºF for about 8 minutes, or brown them in a little oil 
in a frying pan over medium high heat for a few minutes 
on each side, turning once, until they are nicely golden brown.

Place on plates or a platter, arrange the tomatoes around
the patties, sprinkle with herbs of your choice, salt and freshly
ground black pepper. Squeeze lemon juice or a little of your
favorite vinegar over and drizzle with nut oil sparingly.

Serve and enjoy while the cheese is still warm.


Fast and Easy Herb Batter Bread

As an accompaniment I baked up some Herb Batter Bread,
it's from Sunset Magazine from about the same era.

It's a really easy yeast bread, so if you've ever felt intimidated
by yeast breads ~ try this one, it's practically fail proof!

 It goes really well with soups or salads, and any other simple meal. 

 I cannot count the number of times I've made this bread, 
but you can probably guess by the condition of my
1971 edition of the Sunset book. (It cost a whopping $1.95 then.)

Back then fresh artisan bread wasn't readily available as it
is today and homemade bread like this was a treat.

  You can mix it all up in your stand mixer, or by hand it is not
difficult and there is no kneading required.

I usually would bake the bread batter in a round cake pan, but this time 
I baked it off in a little rectangular pan. (About 6.5-inches x 10-inches)

I substituted about 80% of the all-purpose white flour with whole wheat flour.

It goes together quickly and is a fantastic recipe to have baking
when your loved ones or guests arrive at your home. The
aroma is so enticing!

Although we didn't know it then, 
the batter is very similar to a foccacia dough 
(which I didn't even know about years later.)

When it comes out of the oven the top is brushed with melted butter
and sprinkled with a little coarse salt to heighten the flavor of the herbs.

You can use any herbs you like, fresh or dried. In addition to the
herbs I usually always add some minced dehydrated onion to the batter.

A little butter melting on the baked, warm bread, and you just about
have heaven on a plate!  

It makes a really good little luncheon dish, or light supper,
and brings back a flood of memories of my early cooking


If you try either or both of these, I hope you'll love them!

If you would like a printable copy of the Herb Batter Bread,
hop on over to my recipe blog ~ HERE.

Thank you for coming by today, I really appreciate
your comments. 

See you next time~ 
~Mari  :)


  1. Fantastic! It does take me back to Chez Panisse.

  2. Smiling, as I actually have that cookbook. I will have to try the bread.
    Love the way you celebrate the last of the tomatoes. They are beautiful!
    Funny, but I didn't know that about goat cheese and I am from Sebastopol.

  3. you are talking my neck of the woods here in sonoma, cheese and apples, shout out to sebastapol. love the tomato shots, oh my, i love them warm in the sun with just salt and basil, drives me wild! this looks like i must give it try... if i get a chance to find them again this year~

  4. Oh my Mari, this looks delightful. I always know I'll find something really classy when I visit you blog and today is no exception! Those tomatoes are so pretty they should be in an art museum :)

  5. Well I just want to make both right now:-)
    And it's almost 10p.m.
    I think that is called inspiration.
    My daughters will love this too..

  6. What a classy dish. I remember when goat cheese was practically unknown in this country.

  7. Tomato Art!...all that tomato beauty and color is such a feast for these eyes this morning! Not that I'm not drooling over the idea of fresh baked bread and crusted goat cheese, but those tomatoes are like little jewels! Beautiful!


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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