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A Season of Pies–Fall Edition

19 Dec

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I was upset with myself for not making a pie all summer. How I passed over the chance to toss summer berries and stone fruit into a buttery crust, I have no idea.

At least now I can say I’ve made up for lost time by making all kinds of sweet and savory pies and tarts this fall (yes, it is technically still fall, the first day of winter is Tuesday, December 22 ah!). Continue reading

Thanksgiving 2014

29 Nov

I hope your holiday was delicious and special. My friend Natasha and I co-hosted and cooked most of the food together. Our friends brought extra sides (sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green bean casserole), desserts (mascarpone tart with berries), and drinks (wine, beers, cider), all of which were amazing!

The menu:

Castelvetrano olives

Kale salad with apples and walnuts

Extra-buttery mashed potatoes

Mashed sweet potatoes

Kale stuffing with dates

Brussels sprouts with bacon

Green bean casserole

Spatchcocked turkey with gravy

Roasted garlic

Cranberry sauce (homemade and jellied)

Dessert:

Upside-down cranberry cake

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Topping

Peanut Butter Pie

Mascarpone tart with berry sauce

Hand-whipped cream

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Clockwise from left: stuffing a la Samin (and Charlie!), with dates instead of prunes and no sausage; spatchcocked and carved turkey from the Serious Eats recipe and video; cranberry sauce (can be made one week before TG) Continue reading

A Pie Class with Joy the Baker: Pics, Tips, and Memories

28 Oct

I started Figs in My Belly in June, 2009. At that point in my life, I was living in California, getting a degree in Nutritional Science, staging (interning) in the kitchen at a small handful of restaurants, working at a cooking camp for kids, and making dinners for my housemates at the co-op where I lived. Oh, and I was totally obsessed with Joy the Baker and her blog.

That August, I heard about a rooftop picnic in downtown Los Angeles that Joy was hosting and jumped on the opportunity. I brought my mom along and we spent the afternoon enjoying Joy’s biscuits, fried chicken, coleslaw, and cupcakes while mingling with other Joy the Baker fans.

Cut to more than five years later, and I now live in New York City with a short (four-year-long) pastry cook career currently on pause while I finish up a graduate degree in Nutrition Education and a dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian. And, as you might have guessed, I am still totally obsessed with Joy the Baker and her blog.

Joy is currently on tour for her latest cookbook, Homemade Decadence. I attended her book signing at The Brooklyn Kitchen, and the following weekend, my friend Michelle and I drove up to King Arthur Flour in Vermont, where Joy was teaching a hands-on pie making class. Joy taught two four-hour pie classes on the same day. She is a warrior.

I’ve made my share of pies in the past, but pie still intimidates me, and I wanted to gain some pro tips to boost my pie confidence. Plus, my friend Michelle never made her own pie before, so this was the perfect opportunity to learn. We road tripped for pie! Continue reading

Delicious Northern California…

14 Aug

Lip-smacking, finger-licking, shirt-staining delicious.

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This was my backyard for a week. Deep in the Sierra Mountains, along the Yuba River.

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There were swimming holes and waterfalls…

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…and “Mountain Men.”

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We went swimming everyday. So many delicious (and freezing cold!) rivers and lakes.

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Check out this tiny baby snake found mid-hike. Woah nature!

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I also spent a few days in Sonoma County, and checked out 2 fairs: the Sonoma County Fair and the Gravenstein Apple Fair.

I saw lots of livestock (including alpacas and miniature horses), but these baby pigs were my favorite. Floppy ears get me every time.

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Whenever I am in the area, I must grab a few scones and a hunk of cheesy bread from Wild Flour Bread Bakery in Freestone. The Gravenstein apple cheddar scone hit the spot for me this trip. And the fougasse bread is always packed with a few cheeses and some aromatic vegetables. The loaf is best warmed and gooey.

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I didn’t know a latte this big could exist. The lavender latte from Taylor Maid was a real treat. Ooo tummy.

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Food was growing everywhere I turned–there were sunflowers and grapevines, bushes of wild blackberries and strawberries, apple trees and pear trees, even some avocados and figs. But nothing screamed mid-August to me like the fresh basil from the yard, with plump, juicy tomatoes. Gosh, good tomatoes are SO good.

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Summer is almost over. Do something delicious.

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Shutterbean’s (and Ina’s) Greek Panzanella

27 Jun

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My gal Michelle and I are both avid followers of Tracy Shutterbean and her food, family, and boozy adventures. The day Tracy posted about this Grilled Greek Panzanella, Michelle and I went nuts! Within 1 day, we were at my place, chopping away in anticipation of enjoying a cool crunch on a hot summer day.

Intense New York City summer weather means salad for dinner. A big honking salad with lots of bread cubes and raw veggies, salty feta, and “evoo”.

Store-bought hummus and tzatziki add an easy Mediterranean touch with a bit of protein. It makes a huge difference (aesthetically) to scoop the dips into ramekins or little bowls and embellish with your own spices i.e. adding extra paprika on top of the hummus.

Giant salad. Bread. Dips. A chilled bottle of white. And a small scoop of Steve’s Blackberry Honey (vegan) ice cream to finish.

Catch the recipe over at Tracy’s blog. We used a whole wheat French Bread, but you should use whatever bread strikes you (I imagine a white seeded bread would be nice!). We lightly toasted the bread on the stove top. And we used fresh basil instead of oregano.

Tracy served her salad with lamb meatballs and grilled eggplant. YUM!

Now get chopping and eat a giant bowl of this deliciousness! Makes great lunch leftovers, too.