Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I am crazy about figs! Not only are they are amazing dried, but a fresh fig is so exotic, plump, slightly sweet, seedy and simply beautiful.

I was soooo pleased to find a fig tree in the back yard of the house we purchased last year here in San Diego. It is that time of the year again where I have so many figs coming off of that tree, not only do get the pleasure of eating fresh figs every day, but I feel the biggest urge to call the previous owners to thank them for planting it!

I have been roasting my figs a lot lately in balsamic vinegar for salads, and especially love them stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped with proscuitto.
I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen for a simple balsamic roasted chicken and fig recipe so decided to make an adaptation of it for dinner tonight. It is in the oven as I write and I can't wait until it is done!
My notes:
I decided to use chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken since I didn't want to deal with the leftovers (which can be great for hubby's lunches but I just wasn't in that kind of mood tonight). I pan seared the chicken breasts in olive oil for a few minutes on each side to seal the juices. Set them aside. Added two sliced sweet onions and sauteed for a few minutes before deglazing the pan with white wine and allowing the onions to simmer in the wine. I then added one chopped russet potato, two chopped sweet potatoes, a handful of teeny tiny potatoes (from Trader Joes - adorable!) and allowed to cook for another 5 minutes or so. Turned off heat and added herbs de provence olives, a few sprigs of rosemary, and used store bought green figs in addition to my black mission figs. Topped with the balsamic mixture. All of this goodness is baking in the oven now for about an hour at 325 degrees.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beet & Onion Salad

This is a such an easy, simple salad, which sometimes can be the best ones!

Beet and Onion Salad
serves 4-6

2 lbs beets
1 cup red onion, sliced half moon
4 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp ume plum vinegar

Cut the ends off beets and wash well, then boil in water until soft (about an hour). Place onions in a small bowl and cover them with some of the boiling beet water. Cover with a lid and set aside for 45 minutes or so. When beets are done, drain the water and cover with cold water. Peel the beets while they are submerged in the water by rubbing them with your hands. Remove beets from the pot as you peel them. Slice in half and then into half moons. Place in a bowl. When onions are soft, drain water and add them to the beets. Mix vinegars and oil, then pour over the beets and onions. Mix well. Allow to marinate refrigerated for at least an hour, or overnight.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday is DragonDay!

It is Wednesday and that means fresh, local, organic produce from my CSA, Dragon Organics!

I love this day. I get so excited at the surprise of what is going to be in the mystery box of produce each week. I especially get excited when it gives me something new to experiment with, or inspires me to try new recipes with all of the stuff I have. Like today. I got a HUGE bunch of celery. Celery really isn't the coolest thing I received, but because there is so much of it, I started pouring through my cookbooks and searching online trying to find some new, inventive way to make a killer celery dish to impress you all with. hmmmmmmmmm, don't think that's going to happen. There's not all that much out there for celery to shine. Poor celery. I feel sorry for you. You are always added to something...whether it be soup, tuna salad, or broth, but when do you shine on your own aside from a boring veggie platter?

Anyone got any ideas for me?

Celery aside...I decided I would start posting a pic weekly to share by mystery-box of produce. I'll call it DragonDay!

This week:
3 cucumbers
2 green bell peppers
3 giant zucchini
3 yellow squash
3 gorgeous heirloom tomatoes
a bunch of beets & greens (use the greens in my smoothies)
oh, and CELERY!

Dragon Organics not only has a CSA program, but is also part of a school program through San Pasqual Academy (a residential education campus designed specifically for foster teens) where it has become part of their agriculture and entrepreneurial education. Originally planning to teach students about their own nutrition through growing the foods that are used in their cafe, it has now become a student run business with the goal of teaching interested students how to own and operate their own business. An even better reason to support it!

Monday, August 16, 2010

baby party calls for cookies 'n milk

{Shannon & Cindy}

My friend Shannon and I hosted a baby shower this weekend for my sister in law, Cindy and new arrival, Oliver Seth.  Actually it was more of a 'meet my baby' party....a co-ed gathering scheduled for after the birth, and rather than showering the couple with gifts, their request was simply......diapers!

So as the guests arrived the diaper bin was filled.....
the baby was passed around.
the parents were praised.
the littles were found hiding in the closet.
a picnic took place on the lawn.
finger sandwiches were devoured.
jokes were made and laughs were had.
basket lovers were declared.
chips were dipped.
can's recycled.
a raffle ticket was drawn.
Judy was the lucky winner!
and cookies were ate...

I was happy to see that the cookie jar was slowly emptied, along with a splash of milk for some. I am not a cookies 'n milk kinda gal, but it was hubby's idea and seemed oh so fitting for the occasion (not to mention he IS a cookies 'n milk kinda guy, so was thrilled himself!).

{Cindy & Oliver}

Sorry if you were hoping for a recipe....I made the good old wheat flour and butter cookies for this party to please the masses. However if you were hoping for a recipe, my favorite these days is Elana's dairy-free almond flour chocolate chip cookie recipe (I use honey in place of the agave), which even my "cookies 'n milk hubby" claimed he likes better than the real deal (big smile), and that recipe can be found here.

got cookies? got milk booby?

diaper bin (only getting started-more arrived!)
Every party needs trash and recycle signs too!
(the bins are hiding behind the 'fence')

Shannon's beautiful arrangement - Raffle Basket
local made chips & my homemade roasted tomatillo salsa

Shannon's delicious finger sandwiches

Mobile Garden Beds

Thrifty Mobile Garden Beds

I was recently doing some gardening in my back yard and thought I would share with you my thrifty new garden beds. I took some pics with plans to post these at the beginning of the summer, and then kinda forgot about it. Then the other day BF Katie, who is now coined KK Holiday reminded me that I need to post these pics!

I found the wheelbarrow at a local garage sale. My brilliant Mother was in town and had the idea to put plants in it. After all, it is the perfect solution if your plants aren't getting enough can just move the whole thing! Then a month or so later KK Holiday was in town and witnessed a Hubby-n-Heather garage sale drive-by where we scored a Radio Flyer wagon for only $5! Now it is filled with plants in the garden.

Here is my first harvest of cherry tomatoes. There were many more to come, but I was very proud of the first few! The last picture is of the brick that hubby laid for the gas grill. He did a great job, ne!?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Japanese Ginger Dressing

We had a wonderful dinner party last night to welcome our great friends Marshall and Darah back to the U.S. from China. Fresh off the plane and en route to San Francisco, they filled us in on their Beijing adventures since we left the smoggy city, future plans, and of course...the Beijing gossip! In the middle of catching up on all of the details, we somehow got on to the subject of salad dressings, to which Darah requested that I send her this yummy recipe.

Japanese Ginger Dressing
(makes 3 cups)

1 cup sesame oil
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbsp ume plum vinegar
6 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp white miso
pinch cayenne

Place everything in a blender and blend well. If desired, pour through a strainer to strain the ginger fiber.