Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Sunday, August 17, 2014


In all the talk about eating seasonally, I think we miss the abundance that can come when a crop is ready to harvest, or an animal ready to slaughter.  In our modern world of supermarkets and even farmers markets you can get pretty much whatever is in season (and a lot that isn't), in what ever quantity, all for $3/lb or $30/lb or whatever price the market will bear.

But you never buy 15 pounds of lemons....

Or a hundred plus pounds of fish (only 40 or 50 of these belonged to my dad and brother).

Or even 5 pounds of figs....

(sorry, no picture)

This kind of abundance spurs creativity to figure out how to eat it everyday, how to preserve it, how to share it.  It lowers the risk of trying something new.  This abundance is something that we usually miss if we don't grow it or pick it or kill it ourselves (or have friends, family or neighbors that share generously).

I have a friend with a fig tree, and a few weeks ago I helped pick some of the figs.  They are the green figs (I'm not sure which variety), not the purple mission figs (which I don't really like).  I ate some fresh, some in yogurt.  I made jam.  We grilled some after a big fish dinner (another case of abundance) and served on ice cream with chocolate sauce.  To grill the figs, I just cut them in half (didn't even peel), and put on the grill for 5 minutes or so.

And I  made a Clafouti.  It's a French dessert, pronounced "klah/foo/tee". It's kind of a cross between a flan and a cake, with a lot of fruit it.  I like them because they are unusual, not too sweet, and not too much trouble to make.  They are traditionally done with cherries, but you can use most any fruit... that you have in abundance!

Fig Clafouti
Serves 6

1 lb small fresh figs, peeled and halved
¼ cup orange liqueur (like Cointreau)
1 lemon

2 large eggs
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup milk
½ cup flour
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon sliced or slivered almonds

Combine the figs and liqueur in a medium bowl.  Add grated zest from the lemon, plus about 2 teaspoons of the juice to the figs.  Stir and let sit for an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 350F (or 340F convection bake).  Coat an 8-inch deep dish pie pan (or something similar, like a cast iron pan) with butter or cooking spray.  Pick the figs out of the bowl (leaving the syrup) and place into prepared pan.  Put the syrup in a smaller bowl (use a rubber spatula to mostly clean the bowl).

Combine the eggs and sugar in the same bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale yellow, this will take several minutes.  Add milk, flour, salt, and reserved syrup, beat to blend.  Pour the batter over the figs, sprinkle with almonds.

Bake until puffed and golden, 45 to 55 minutes (or 40 minutes on convection bake).  Let cool about 20 minutes to serve warm.  Also good at room temperature, refrigerate the leftovers for breakfast.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

A day at the beach


Some days are better than others. Last Friday was one of better.  Perfect weather, nice waves. Not too much kelp.   

Boogie boards... an amazing amount of fun for something that's pretty easy to do in the right waves. 

Surfing... something that looks easy but takes skill.  It helps when you start when your 5 and not 50. That didn't stop me from trying though.  I'm very proud that I actually got up, on my own.  Like I said, the waves were good (as in good and not too big). 

Especially nice was having family around.  It's rare to get all the family together at once, and this was no exception. For dinner my dad and brother and niece were there, my husband was home, and his folks came over.. not everyone, but a nice gathering none the less.  The plan was to highlight the fish caught on the 5-day fishing trip my dad and brother just returned from.  We had yellowtail and yellow-fin tuna.  The plan for the tuna was to just season with salt and pepper, and cook on high heat for just a minute or two per side, which resulted in a nice rare interior. The fillets were sliced for a pretty presentation.  Really good, really simple.  

The yellowtail was grilled on foil, similar to the way I do salmon.  It's simple too, but the salmon recipe seems more complicated, as it includes a sauce and seems limited to salmon.  I wanted to include the more generic version because its the way I cook fish at least 80% of the time.  We had 3 chefs tending the grill, resulting in perfectly cooked fish. The dinner was rounded out with brown rice, a green bean salad (I''ll get the recipe for the lemon-mustard dressing posted as soon as I make it again and measure amounts), and a peach salsa (something like this, but with peaches instead of mangos).  For dessert, we had grilled figs on vanilla gelato.  A good day overall. 

Fish Grilled on Foil

This is my go-to method for cooking any meaty fish, like yellowtail, halibut, salmon, as well as some of the local sea bass and baqueta grouper we get. 

Fish fillets (best if about ¾ - 1 inch thick)
Olive oil
Lemon or lime juice
Salt, Pepper
Green herb like garlic chives, dill, or parsley

Preheat a gas grill to medium (350-400F).  Make a foil pan:  get a piece of foil that’s a bit over 2x the size of the fillets side by side.  Fold the foil in half (I always do shiny side out, but not sure it matters).  Lay the fillets on the foil, skin side down if they have skin, with maybe a ½ inch between them. If there are thin tail sections, fold the thin part under to get a more even thickness.  Fold up the sides of the foil to make a ½ inch lip around the fish.  Put a thin coating of oil on top of the fish pieces, and if they are skinless, put a little oil under the fillets too.  Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice on top, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with a nice sprinkle of herbs.  Place the foil on the grill, over the burners.  Cook until just done.  I plan for about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, but start testing sooner.