Have you ever played the Post-it game? Everyone gets a Post-it stuck to their forehead with the name of someone famous–real or fictional–and then you take turns asking yes or no questions to figure out who you are. The first person to guess wins. I once witnessed a friend get it in three questions (“Am I an animal?” Yes. “Am I pig?” Yes. “Am I Miss Piggy?”)
I on the other hand, am terrible at the game. It’s like as soon as the Post-it hits my face I suffer a major memory lapse and can’t recall the name of a single celebrity, politician, or TV character.
This happened most spectacularly several summers ago, when I was given Strawberry Shortcake, the rag doll with the puffy pink hat. You guys, I could. not. get. it. Even though, as a child of the 80s, I played with her all the time as a little girl. Even though my babysitter’s daughter had a Strawberry Shortcake-themed bedroom, of which I was immensely jealous.
It got ugly. People left the table to refill their drinks and hang out by the pool. In the end, I wailed “I just don’t know who I am!” and forfeited.
I’m still vaguely amazed that I couldn’t figure it out. Not only because Strawberry Shortcake, the doll, was a major fixture of my childhood, but also because strawberry shortcake, the food, is one of my favorite desserts. I make it at least a few times every summer.
That said, this year I decided to change things up a bit. My friend Christine recently mentioned some delicious-sounding strawberry bruschetta, and I thought, yes! But what about strawberries and cream bruschetta?
This is an easy, breezy recipe that I promise you will make again and again. Chopped ripe strawberries are tossed with brown sugar and balsamic. While they’re luxuriating, toast up some baguette slices and slather them with a make-ahead lemon cashew cream. Top the toasts with the strawberries and shower them with fresh basil.
Pour yourself a glass of lemonade and dig in!
- 1 cup whole, unsalted cashews
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped strawberries
- 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 small baguette
- Chopped fresh basil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To make the cashew cream: put the cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let them soak at room temperature overnight. The next day, drain the cashews and put them in a blender. Add 1/2 cup fresh water, the lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Blend until creamy and completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. The cashew cream can be made up to three days ahead.
- To make the bruschetta: combine the strawberries, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar in a bowl and toss to coat. Set aside to macerate for at least 30 minutes. Slice the baguette on the diagonal and toast.
- Spread the baguette toasts with some of the cashew cream. Use a slotted spoon to top with the strawberries. Sprinkle with the basil and season with black pepper. Drizzle with some of the leftover balsamic juices.
- To reverse engineer this and make it not vegan, substitute ricotta for the cashew cream and stir in a little bit of lemon zest.