Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Slay the Monster

So, did it get ripe? Why, yes, yes it did. Fig on the bottom is (obviously) the MONSTER fig.

And here she is, plucked from her tree:

Sliced up, it seriously looks like TWO figs. 

For comparison, here is a more normally sized fig that I picked the next day:

You can see, the volume looks like about half of the monster fig!

The rest of the figs seem to be getting going now, I picked three today, two yesterday and three the day before that.  And I can see they are veining out in purple, so it's looking good! I'd better get my fig pants on now so I am ready when all the smaller ones come ripe at the same time (right now it is the larger ones getting ripe, and they are maybe about five percent of the fruit on the tree). 

Wish me luck, and post favorite fig recipes if you like! This batch of figs seems to taste a lot like watermelon, which is awesome.
<3 Dawn

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Monsters, Monarchs, Marinara, and Magic

While peering hopefully at my fig tree, hoping upon hope that some of  her (probably two or three hundred) figs will ripen, my husband spotted this MONSTER fig, showing a tiny tinge of purple:

Perhaps all my figs are going to achieve this huge size, and that's why they are still not ripening. Or, it could be the extra harsh winter we had, which may have killed some of the stem tissue. I'm hoping for the former.

While pruning my garden out front, I found this guy in my milkweed:
Monarch, munching.

And, I made my very first yeast dough and then, my first home made pizza last night:
My dough after rising.  

Traditional Pie with Cashew-Basil Ricotta (Use one full cup or more of packed basil leaves instead of the 1/4 cup called for in my recipe.  Pulse the cashews and garlic, then add the basil leaves with olive oil and pulse some more, like you are making a pesto, THEN add the tofu and other ingredients to the processor). It also has Daiya Mozzarella and Trader Joe's Marinara (spruced up a little with some extra herbs).  Totally vegan. My son said it was the best pizza ever :-). He helped make the dough!

My magic trick was that I used the smooth side of a double-burner cast iron griddle instead of a pizza stone.  They get nice and hot, heat very evenly, and don't crack like some pizza stones do.  I used a cookie sheet as the peel (same rectangular shape as the pan, so worked great). Plus you can use it as a griddle (the smooth side) or a grill (the bumpy side) the rest of the time and don't have to store a pizza stone somewhere just for making pizza.  I got it to make lots of pancakes at once, and also to double as a pizza stone.  I decided to try it for pizza right out of the box and am VERY happy with it.  It is made by Lodge Logic and comes pre-seasoned (I have another of their cast iron saute pans and I love it, use it all the time).  If you don't have any cast iron cookware, get over your fears and get some.  It's heavy as hell, but amazing stuff.  Magic.

<3 Dawn

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Grilled Broccoli

That's right. Grilled broccoli.  It's easy, it's the best broccoli I've ever had, and my three year old agrees!

You will need fresh stalks of broccoli (duh) some butter or oil, salt, pepper and whatever else you want to put on it.  I use Smart Balance Light (yes, it's vegan!) salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little sugar to caramelize it a bit (and to entice my three year old :-).

Spread the butter over the top of the broccoli just like you are painting it (works very well with Smart Balance because it is soft like a margarine), I even buttered the stalk on all sides. Now, place it on a big piece of aluminum foil and salt and pepper and garlic powder the whole thing (or hot sauce or any other powdered spice you like, could try to sprinkle freshly chopped garlic on it even, but that was too much bother for me).
Like so:

Now, wrap it up.  Looks imposing, doesn't it? 
P.S. I had to use another big piece o' foil to cover it all the way around. 

Now, grill it up.  I just put it on the grill (I guess it was about 400 degrees) for about 10 minutes or so per "side." (I flipped it over once).  It takes a while because broccoli is a pretty tough veggie.  I'd go up to 15 minutes per side, especially if your grill isn't as hot.  To tell if it's done, just pierce the stem with a fork to see if it is tender and as soft as you'd like it.  If not, re-wrap it and put it back on for a few minutes. 

Best part? The STEM.  Tastes like artichoke hearts done this way.  We all fought over it.  

Let me know if you try it! Enjoy! <3 Dawn