Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dreaming of Summer

I have been dreaming of summer. A real summer. Not the version San Francisco has been insisting on giving me. Hot, lazy days spent outside in the sunshine, sandy afternoons at the beach and balmy nights dining outside. Without a sweater. Or a scarf.

My hometown of Santa Barbara has answered my wishes this week, bestowing some glorious (and much missed) sunshine down upon us. The week has been spent catching up with old friends, shopping at the farmer's market, and cooking as much as possible - that is when I'm not sneaking back outside to luxuriate in the garden.

I'm soaking it up while I can, and hoping some rays will stow away in my suitcase and brighten things up back home!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Little Vacation and Some Little Radishes

These little Easter Egg radishes were just too adorable to pass up at the market this week. I love them fresh with a little sea salt and some bread and butter... their crisp, peppery taste makes these colorful little beauties the perfect healthy snack.

Tomorrow I'm off to my hometown of Santa Barbara to visit my parents for the week and celebrate 4th of July with the boy. I'm very excited to see them and to spend some time languishing in their enormous and well-stocked kitchen. It puts my little 40 square foot cooking space to shame. I can't wait to spread out! I'm sure I will have some very eager recipe testers this week - namely my childhood black lab, Oliver.

I'll be back in the city in a week, with lots of new goodies to share! Wishing you a delicious week!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini

Pink Dahlias keep the San Francisco fog at bay!
All week long I look forward to Saturday morning. Yes, I know that every full-time professional is working for the weekend, but I have a specific goal in mind. I daydream all week long about ingredients and recipes and long hours on the weekend to fuss around the kitchen. It keeps me going.

Saturday mornings are for going to the market. For stocking up on the week's necessities: milk and bread and fresh pasta. Fresh flowers to keep the apartment cheery - even in San Francisco fog. But more than that, it is my inspiration time. I wander the aisles, waiting for the newest idea to hit. The market never ceases to surprise me with a beautiful fruit, destined to become the star of a tart, or a beautiful piece of meat, calling out to be slow-roasted to perfection. I love the seasonal food changes, when suddenly the stores are bursting with new, beautiful, local fruits and vegetables, packed full of flavor and inspiration. After working 50- hour weeks, Saturday mornings make me whole again.

This morning at the market I found the normal bevy of inspiring seasonal ingredients. The summer season is particularly generous. Flats of colorful berries. Shiny cherries and crimson rhubarb. Bright green beans and sweet corn. Tangy heirloom cherry tomatoes teasing the start of full-blown tomato season.

And then there were these figs. It's a little early for fig season, but they called out to me. Their plump, aubergine little selves begging to be taken home. I gave in.

I prefer figs to be prepared simply. Sliced in half and eaten plain, like candy. Wrapped with a translucently-thin piece of prosciutto and drizzled with honey or balsamic vinegar.

Or like this. A plump, sweet, fleshy slice of fig atop a generous slather of goat cheese and fresh bread. Deliciously simple and a perfect summer nibble!

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Simple Tiramisú with Raspberries

Tiramisú is a classic. And rightfully so. Fluffy dollups of fresh, sweet mascarpone whipped cream with the warmth of vanilla and the slight bite of brandy or liqueur. Espresso- soaked ladyfingers and shavings or a dusting of rich, dark chocolate. Perfection. 

And then along came raspberries. Nestled into the light, airy layers. Infused into the whipped cream in the form of raspberry liqueur. 

Raspberries don't have a lot of competition in the berry world, as far as I'm concerned. Growing up, we had a couple dozen raspberry bushes, and in the summer when the big, beautiful berries were at the peak of ripeness, we would eat them right off the plants - by the handful. 

It was a miracle any berries made it into a colander and back into the house. I've still been known to eat an entire basket of raspberries in one sitting. By myself. On the way back from the market. 

I inherited this trait from my mother, who equally indulges in these voluptuous little red berries. In celebration of a little escape to my hometown to visit my parents next week, I'm making this decadent treat for her. This twist on the classic is sinfully delicious and just in time for summer. That is, if the star ingredient hasn't mysteriously disappeared, one-by-one (or by the handful) first. Maybe buy an extra basket - or two.

Continue after the jump for recipes...

Thursday, June 23, 2011


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