When’s the last time you sank your teeth into the fuchsia-colored flesh of a fresh fig? No, Fig Newtons don’t count. Unless you’re a fig aficionado, it’s probably been awhile, hasn’t it? If you live in California, odds are favorable that there’s an old fig tree growing somewhere in your neighborhood, along a creek, or maybe at your own home. Go out and harvest some or visit your farmer’s market this weekend. If you have never had a fresh fig, for the love of Pete, go get some. Then bake these fig muffins. You might just fall in love…
1. How do you preserve the fresh summer flavor of ripe peaches all year long?
a. Freeze them
b. Let the birds eat them off the tree
c. Make Spicy Summer Peach Home-Canned Salsa
2. What topping goes well with pork tacos, chicken tacos, AND shrimp tacos?
a. Cilantro and lime
b. Salsa verde and sour cream
c. Spicy Summer Peach Home-Canned Salsa
3. What makes a great homemade gift all year long?
a. 4th of July cupcakes
b. Gingerbread cookies
c. Spicy Summer Peach Home-Canned Salsa
If you answered C to all three questions, you might be a genius.
I think it’s appropriate to post a home canning recipe for the 4th of July, don’t you? I mean, what better way to celebrate your independence than by preserving your own harvest? Home canning and preserving in general are quickly becoming a disappearing art form. Hell, it’s a lot of work. Why should I can it myself when I can drive down to the grocery store and pick it up for about the same price? Why should I spend an hour dicing jalapeños, peaches, peppers, garlic and onions? I’ll tell you why…
Salted Chocolate Bark with Maple Bacon and Ancho Chile. Does this need explaining? Think Mexican mocha meets maple-drenched bacon. Sweet. Salty. Scrumptious. All you french fry milkshake dippers out there know what I’m talking about. This recipe is for die hard fans of chocolate covered pretzels and proscuitto-wrapped melon. But we’re not going to stop there. We’re gonna add a pinch of ancho chile and cinnamon, just enough to make you go “Hmmm. What’s that spice?” Why not? Life’s short.
Do you ever get stuck in a food rut? Somehow you can’t think of anything to make for dinner despite the endless inspiration of the world wide web and those forty five colorful cookbooks on your bookshelf. Sometimes you just need to invite a foodie friend over to grease the wheels of your imagination. I turned to my health coach, Blake Eyster. By the end of the weekend he had me brewing my own kombucha and eating pickled plums. But the show stopper was the Tropical Seaweed Wrap with juicy mango, ripe avocado, and crunchy kelp noodles smothered in a creamy homemade hummus. Sushi meets Wrap. Why didn’t I think of this? It’s brilliant.
It’s been a real challenge to stay inside and cook during daylight hours since the rains have passed and daylight savings is here. In order to capture the food in the best light, I use natural daylight coming in a kitchen window. Which means I better start cooking about four or five o’clock if I want to leave myself time to take photos while the food is fresh out of the oven. You see my dilemma? Garden or cook? Lately I’ve been choosing gardening as my evening activity…but today I chose to cook. I have been dreaming about these little mushroom “pizzas” since I made them for the first time last weekend. All the savory goodness of a pizza without the bloated feeling at the end. Now that’s a sign that you’re eating right for your body…if you don’t feel like the pillsbury dough boy after you’ve finished your last bite.
Are you a beet lover or hater? I used to be a hater. Growing up all I knew were canned beets. At some point I tried fresh beets and they tasted like dirt. Gradually I developed a taste for these vibrantly-colored veggies. To my surprise, they’re actually sweet. Not pickled and dirty as I previously thought. Roasting them brings out their sweetness. They’re even sweeter with a maple balsamic glaze drizzled on top. Pillowy clouds of soft goat cheese and delicate cucumber-flavored borage blossoms add sophistication and decadence to this down-to-earth root vegetable. What is borage? Glad you asked…
A new twist on bisque: miso + mushrooms + creamy Raw Almond Milk = super simple rainy Monday night dinner bliss with minimal dishwashing = more time to sit by the fire and watch YouTube documentaries with my sweetie. Sign me up. What better time to go down the YouTube wormhole than a rainy evening?
I’m sad citrus season is coming to a close. Bye bye oranges, lemons, kumquats. Hellllllooooo peaches, nectarines and apricots! Okay, so I’m not really that sad. Because ripe peaches off the tree are the nectar of the Gods…but Orange Rosemary Scones topped with honey or orange marmalade and served with a cup of spiced tea are also pretty darn good.
Are you on the bison bandwagon yet? What are you waiting for? Grass fed bison has less fat and calories and more protein than grass fed beef. With only a few more grams of saturated fat than chicken or salmon, bison is a healthy choice when it comes to eating meat responsibly. Compared to feedlot cattle, most bison are raised on their natural diet of grass (some are grain-finished before harvest) and are allowed to freely roam outdoors. It is illegal to use growth hormones on bison and many bison ranchers do not use antibiotics either. Bison are less susceptible to disease because the animal is quite hardy and also because they’re not confined in a disease-prone environment like feedlot beef. To be sure, purchase bison with the organic label.
After scarfing down two of these lemon squares, my boyfriend proclaims with powdered sugar-covered lips, “These are the best lemon squares I’ve ever had!” I hesitated to tell him there was a whole package of silken tofu in them. Despite my confession, his enthusiasm didn’t waver. How can you resist these cute little bites of sunshine?