Sprouted Barley Porridge with Cranberry Coconut Cream

 

I recently stumbled upon a neat trick to cook barley quickly and make its nutrients more available to the bod: sprouting overnight in kombucha spiked water. Read More

Fig Mint Pesto

Trio Pesto

This week we have been blessed with a bounty of ripe and juicy Brown Turkey figs, straight off the tree.  Figs have always been one of my favorite fruits, because they are slightly unusual and have a unique textural and color spectrum mix-up with their thickish purple skin, soft  crimson flesh, and crunch yellow seeds.  The scent of fig is also something to behold, as you will see in any boutique candle or fragrance shop; their aroma is deeply sweet and pairs well with both fresh/herbal and woody notes.

My childhood friend Ann had a fig tree in her back yard, and I have early memories of eating really fresh figs straight off the tree.  Fig trees spawn their fruit in the summer and here in Southern California we are high on the fig hog.  Yesterday as we were heading out on our daily 3 mile hike/walk, I spied more figs ready to be picked off the tree, and as I approached I saw two nearly prehistoric looking, armory-jacketed, wildly green bugs with fluorescent green and silver legs, gnawing at a half-eaten fig.  These fellas were not letting go, even despite my angling closer and closer for a photo.

Fig Bugs (1 of 1)

I would have been happy to eat all of these figs raw, with some yogurt for breakfast, in salads with burrata and almonds, drizzled with balsamic and paired with a sharp piece of pecorino, or on top of ice cream for dessert.  But M prefers figs dried, so I experimented with home-drying.  I set a cookie sheet full of figs in the oven at 175 degrees for about 10 hours, and they turned out dried, but still retaining some moisture.  They were slightly juicy and caramelized rather than leathery-dry.  Dried 2 (1 of 1)

 

As the days went on this week I pondered recipes, and in the recesses of my memory was a recent pesto recipe I’d seen on Sofia’s wonderful blog.  I remembered it had dried figs, but beyond that wasn’t sure.  Since my basil plant died this week, I used some fresh mint from my mom’s garden, added spinach to mellow the flavor, and rounded out with raw cashews, olive oil, grey salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper.  I needed to add a few drops of water as I blended to thin out to proper consistency, and it worked without compromising the flavor.

The pesto was unique and very delicious.  I paired it with soft scrambled eggs, a lovely match.  I imagine it would also go well with cold roasted meats on a sandwich; as a dip for raw vegetables, chips or flatbread; as a pizza base; even on pasta with some fresh peas, snap peas, or potatoes and green beans.

 

Summer Sarnie with Meatloaf

As you know by now, I love wordplay, alliteration, and cheekiness in all forms . . . that’s why I like the word “Sarnie,” which I first heard in a Jamie Oliver cookbook in his description of his favorite breakfast sandwich (a bacon sandwich).

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Doesn’t this sandwich look like something you want to eat pretty soon?  I’ve created a meatloaf recipe for my friends over at Foodlander and it is based on my mother’s AMAZING meatloaf.  A couple of key tips:  mix with a light touch, wrap in bacon, and cook free form in a cast iron skillet in the oven (rather than a loaf pan so as to assure proper crust formation!).

Meatloaf is a comfort food, and if you have food restrictions, you may substitute coconut or almond milk for the regular milk, flax seed blended with a touch of water for eggs, tempeh or turkey bacon for the bacon, agave for the brown sugar, etc.  It won’t taste like my mom’s meatloaf, but it will still be very very good.  Meatloaf almost always is!!!

As you know, it’s high season for cooking and entertaining because of the upcoming Independence Holiday and of course because it’s summer.  In that spirit, I’ll be posting very soon loads of more delicious recipes including strawberry pie (See my latest Instagram pics where I got an invaluable pie baking lesson from baker Amy Finn), potato salad made with whole pee wee potatoes, creme fraiche, and shaved celery and red onion; superfood slaw with raw beet, sprouts and walnuts; and a killer strawberry jam dark chocolate tartlet.  Stay tuned!!!

Epic Birgerbird Burger!

Hi guys, I’ve been working on the perfect burger for weeks and I think I came up with it.  It’s very messy to eat and you won’t be hungry for days, but give it a try!  Also, you can vote for my burger on Food52, which is a fantastic foodie website for home cooks and aspiring food stylists and gourmets!  The voting doesn’t actually start until next week, but if you view and comment on the recipe, your visit generates activity which may be used to determine which recipes make the cut to be voted on!

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground dry aged, grass fed beef
  • 1 teaspoon black truffle salt
  • 4 slices bacon from pastured pork
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 2 duck eggs
  • 1 heirloom tomato, sliced
  • handful dill pickle slices
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 brioche hamburger buns, buttered (1 Tbps butter) and toasted
  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings

Preparation:

  1. Form 2 1/2 inch thick patties with beef, using a light touch. Make a small dimple in the center of the patties. Sprinkle with truffle salt on both sides.
  2. Cook bacon in cast iron skillet until medium crisp. Remove bacon and reserve 2 Tbsp. bacon drippings. Heat bacon drippings over high heat.
  3. Cook patties over high heat, not moving, for 2 minutes. Flip and cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes, without moving or smashing down with a spatula. Leave in pan, off heat, covered, while you fry duck eggs.
  4. Over high heat, fry duck eggs in 2 Tbps butter.
  5. Assemble burgers: On bottom of bun place a handful of pickles. Place patty on top of pickles, followed by bacon, avocado, fried egg and tomato. Place top bun on top and dig in!

7 Loaves 7 Fishes: Miso Black Cod

Broiled Black Cod with Miso Marinade

Broiled Black Cod with Miso Marinade

It’s Fiesta Friday again.  Thanks again to Angie at The Novice Gardener for bringing us together to share food, fun and blogging fellowship!  During the next 7 weeks and in observance of the Lenten practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays, I’ll be featuring bread and seafood recipes.  First up?  Miso Black Cod.  Simple, delicious, healthy and quick.

Miso Black Cod is a fool-proof, stunningly tasty fish dish that is perfect to bring to parties, potlucks or feature at your dinner party because it tastes good hot, cold and at room temperature.

The recipe I use here was made popular by Nobu Matsuhisa, whose Nobu restaurants are well known for exquisite (and quite pricy) cuisine featuring his signature dishes such as Tiradito, Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno, and Black Cod with Miso.  The restaurants became so wildly popular that the chef now also has a line of hotels.  Although I have never been to a Nobu restaurant, I have poached countless of the chef’s recipes that have been published over the years in food magazines such as Food and Wine, which is the adaptation featured below.

I like this preparation because it is simple yet very flavorful.  I have found that the use of miso can bring a lovely umami flavor to almost any meat, vegetable, grain, soup, etc.  I use it on chicken, cabbage, oatmeal (yep!) and of course Black Cod.

Ingredients:

  1. 3 tablespoons mirin
  2. 3 tablespoons sake
  3. 1/2 cup white miso paste
  4. 1/3 cup sugar
  5. Six 6- to 7-ounce skinless black cod fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick
  6. Vegetable oil, for grilling
  7. Pickled ginger, for serving

Instructions:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the mirin and sake to a boil. Whisk in the miso until dissolved. Add the sugar and cook over moderate heat, whisking, just until dissolved. Transfer the marinade to a large baking dish and let cool. Add the fish and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. Heat a grill pan and oil it. Scrape the marinade off the fish. Add the fish and cook over high heat until browned, about 2 minutes. Flip the fish onto a heavy rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, until flaky. Transfer to plates and serve with pickled ginger.

MAKE AHEAD The marinade can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Black Cod with Miso

Black Cod with Miso

“Stay-cation” March 2014

This year I decided to take a week off work and not go anywhere.   Read More