Honey roasted figs with goat cheese and Serrano ham on sourdough toast

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Fig is hands down one of my favorite fruits, and I eat my weight in figs when they are in season. Lucky for us, figs appear as early as late spring and last all the way until fall. My favorite farmer told me that there are a few weeks left of figs so I’ve been hoarding them for jams, tarts, ice cream, salad, and other dishes. 

Today, I’m sharing an easy dish that we often snack on at home or serve as an appetizer at our dinner party--honey roasted figs with goat cheese and Serrano ham on sourdough. These toasts have a lot of flavor--sweet, salty, and tang from all the ingredients. Make sure you get the soft and sweet figs for this dish. Enjoy!

Honey roasted figs with goat cheese and Serrano ham on sourdough toast

8 figs (brown turkey, black mission, or your favorite figs), quartered if big, halved if smaller
2 tbsps honey
1 tbsp water
1 tsp sherry
¼ cup goat cheese
2 tbsps toasted hazelnuts, crushed
4 slices of sourdough bread, toasted
4 thin slices of Serrano ham

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. In a small sauce bowl, whisk the honey, water, and sherry.

3. Drizzle the cut-side of figs with honey mixture. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 8-10 minutes until the figs are just caramelized.

4. Spread one tablespoon of goat cheese over the bread slices. Top with Serrano ham, caramelized figs, and crushed hazelnuts.

5. Serve immediately

Cookbook giveaway: Everything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The really nice folks over at Abrams Books gave us a copy of Everything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking by Jessica Koslow to give to one of our lucky readers.  To enter, please leave a comment below and let us know your favorite fall ingredients to cook with.  The winner will be selected at random.  Comments will close on Monday, October 31st at 9 P.M. Pacific. US residents only please :)

*This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party

Cookbook Review: Martha Stewart's Vegetables

Monday, October 3, 2016

When I initially saw the cover for Martha Stewart’s Vegetables, I thought it would be a vegetarian cookbook.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s a vegetable centric book but still appeals to the carnivore.  The book is nicely divided into eleven chapters (Bulbs, Roots, Tubers, Greens, Stalks & Stems, Pods, Shoots, Leaves, Flowers & Buds, Fruits, and Kernels) with many interesting recipes.  It was nice to see some of the rarer vegetables getting a spot light in this book like ramps, jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, fiddlehead ferns, and salsify.  The jicama citrus salad had a bright note and was delicious.  The rhubarb chutney with pot roast was amazing.  I will definitely be making rhubarb chutney to pair with other meats.  Both the blistered Padron peppers and fig and arugula crostini made the perfect appetizers for our dinner party.  My absolute favorite recipe from the book would be the cornmeal shortcakes with corn ice cream and blueberry compote.  Most of the recipes were easy and approachable with a few advanced one peppered throughout.  The book also included a lot of tips for buying, storing, prepping, cooking, and pairing with other vegetables.  I’m looking forwarding to trying the ramp and garlic scape recipes when they’re in season again.  Martha Stewart’s Vegetables is a great book for those who love vegetables and enjoy cooking with the seasons.   

Pink Pearl Apple Galette

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fall officially arrived a week ago but San Diego must have missed the memo because it’s still 90-100 degrees F with unbearable humidity. For those people who don’t believe in global warming, I hope you’re taking note! Having lived in northern California and Washington, I miss the fall foliage bursting with golds, reds, and browns and the accompanied sweater weather. For us San Dieagans, it still feels like summer.

Culinary wise, my favorite part of fall is the arrival of apples. They go into galettes, pies, tarts, bread, salad, and a lot of soup. Last year I discovered a beautiful apple with pink flesh called pink pearl apple through Instagram and vowed I would hunt some down for my fall baking endeavors. They have a quick season from late August to mid September so you have to be vigilant. 

As luck would have it, Specialty Produce had them in stock. I jumped for joy and drove like mad woman to Specialty Produce to snatch some before the local restaurants get to them. I stocked up on a few pounds and immediately threw together a simple apple galette as soon as I got home. 

The dough was a little thin so the pleating didn’t work out as nicely as I had hoped for. But a galette is meant to be rustic and forgiving anyway so it wasn’t a huge problem. The apple slices retained their beautiful color after baking and had a wonderful tart-sweetness. My hubby and I devoured the entire thing topped with vanilla ice cream. It was my first time baking with Pink Pearl apples and definitely won’t be my last! I’m even more smitten with them now having seen how beautiful they are and wonderful they taste. If you can’t find Pink Pearl apples, you can substitute another baking apple like Jonagolds, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Cortlands, or Melrose. Stay tuned for another Pink Pearl apple dessert! 

Pink Pearl Apple Galette

1 lb of pink pearl apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 tbsp Calvados
¼ cup of brown sugar
1 tbsp of cornstarch
2 tbsps of hazelnut meal
2 tbsp of sanding sugar or turbinado sugar

For the pastry dough
¾ cup of spelt flour (if you don’t have spelt flour, you can replace with another wheat flour or all purpose flour)
½ cup of hazelnut meal
6 tbsps of butter, chopped into cubes
2 tbsp of icing sugar
pinch of salt
3-4 tbsps of ice-cold water

For the glaze
1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash

1. Sift the flours together. To make the pastry crust, place the flours, sugar, salt, and butter in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

2. While the mixture is being processed, gradually add cold water until the dough comes together.

3. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead gently.

4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 60 minutes before rolling.

5. In a bowl, add apple slices, calvados, sugar, and cornstarch. Toss with your hands to combine. Set aside.

6. Remove the dough from the fridge. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a circle of about 12 inches wide and ¼ inch thick. Move the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

7. Sprinkle 2 tbsps of hazelnut meal in the center of the dough, leaving a 1 inch border.

8. Arrange the apple slices in the center of the dough leaving a one and a half inch border uncovered. Fold the dough edges over the apple, pleating it loosely and leaving the galette open in the center. Patch the dough together if it breaks. Pour the juice from the apple mixture into the galette.

9. For the glaze, beat the egg lightly with a fork. Brush the dough with the egg and sprinkle the sanding sugar over the whole galette. Refrigerate the galette for 30 minutes.

10. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

11. Remove the galette from the fridge and bake for 40-50 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crusted with sugar, and apple slices softened. Remove the galette from the oven and let it cool on the baking sheet.

12. When ready to serve, cut the galette into eight pieces, transfer them to a serving plate, and top with vanilla ice cream.

Cookbook Review: Big Bad Breakfast

Monday, September 26, 2016


Big Bad Breakfast by John Currence is everything I want in a breakfast cookbook and more. I was really excited to try the recipes from this cookbook given how much our family loves breakfast and needed more variety than the usual pancake, waffle, French toast, and eggs. The book is broken down into nine chapters: the welcome basket, egg, omelettes and frittatas, pancakes waffles and crepes, breakfast for dinner, cereals and grains, breakfast sandwiches, sides condiments meats and extra, and drinks/cocktails. My absolute favorite recipe from this book so far would be the shrimp and grits. The shrimp and grits were easy to make and so flavorful. I’ve tried other shrimp and grits recipes and this one has turned out the best. Other delicious recipes are the rum raisin and orange scones, German pancakes, and peach lassi. I’ve already bookmarked the crispy rice Elvis treats, honey buns, monkey bread, fig preserve, and spicy bacon onion jam to try next. Besides the delicious recipes, Ed Anderson’s beautiful photography makes every picture drool worthy. If breakfast is the most important meal of your day, Big Bad Breakfast is the perfect book for you.

Dutch baby pancake with peaches and blueberries

Monday, September 19, 2016

Summer, I’m not ready to let you go yet! I’m still stubbornly hanging onto summer but the reality is sinking in. Dwindling signs of zucchini and their blossoms, tomatoes, berries, and stone fruits and the appearance of pears, apples, grapes, and pumpkin and squash at the farmers market signalling that fall is only a few days away. I’m savoring summer in the simplest way possible, via a Dutch baby pancake loaded with summer fruits. Dutch babies, or German puffed pancakes, are such an easy and delicious way to start the morning. Blend everything up, throw it in the oven, and 15 minutes later you have a delightful breakfast that will wow everyone at the table. I paired mine with perfectly ripe, in season peaches and blueberries but you can to use any fruits you like. Enjoy the last few days of summer!

Dutch baby pancake with peaches and blueberries

2 tbsps unsalted butter
½ cup all purpose flour
4 small organic eggs
¾ cup organic heavy cream
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe peaches, sliced
½ cup blueberries
Powdered sugar for dusting
Honey or maple syrup to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2. In a 12 inch cast-iron skillet, heat the butter over high heat until foamy.

3. In a blender, combine flour, eggs, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract and puree until smooth.

4. Pour the batter directly into the pool of butter in the skillet and transfer to the oven.

5. Bake until the pancake is puffed and become golden brown on top, about 15-18 minutes.6.Remove from the oven, top with sliced peaches and blueberries, dust with powdered sugar, and serve with honey or maple syrup.

Cookbook Review: A Modern Way to Cook

Saturday, September 17, 2016


I was excited to cook from a Modern Way to Cook given how much I love Anna Jones’ first cookbook A Modern Way to Eat. The book is divided into different chapters with length of time required to prepare and cook a meal, 20 to 25 to 30 and 40 minutes. After perusing the books, I decided to try some of the recipes and most of them turned out delicious. Some of my favorite recipes are the early summer green goddess salad, lemongrass peanut and herb noodle salad, Buddha bowl, beet and radicchio gratin, honey and white miso eggplant, rhubarb and strawberry crisp bars, rhubarb and apple crumble, and chocolate and Earl Grey pudding pots . The salad is loaded with all my favorite greens--sugar snap peas, asparagus, spinach, and avocado. I enjoyed the tofu from the noodle salad and Buddha bowls which have a bit of influence from Vietnamese and Thai cuisines and definitely different than how I normally prepare my tofu for a vegetarian dish. I’ve never used silken tofu in a dessert before and was surprised at how well hidden it was in the chocolate and Earl Grey pudding pots. Overall, the desserts didn’t take long to prepare and were delicious as leftovers. I didn’t care too much for the pho, sweet potato and ricotta gnocchi, or honey and basil cheesecake. I learned a few tricks from a Modern Way to Cook and felt inspired by some of the recipes. But between the two books, A Modern Way to Eat is my favorite of the two and has more of my favorite recipes.