Monday, August 24, 2009

New beginnings

Once again - a new school year about to begin, the renewed sense of a fresh start and I start thinking about blogging again. This past year I purposely stayed away - it was Hallie's senior year and I didn't want to miss a minute. Such a busy time - it went so quickly.

She's off to college in a matter of days, Ana is already living in an apartment with a roommate and that means that we will officially be "empty nesters" (though with two very active dogs, it hardly feels empty around here). I am working on mastering the art of cooking for two. I like leftovers - but I can't do it too many days in a row. So I need to make some adjustments!

The other night I put together a dinner that turned out really well. Our fig tree has gone crazy this year - we really should have pruned it last year but didn't - so it is wild now. We are sharing nicely with the birds and squirrels - plenty to go around. The figs are just beginning to ripen so it was time to make one of my favorite salads. First I cut up some fresh figs and toss them with pomegranate syrup.

I used to grill these but they make such a mess now I just saute them until they get soft and caramelized. I chopped and tossed them with some lettuce (I prefer butter lettuce for this salad but this time I just had green leaf lettuce), a wonderful Pt. Reyes blue cheese, some spicy pecans and drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Definitely one of our favorite salads.

I also tried duplicating a walnut and cheese patty I had up in Portland recently. I found this recipe and we loved it. I used a very sharp English Farmhouse cheddar - so good.

I made it into several smaller ones and the first batch stuck like crazy. So that turned into a "scramble" of sorts which I set aside and used the next day as a sandwich filling. The next round I used a different pan and a different burner with greater success. These were delicious. I also roasted some beets and served those tossed with champagne vinegar. The beet greens were chopped and sauteed in olive oil with lots of garlic. It was the perfect size dinner for two - no leftovers except the walnut cheese combo that fell apart!

1 comment:

JGH said...

Hey! Glad to see that you're back. I've missed your recipes and the timing is perfect because I started growing figs of my own this year (yes, in NY!) and they're getting ripe now. I only have 11 on the tree, but I'll put them to good use. You have some great ideas here - love the carmelizing idea! Do you have more freedom now that it's just you and the DH?
Jenny (from wmoms)