The Best Finger Food Ever

Functional yet beautiful, Florette Zuelke's round garden (shown here in 1980) won a prize from the PBS show "Crockett's Victory Garden." (Courtesy of Ena Haines)

Functional yet beautiful, Florette Zuelke's round garden (shown here in 1980) won a prize from the PBS show "Crockett's Victory Garden." (Courtesy of Ena Haines)

 
I promised in my last post that I would have more recipe tributes to the late Florette Zuelke. Here is the first. Ena and Michael Haines brought these lovely little open sandwiches to the memorial party for Florette last weekend.
 
Both decorative and delicious, they epitomized Florette’s elegant cookery.
 
Ena grew up spending every summer at Singing Brook Farm in Hawley, Massachusetts, with her mother Toni and sister Betsy. When Ena married Michael, the Farm community welcomed him with open arms. Florette was the undisputed queen of chic clothing and cuisine in that community.
  
A hint from me: the dense white sandwich bread in my recent recipe for BOLTs would probably work well for these squares. But I’m not pushing!
 
Florette hosts an informal "do" in 1981; she loved red bandanas. (Courtesy of Ena Haines)

Florette hosts an informal "do" in 1981; she loved red bandanas. (Courtesy of Ena Haines)

 
Checkerboard Cherry Tomatoes
 
From the Garden and Kitchen of Florette
Narrated by Michael Haines
 
 
Ingredients:
 
packaged white bread, firm and dense such as Pepperidge Farm
freshly made pesto sauce (I use Craig Claiborne’s recipe. Harvesting and chopping basil leaves was often a communal activity in Florette’s kitchen. The job goes quickly with good fellowship, conversation, and wine.)
freshly picked red and yellow cherry tomatoes
 

checkerboard squares web
 
Instructions: 
 
Cut off the bread crusts and make a single layer of bread on a cutting board or cookie sheet. 
 
Spread the bread with pesto sauce. 
 
Halve the cherry tomatoes, leaving semispheres. 
 
Place the cherry tomatoes in rows, alternating colors for the checkerboard look. 
 
Cut the bread in squares, each holding a half tomato. 
 
The eye appeal, hand appeal, and mouth appeal of this dish make it a perfect summer hors d’oeuvre. Florette was a skillful and passionate gardener. An exacting cook, and a warm and charming hostess. She was generous with her time and efforts, loving to her friends, and fun to be with. Thank you, Florette.
 
Michael and Ena

Michael and Ena

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