The California fig season is officially underway! These fragile, pear-shaped beauties are one of our favorites and between Rochelle and I, we are fortunate enough to have five beautiful fig trees to harvest from. Plump and mildly sweet, fresh figs are delicious in their natural state or can be added to an array of savory or sweet dishes. Below are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy fresh California figs:
Goat Cheese and Fig Toast
Bread of your choice, toasted (we use Beckmanns bread from our local farmers market)
Fresh figs, sliced
Raw organic honey
Salt and pepper
Drizzle toast with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper and toast. Spread the fresh goat cheese on the warm toast, drizzle with honey, add a little pepper and top with fresh fig slices. Garnish with thyme.
Add this easy-to-make salsa to sliced, smoked steak for a hint of sweetness.
Fresh figs, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Fresh parsley, chopped
Pinch salt & pepper
Mix together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Drizzle over figs, add parsley and scallions and mix to combine. Garnish with blue cheese crumbles. Also, great on a steak crostini!
Blue Cheese, Honey and Walnut Figs
This super easy, savory appetizer bursts with some incredible flavors. The saltiness of the blue cheese complements the sweetness of the ripe homegrown figs finished with a delightful nuttiness of toasted organic walnuts. Click here for the recipe
It’s heirloom season once again and what I love most about these end-of-summer beauties are their uniqueness in flavors, colors, textures and shapes. This rustic tart (or otherwise known as a galette) has a delicious flaky crust and a beautifully-bold filling of sweet heirlooms and rich, golden cheese.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 stick (1/4 lb.) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup crème fraîche, chilled
Heirloom tomatoes, sliced
Semi-hard sheep’s milk cheese, such as manchego
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and butter pieces in a food processor or in a medium bowl if blending by hand. Blend just until the butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients. Mix in the crème fraîche. Turn the entire mix out onto a cutting board and gently push it together into a pile. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the sliced tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Lay the tomatoes on several sheets of paper towel to drain (dried tomatoes will make a crisp tart).
Dust a work surface well with flour and roll the dough into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Dust flour under the dough if it starts to stick.
Carefully slide a rimless baking sheet under the dough. Leaving a 3-inch boarder, scatter the cheese on top of the dough, then arrange the tomatoes evenly over the cheese. Fold the edges of the dough over the tomatoes, making pleats as you fold and leaving the center of the tart open.
Bake the tart until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
Drizzle the top of the tart with a touch of olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse salt. Slice and serve with a simple, lightly dressed salad.
While planning my friend’s Bridal “Meet and Greet” on Pinterest, I came across this easy-to-make pasta recipe from How Sweet It Is Blog, the perfect dish for a rainy night in.
Traditional pasta carbonara is made by coating pasta in a rich and creamy sauce of whole eggs, Parmesan cheese and pork. We elevated this traditional dish, by adding one of my favorite vegetables – Brussels sprouts! The sprouts added a nice rich, sweet and nutty flavor to the pasta.
1/2 pound Bucatini (I love the thick noodles, but you can also use spaghetti)
6 slices thick Applewood smoked bacon, chopped
2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and roughly chopped*
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 whole eggs
1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese
Fry the bacon in a large skillet over gentle heat until crisp. While bacon is cooking, begin boiling the water for the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Once bacon is crisp, transfer pieces with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Remove half of the bacon grease with a large spoon and set aside in a bowl.
Add Brussels sprouts to the same skillet and cook on medium heat for 6-8 minutes. (You want the Brussels sprouts to caramelize a bit, so cook without stirring for at least 4 minutes. Stir and continue cooking for 2-4 minutes). Add the minced garlic to the sprouts and cook for one more minute. Remove sprouts and set aside in bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole eggs and gradually add the cheese. Add a small dash of salt and pepper (you can add more later to the cooked pasta).
When the bucatini is cooked, drain pasta (reserve some pasta water, just in case **), add the reserved bacon grease to pot and heat on low. Add cooked pasta back into pot and coat with grease. Remove pot from heat*** and add the egg/cheese mixture, tossing several times until fully coated. Quickly add the bacon, Brussels sprouts and additional pepper / salt if needed. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese.
*In the spring, try replacing Brussels sprouts with peas
**If needed, add a few splashes of reserved pasta water to help loosen the sauce.
***It’s important that the pot has been removed from the heat otherwise the egg/cheese mixture will curdle. The heat from the pasta is sufficient to cook the egg mixture.