Figs are literally falling from the 100+ year old trees behind my office building. I dried more than five pounds and used some to recreate a favorite dip from the grocery store. This tapenade is slightly sweet, savory, briny and fresh all in one. Serve smeared over crostini with goat cheese or Parmesan, as I did here.
June 23, 2013
Kirby cucumbers, the pickling ones, are in full season so I thought I'd try my hand at homemade pickles. They are twice 'dill-ed' with both dill seed and fresh dill, and packed with a mild vinegar-garlic-pepper brine. Perfect for snacking out of the jar or sliced on your favorite sandwich. These take a week in the fridge, but if you want faster pickles, slice them before they go in the jar. I found that the fridge was far superior to processing the jars in a hot bath. The pickles were brighter and crisper.
February 2, 2014
I successfully completed my first week at culinary school (with only one very minor knife incident). All week long we made stock - the flavor base for everything from soups and sauces to rice and grains. After about 30 minutes of the stock simmering, you'll be thankful you spent all that time chopping - an amazing, comfort aroma filled my kitchen! This recipe makes one gallon - can it or divide up and freeze. Cup for cup it's 150% cheaper and has almost 600% less sodium. Go forth and flavor the world!
Pickled Hot Peppers
July 29, 2012
You may have guessed by now that I'm crazy about pickling things. I have pickled peppers here, but this is a classic recipe that you could use to pickle any vegetable that you want to make crunchy, sour, salty and sweet. Use with a cheese plate, or on burgers and hot dogs. To can them for long-term storage, use my Honey-Ginger Grapefruit Marmalade recipe and start at step #6. Otherwise, keep in the fridge and use within 2-3 weeks.
Rhubarb Pickle Chips
May 27, 2012
While I'm anxiously waiting for ripening tomatoes and peppers, I jumped on the chance to use an in-season vegetable. I wasn't inspired by the usual rhubarb treatments drowned in sugar for pies, jams and crumbles. Why not embrace the sour? Doing a bit of research I developed this recipe for pickle chips to have a tart yet slightly spicy profile that I think would be an interesting companion for burgers to a cheese platter. Note that these are what is called 'refrigerator pickles' meaning you sterilize your jars and lids, but don't process the jars after they are full. The additional heat will turn the rhubarb to mush.
May 24, 2009
Oh, is it not Sunday today?! Sorry folks, I had a bit of slacking on the long weekend. Baseball and beer was calling me. Today it's back to work. A few folks have been asking me about my homemade vegetable stock recipe so I thought I'd give it up. It's quite easy, freezable and just makes the dish when it involves rice, quinoa or any other suck-up-the-liquid-type grain. And vegetable stock is an absolute requirement for soup - that I learned quite early on in my kitchen adventures - water just doesn't cut it. You need to add stock no matter what the recipe says. And did I mention that this homemade stock has about half the sodium of the store-bought stuff? So enjoy the recipe for this great kitchen staple.
August 7, 2011
This recipe is heavily based on Gourmet magazine's take, and well worth the hours it takes. Dedicate a lazy summer afternoon and you will be rewarded. You must use the best milk you can find - here a local dairy that sits right on the Pacific Coast less than 100 miles away called Straus Creamery. Paired with tomatoes and basil from the garden - just perfection.
Quinoa Spinach Salad
June 24, 2012
A work colleague, Fadia D., shared her recipe for this flavor-packed salad that would be a great addition at any 4th of July barbecue or picnic. Quinoa brings protein and fiber to this salad party of spinach, almonds, dried apricots, feta, and shallots topped with a tangy-tart dressing made with apricot preserves, lemon and honey. Highly versatile - you can substitute dried cranberries for the apricots, walnuts for the almonds, and add other veggies like tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus or beets.
Mushroom Onion Rillettes
November 3, 2013
I've been seeing rillettes on a lot of menus lately - perhaps I'm noticing because I'm taking an intro French class! Rillettes is traditionally made by cooking pork over a low temperature for a long time. The fat renders out of the meat and it's packed in jars for winter storage. Here I use the same technique with beautiful portobello and shiitake mushrooms and onions. In place of the natural pork fat, I packed some in butter and some in olive oil. This would be a fantastic Thanksgiving appetizer.
Fig Pear Compote
September 11, 2011
The figs keep coming! I discovered a fig tree behind my office building and easily snatched four pounds worth. I added them to some pears I had to make a compote that could be used for sweet or savory dishes thanks to black peppercorns, rosemary, cinnamon and Madeira wine. If you'd like to can this, go to my recipe for Honey-Ginger Grapefruit Marmalade and follow from instructions 6-9.
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