It was a month ago on a Saturday morning. Dwight and I heard about a neighborhood farmer’s market in Malvern PA, 15 minutes away from where we are currently (and temporarily) residing. The plan was to shop at the market, come back home, and make breakfast with the fresh produce we have gotten from the market. But the plans had changed when I saw this cute spot called Buttery at the bottom corner of a building on our way to the farmer’s market.It looked bright, clean, and lively from the outside with handwritten signs on its windows saying, “Bread, Coffee + Deliciousness”. We immediately (and happily) changed our plans and decided to go there for breakfast instead.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you’d know, we have just moved back to the U.S. from a small island in the British Virgin Islands.And after almost 4 years of living on a 9-mile long island, I have been so excited to be back in a city environment with restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, and farmer’s markets. So as you can imagine, I felt right in my element in Malvern Buttery.
As soon as we entered the restaurant, we were welcomed with the smell of freshly baked bread mixed with freshly brewed coffee. The buffet-style display in front of an open kitchen had offered a range of breakfast items like baked eggs served on top of roasted potatoes, croissants, blueberry scones, cinnamon buns, and breakfast tarts.
After we picked our food and ordered our coffee, the food paparazzo that I am, I wanted to snap a couple of shots of this gorgeously appetizing looking food. But before doing so I asked one of the waiters if it would be okay to take some photos. That waiter, Silenia and I immediately struck up a conversation and she told me that she was the owner. After the initial introduction and us letting her know how much we loved Buttery, she asked to see if she could take a look at my work. Coincidently, they were looking for someone to up their website and their online visual look in general. As you can imagine, I jumped at the opportunity. After a couple e-mails back and forth, we decided to work together.
The creative minds behind Malvern Buttery are John and Silenia, a modern day husband-wife power couple. After moving from Washington State to be close to their family, they decided to open up a bakery. As an entrepreneur with a background in sustainable farming, John was already into baking bread and was doing so at home for his family. When they saw their current space available at the bottom of a newly build condo complex, they decided to go for it. They opened their doors back in July of this year and the rest is history. Today, Buttery is a place where locals can stop by to enjoy a cup of coffee with a delicious pastry or take home a loaf of freshly baked artisanal bread or a seasonal tart.
My time in Buttery and meeting and spending time with its incredibly talented staff was an unforgettable experience that I enjoyed immensely. Every single member of the staff I met and photographed was happy to be a part of this community and proud of serving the freshly made food, which is basically a photographer’s dream.
The following are some photos that I took during our 2-week photo shoot. I am publishing them with John and Silenia’s permission. If you are living in the area (or planning a visit to Malvern), I highly recommend stopping by Malvern Buttery. And believe me, it is not only because I am friends with them, but also because it is REALLY good.
Finally, the executive chef – Kevin LaForest was nice enough to share one of his seasonal recipes, which happens to be one of my favorite items on the menu. This bruschetta was the first thing I ate at the Buttery and adapted a version of it in my kitchen the very next day.
The recipe below has 4 components: roast the butternut squash, make the cranberry jam, whip up the goat cheese with herbs and scallions, and assemble. Every component in the recipe is done from scratch. However, if you are short on time feel free to use your favorite cranberry jam or a supermarket-bought herbed goat cheese. Though I have to say, I doubt that any alternative ingredient could beat the deliciousness of the homemade one.
Herbed Goat Cheese Bruschetta with Butternut Squash and Cranberry Jam
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 8-10
- For the cranberry jam:
- 1 (16 ounce) bag of fresh cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- zest of an orange
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- For the roasted butternut squash:
- 1 medium-size butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt and pepper
- For the herbed goat cheese:
- 8 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 stalks of scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley (or dill), chopped
- For the bruschetta:
- 1 loaf of your favorite artisanal bread, sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- 3 tablespoons of chives, chopped
- honey (optional)
- Start with making the jam: Place all ingredients into a saucepan and heat until it comes to a boil in medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and let it simmer, stirring frequently, until the cranberries have softened and the mixture has thickened, 8-10 minutes. Turn the heat off and let it cool on the counter. *** You can prepare the jam in advance. Simply take out the cinnamon stick, place it in small jars, and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to serve. ***
- While the jam is cooling, roast the butternut squash: Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the butternut squash cubes in the baking sheet and toss it with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through to ensure even baking.
- Meanwhile prep the goat cheese mixture. Place goat cheese and heavy cream in the bowl of a mixer attached with the paddle attachment. Whip until creamy, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in the scallions, parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix until combined. (You may need to scrape down the bowl to make sure that it is thoroughly combined.)
- To assemble: Lightly toast the slices of your bread in a toaster (or in the oven).
- Lay a slice of bread flat on a cutting board. Spread it with 1-2 tablespoons of the goat cheese mixture. Spoon 2 tablespoons of cranberry jam (with a couple of berries) on top. Add some roasted squash on top and sprinkle it with sliced almonds and chives. If preferred, drizzle it with some honey. Continue the same process with the rest of the slices of bread.
This recipe makes 8-10 bruschettas depending on the thickness of your slices.
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