The Dieter’s Tartine

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French Friday’s with Dorie

My little corner of suburbia just couldn’t get any more surburbianic. It’s suburbanosity is so great in fact that I’m sure if you were to close your eyes and conjure up a typical suburbanite standing in a typical “suburban paradise” of homes, condos, schools, and supermarkets you would see me and my neighborhood. And a Starbucks. We have dozens of them.

Unfortunately, if you were to do this visual exercise this week your imaginary rendition of me would have me very, very hungry and without much of a menu plan for the week.

Our life here in suburbia is actually a pretty easy one when it comes to most culinary matters. Within a 5 mile radius of our home we have nearly a dozen regular type grocery stores (flour, eggs, broccoli) and even a half dozen ‘premium’ grocery stores (preserved lemons, pimente d’espellete, fromage blanc.) This convenience certainly makes French Friday’s with Dorie a bit easier. If I were to prefer a more personalized approach to my food shopping I could even get in the car and be at a specialty butcher or fish market within minutes.

So what is the problem?

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Take out. Oh, its not that we don’t have places where you can get take out food in a pinch but they are just all so, um, suburban and crowded. And those not always conveniently located on the way home. We have the usual fast food places (many try to tempt with offers to save money.  We even have Whole Foods where the prepared food is decent but terribly overpriced. Something (besides my cash)  is missing.

What I miss from my easy suburban setup is the big city convenience and variety of decent take out food. I know this must seem like heresy coming from a food blogger but I am often madly jealous of my co-workers who work in the big city Europe and Asia satellite offices. They brag to me about how easy and inexpensive take out is with their email in-boxes filling up with various discount Foodpanda coupons and the like. They even send me pictures of what passes for inexpensive take out taunt me. Ack!

Whether it’s fish and chips (with mushy peas!) or the most amazing (and cheap) Asian noodle bowls and stir-fries, these foods are all hot and ready to be picked up on the way home. Or, gasp, delivered. Don’t get me started on the complete lack of home delivery options here in Suburblandia. (Unless its pizza of course. )

More often than not when I don’t even have time to consider a ‘real dinner’ or stop at the market what I usually end up doing is taking out a few slices of bread, toasting them, and then try to figure out some combination of leftovers to on them to make Stuff on Toast.

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This, however, is not one of those times. Yeah, I know it. I was confused to because it can be hard to tell at times. This is actually a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s book “Around My French Table”. The master work of easy continental cooking that we Doristas are chronicling each week for French Friday’s with Dorie. (Am I a “Doristo”?) Dorie Greenspan calls this “Dieter’s Tartine” but I just call it “stuff on toast”. Evidently some Parisian restaurant somewhere calls it “The Lunch Special” and has convinced the local ladies who lunch that some chopped up salad veggies and a dollop of used dairy mixture makes a chic lunch worthy of a dozen or more euros.

For my part I can think of plenty of other things I would rather be eating if I were lucky enough to be having luncheon in Paris. For me, however, this tartine was worthy of a quick dinner at home but only then because I couldn’t get any take out in this town to save my life. (I wonder if the bistro in Paris that served this offers take out? Do they send out 2-for-1 coupons for Dieter’s Tartine?  Can you get it in a happy meal?)

Within a span of two minutes I had toasted up some good bread on a grill pan and readied a mixture of nonfat cottage cheese and sour cream for spooning on the breads. (The fromage blanc store is just around the corner but alas, they don’t deliver.) Some chopped cucumber, tomato, and chives finished the job as written but I added a grind or two of pepper and a sprinkling of some dried mint I had on hand.

Those of you who need a real recipe can find it here.

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This dish was an assignment for French Friday’s with Dorie, a cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s culinary tome “Around My French Table”. We generally avoid including the recipes in our posts. However, wherever there has been a significant adaptation by me or where the recipe has already been publicly posted by Ms. Greenspan or her publishers or by hundreds of other bloggers I will either include it here (only when adapted) or provide a direct link to it. Please feel free to contact me via the link provided on my page if you need any assistance finding a French Friday with Dorie Recipe. Please buy the book.
It will change your life as it has mine.

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About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. Stuff on toast by any other name would taste as good, only apparently if you have the foresight to call it a ‘Dieter’s Tartine” you will be paid the big bucks. You have managed to make it look quite beautiful, and nothing at all like mere “stuff.” I miss take out and delivery too. Chinese night was one of the highlights of my week in NYC!

  2. Doristo is just one alphabet away from Dorito.

    But yes, not exactly the kind of recipe that induces excitement. Very pretty to look at though (and your photos certainly made sure of that)!

    • Thank you! The very LEAST I can do is make it look pretty. Don’t you think? I have to say when Dorie includes a photo already it makes it easy to just copy her. Again. :)

  3. Stuff on toast indeed. This is only a small step away from what my mom used to feed us in the summer – because the cucumbers and tomatoes came from the garden and the toast & cottage cheese were cheap… If I were in Paris, I would probably pick something different. Your garnished “stuff” is very lovely, though.

    P.S. I didn’t know that take-out existed in forms other than pizza or bad pseudo-Chinese food…

  4. Trevor, do you know that your Blog talks? The minute I linked to your Post this week, it started yakking at me. I cannot multitask worth a damn so I turned off the sound and just read your words. Which were interesting. Yes, this was a quickie and it was stuff on toast and it probably wasn’t all that exciting to dyed-in-the-wool gourmets. But, hey, I liked it. Glad you did also. Loved your pictures, once again.

  5. The horrors of suburbia, I know them well. I have to say there’s now a very good gourmet store in the community I grew up in, but the take out is slim pickings (so to speak) when I’m out visiting my parents. Your stuff on toast makes up for the lack of exciting carry out, I think.

    Oh, and you’re a Dorista – that ending doesn’t make a gender distinction, so you’re just stuck in with the rest of us!

  6. Well, your suburbia is still better equipped than my suburbia! No fromage blanc in sight….but I do have carryout chicken fried in lard only a block away…but maybe that’s not what you were looking for :) Your tartines look wonderful.

    • Um… I’m glad I don’t live near that store! Yikes. Can you imagine living next store? At least the fromage blanc store is always clean…if not a bit fermented.

  7. LOL – you are hereby a Doristo. I love your “stuff on toast” posts, and this was another good one. When I was holidaying in the US last year, Starbucks was good for a quick brekky or lunch on the run, but I never go there here. Our Starbucks don’t even have the range that the ones in the US do – at least you can buy a tasty takeout salad in the US at Starbucks.

  8. I love reading your posts. When a home cook can craft words into interesting paragraphs as well as they craft ingredients into lovely food, they earn my attention. I loved this tartine, but then again…anything piled on bread is fabulous, right?

  9. Stuff on toast it is. You are the wittiest and most original Dorista/o is the crew. Somehow, I do wish I had as many food shopping options in my suburb as you do in yours, as long as I have the time to shop.

  10. Stuff on toast,eh? Tartine, um? In Italiano si dice ‘Brushcetta!” Hey, you say tomato… Call this what you will, it looks darn tasty to me. I love light meals like this – the taste of the yeasty bread – some of it with a crunch, some softer for having soaked up that cheese, and then more crunch with the veggie topping. Yum. And about that semi-elusive fromage blanc, how about making your own… surprisingly easy, I say.

    • Somehow I think the Italians would do something a bit more exciting than this for an afternoon brushcetta Adri! Your description of the bread has me thinking I chose the wrong month to go gluten free.

  11. “Suburblandia”! Ha! And then there’s Bozeman…at least there’s internet shopping! :)
    (Garden tomatoes are red-ing and gold-ing this year though – simple pleasures! Will toss some on my toast and post today.)
    Amy

    • We always enjoy the lovely Farmer’s Market when we are there. Quite a lot of lovely produce and I bought some of the most amazing pickles and pickled beets the last time I was there from some Amish (or something.) I really can’t get enough of them so I drove home with a gallon jar in the trunk of the car.

  12. I could eat one of those tartines for lunch every day, I’m sure.

  13. Oh Trevor, your photos make me want to take a photography course. Seriously. I am lucky that I am not shamed enough to stop posting. Guess I will actually have to pay attention if they have a photo class in Seattle at the IFBC…I was planning to just hang with the Dorista’s/o’s…hopefully get a photo with Dorie…and not do any heavy lifting. The theme that carried to this week’s assembly of the toast. Thank god. And don’t even start with me on suburbia. I am a soccer mom trying to survive till the kid’s finish college. I think they should have therapy specific to what this does to people……

    • Tricia I’m sure, like me, you are not in this for the money…but rather to just grow and stay engaged with life. That is why there is always room for a class or seminar. Do find one and take one!

      Now…I am breathless when I think I could get a picture with Dorie! Do you think?

  14. My dearest doristo,

    I can only imagine your pain on not being able to find great take outs in Suburblandia. I live in a place where cheap great take outs are over abundant (yes, yet another blogger who lives in Asia – please don’t hate me). But these things come at a cost too.. I am now just starting to re-familiarise myself with my own kitchen after weeks and weeks of eating only take-outs. I even forgot where I put the veg peeler (true story). This week’s “stuff on toast” was my saviour for breaking that vicious eat-out cycle. Suburblandia actually sounds pretty nice right now to me ;)

    Yours truly,
    Your fellow dorista

    ps: love your photos, as always
    pps: are you still on blogger/wordpress/… I’m confused..

    • I am now fully in the Word Press zone and I do like it. It was a bit nerve wracking and harrowing to pull the switch but I had knowledgable help. I appreciate everyone staying with me while we finish and tidy up around here.

  15. I recall your “Stuff on Toast” rant very entertaining… and I have to chuckle thinking of the price that a fancy bistro charges for this tartine. I remember going to a nice Italian restaurant with my Italian mother and they had “aglio e olio” on the menu for $15.99. My mother said, “Oh mio dio, it’s only garlic and oil?”
    I can get hay quicker than I can get eggs in my town. Every store is a 20 minute drive. I guess that is the best dieter’s trick of all…live in the country.

    • Some bistro in Upstate NY should make a hay tartine. With fromage blanc. Our Whole Foods carries 4 kinds of fromage blanc but does not carry hay. Fair is fair I guess.

  16. Suburbia..I live in quasi suburbia…but yours is better equipped! Stuff on toast is good at home but whoever came up with the idea to put it on the menu and charge big euros for it is a genius! Your pictures are very good.

  17. “Stuff on toast” = way less confusing than the word “Dieter”. Is that even a word to describe folks on a diet?

  18. Your tartine is perfect!
    I’m laughing reading your post, you bring up many memories of being in the US on holidays and my husband going crazy with Starbucks. He hated it! He couldn’t understand why it was everywhere! But reading your post I’m realising living at Manly beach we are spoilt for choice with coffee shops and take away choices. But I guess you wouldn’t call Manly suburbia…

  19. I’ve been known to have “stuff on toast” for dinner – especially on days when time and energy are low. This version looks pretty tasty! Mine usually has mashed avocado.

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