Fig Lime Jam

Remember two summers ago when I first discovered figs?

It was the first summer I started going to the farmers market in LA and taking advantage of all the amazing produce that southern California has to offer. I was so swept off my feet by figs I started coming up with plays on the word like “un figgen believable” and “figgen good”. I’m a fan of figs.

Figs are not loved the world over though. I mentioned fig jam to my dad last week and I could visualize the side eye he was throwing me via email. However, I feel this jam has the power to change minds.

Studying for the bar exam threw my world a little upside down this summer. Weekly trips to the farmers market have been a ritual for me since 2010, yet this summer I just never really made it out. The week before the exam I wandered into the Wednesday Santa Monica market. I was kind of sad I hadn’t made it there sooner this summer. The tomatoes, peaches, berries, melon and figs smelled so good. Luckily when my mom was in town she invested in a massive number of figs for me. I made the easy decision to make jam with them.

Why jam? Because saying “I’m making jam” makes you sound vaguely like Martha Stewart. But really making jam is simple. There is very little effort that actually goes into it and very few ingredients. Also, I really like figs but I feel like they go bad fast. Unlike a giant bag of cherries that I can demolish in under an hour, I never really sit and eat a large number of figs. Plus I have a jam recipe from 2010 that I’ve wanted to make foreva.

Plus, once you have jam there tons of ways to use it –> stay tuned for that.

Ingredients:

2 lbs figs (I used Brown Turkey)

2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup lime juice

Instructions:

Take the figs and chop them up. I took my 2 lbs of figs and chopped them into quarters.

Juice two limes to get 1/4 cup of lime juice.

Combine the sugar, lime and figs. Mash and combine all of the ingredients. The recipe called for use of a potato masher but I don’t have a potato masher. I used the edge of a rolling pin. Mix and mash the figs, sugar and lime until they are mostly liquid. There were some chunks left from the figs. This is completely acceptable.

Cover the jam and let sit for at least 2 hours. You can let it sit over night.

After two hours heat the jam over medium heat for 30 mins, stirring occasionally. The jam will bubble and reduce down in the process of cooking.

After 30 mins remove from the heat and let it cool. Then refrigerate.

I have to say, this jam is pretty damn good. Plus, it looks pretty and isn’t that equally important?

The jam is sweet but not too sweet. I think the tartness of the lime juice cuts the sweet a bit. Also cooking this will make your apartment smell like heaven.

I have so much jam in my apartment right now (like more than I can just use on toast). Stay tuned next week for ways to use jam. One of them involves pancetta and we know pancetta is always amazing.

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Seasonal Eats

Another week and I’ve been MIA. I know, I know. It was the last full week of class this week and finals are impending as I mentioned earlier this week.

4 exams, 1 35-page paper before December 16th. What was I thinking? I am way too easily swept up in the excitement of classes that sound interesting and/or are with great professors. The good news is that only 2 of my exams utilize “black letter law” which is good for this theory loving girl.

But for the record, I feel a bit like this right now:

Alert, anxious and rifling through paper.

So, as I mentioned it was a busy week but I did manage to cook a delicious dinner this week. Unfortunately, I did not come up with the recipe myself. Can’t win them all.

I made Pumpkin Mac and Cheese and it was everything I wanted and more. I love those dinners that you can make in a casserole dish and then eat out of for meals. Yes, this means I ate pumpkin mac and cheese three times this week. Don’t judge. I foresee this happening more than once in the next few weeks.

This was also my first time using pumpkin, rather than just laying on them. I KNOW, I KNOW. All healthy living bloggers, whatever that is, are OMGSOOBSESSED with pumpkin. I have decided that I like pumpkin in certain contexts. For example, I for sure like pumpkin topped with whipped cream or with carbs and cheese. I still have 3/4 of a can chilling in my fridge so I need to figure out what to do with that. If you have any suggestions for a 3/4 can of pumpkin let me know by dropping a comment!

In other news, Thanksgiving is next week and Kaitlin is hosting! I am so excited to have thanksgiving with Kaitlin. She’s a food blogger so I know it’s going to be good eating plus lots of wine and I’m clearly going to need a break at that point. I’ve decided to make Eat, Live, Run’s caramelized Brussels sprouts because, as we know, I love Brussels sprouts. I also plan to make my eggplant dip. Any by “my” I mean “my mother’s” and by “my mother’s” I really mean “Barefoot’s”. I’ve never blogged the recipe so you can look forward to that next week!

Finally, I have Tavern news!

My favorite restaurant has opened another outpost in Beverly Hills. I haven’t been yet since I live walking distance from the original but if you’re in that hood make sure to check it out!

Go get yourself a treat. You earned it.

Also, I found Suzanna Goin’s (the chef/owner of Tavern) Brussels sprouts recipe which is on the Tavern Thanksgiving menu: Braised Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Balsamic, and Breadcrumbs. Oh yes. I debated making it for Thursday but there are going to be many veggies at Kaitlin’s thanksgiving and I want to be accommodating. I debated bastardizing the recipe by switching out the veal stock and pancetta but doing that just didn’t sit right with me.

But! I encourage you to make it and let’s face it. It has pancetta and Brussels sprouts so I will be making it eventually!

And finally, Congrats to everyone who passed the bar today! I cannot believe that a year from now I’ll be finding out my bar results.

So, since I have no free time to cook my own things, link me a great, easy, quick recipe for me to try.

Quinoa Stir fry

Hola gang!

Sorry I went totally MIA this week. See I had a plan of what I was going to blog at the beginning of the week.

But it didn’t quite turn out how I wanted it to…

Chocolate Chip Toasted Macadamia Nut Cookies. Delicious, but flat as a pancake. I know they’re delicious because even though they turned out super flat I still managed to try them. I need to figure out what I did wrong, right? Right. I’m going to go back and retool this recipe before posting it but it will be back because the toasted macadamia’s were fan-tas-tic!

Don’t worry, I developed something delicious tonight to share with you: Quinoa Stir Fry

I went out Thursday night for Halloween and didn’t get home until after 4 am (-> so late but SO worth it) and I am still exhausted! Around 5 o’clock tonight I was puttering around my kitchen, thinking about getting takeout and trying to decide what I wanted that would be easy. Being tired and working on final exams prep all day was makes me lazy. Then inspiration struck! I’ve been a quinoa eating machine the past few days and I love stir fry so why not combine the two?!

For the oil I used coconut oil and I added chopped up carrots, lima beans, broccoli, and sliced Brussels sprouts with some grated ginger. I even made the sauce myself!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup quinoa

1 cup water

Chopped veggies (I had 1 1/2 cup of chopped broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots and lima beans)

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

Sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon honey

Tiny dash of toasted sesame oil

Instructions:

Heat and water with the quinoa in a pot and let cook until the quinoa has absorbed the water. Set aside.

In a pan bring the heat the coconut oil at medium high heat until melted. Add the veggies and the ginger and cook until softened.

In a small bowl measure out the soy sauce, honey and toasted sesame oil. Whisk until combined. Once the veggies have softened, add the sauce, combine, and move the heat to low. Then add the quinoa to pan, combine and then serve!

So delicious! I was puttering around my kitchen with some pretty low expectations but I can tell that this is going to be a Katherine classic. I’m obsessed with quinoa right now. It’s so easy to cook, filling and a nice change from my go to dish of noodles. I think this whole thing took about 20 mins to throw together.

I’m also new to using coconut oil and I really like it. I typically use extra virgin olive oil in my cooking but I like the hint of flavor that coconut oil adds to a dish. I need to figure out new ways to work coconut oil in to my meals.

Next time I think I’m even going to add an egg to make it resemble quinoa fried rice. Oh yes, that will be winning.

And because I am the height of excitement I am off to take a bath and crawl into freshly washed sheets. I have a 5k in the morning I need to rest up for!

Seasonal Sunday

Hello friends!

It has been three weeks since I have had a regular weekend in LA.

First I went to Chicago and ran a marathon!

Then I went to San Francisco.

And I ate my face off.

While I had so much fun the past few weekends I was really looking forward to hanging in my hood this weekend and getting back into my routine.

Routine on Sundays means breakfast, iced lattes, farmers markets, and enjoying my hood.

It’s starting to cool down in LA. We don’t have a traditional change of seasons but the weather does crisp up a bit which is nice. I’m going to go ahead and count that as a change. Mmkay? With cooler weather comes oatmeal!

Doesn’t that picture just look like fall? I actually put vanilla in the oatmeal while I cooked the oats. Then I topped with granola, cinnamon, and obviously brown sugar. Oats without brown sugar? I would never!

Then I took to the streets and stopped at one of my favorite LA coffee shops, Café Luxxe.

Cafe Luxxe has several locations on the Westside and our former governor has been known to frequent them (and I’m not talking about Gray Davis).

I got my usual, an iced non fat latte. I pretty much never get a hot drink unless it’s below freezing. Even then, I prefer cold. My Mom does the same thing and I think it might be genetic.

After I moseyed on over to the Farmer’s Market. So much has changed since the last time I was there! It’s a whole new season!

What’s in season now?

Squash! I love butternut. Some of my favorite butternut squash recipes are butternut squash risotto, butternut squash potato pancakesbutternut squash ravioli, and honey roasted butternut squash.

Kale


Pluots


Persimmons


Grapes and Pomegranates


Brussels Sprouts, one of my favorites!


Yams


Peppers and Swiss Chard


Jujubes (Chinese Dates)

I love eating mostly seasonal produce because I can really tell when the seasons are changing. If I’m eating butternut squash, it’s fall!

After the FM I walked home through an art festival! I love my new neighborhood for having stuff like this just randomly happening on a Sunday afternoon.

I didn’t buy anything but I got freebees from Pirate’s Booty!

Last night I also went back to yoga. Sunday just isn’t complete without yoga for me. Since I do yoga every Sunday I kinda feel like yoga resets by body, if that makes sense. I haven’t done yoga since before the marathon. Last night I felt like I was wringing my body out post marathon. This is going to sound so weird but I felt like I could still feel the marathon in my body. I felt a little bit heavy in my inversion but I think it’s because my arms haven’t been properly worked in a while.

I know the blog has been a little “food light, running heavy” recently but I’ve been baking and I hope to start bringing more food content back to the blog this week. I also have more marathon related writing to do, so there is a lot to look forward to.

What is your favorite fall food?

Easy Soba Noodles with a Homemade Sauce

Remember when I made salmon with bok choy and discovered sesame oil?

It looked a little something like this…

The instant I tasted the sauce all I wanted to was slather it on some soba noodles. Everyone told me to use sesame oil sparingly but the salmon recipe called for 1 tsp but with the salmon to absorb the sauce everything worked out perfectly. Unfortunately the first attempt at putting the sauce on soba was totally misguided and the sesame oil flavor was way too strong. I worked out the kinks and now the sauce is great on soba.

Soba Noodle Stir Fry in a Homemade Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

Grated ginger

Tiny drop of sesame oil

Pinch of garlic salt

Assorted chopped veggies (I used eggplant, beans, scallions, bok choy and sugar snap peas)

1 serving soba noodles

Instructions

I started by chopping the eggplant, beans, bok choy and peas.

I love the purple and white colors of the beans and eggplant. I heated up a pan with a dollop of EVO and added the beans and peas. I started with them because they were going to take the longest time to cook. The I added the eggplant and the bok choy. I cooked until the bok choy was wilted and everything was cooked through but not burned.

While the items were cooking I put together the sauce.

It was super easy. I just added all the ingredients together and whisked (I also added the ginger through it wasn’t photographed).

Weird picture, I know.

Anyways, while all this was going on I cooked the soba noodles. I love soba because, like the sauce, they are ready in less than 3 mins.

I added the soba to the veggie mixture until the sauce coated everything.

And that was it! Dinner is served!

As you can tell, this took about 15 mins to make and was so simple. Personally, I always try to make homemade sauces. Yes, I’m that weirdo who hasn’t bought marinara sauce in three years. I really like this sauce as an alternative to Trader Joe’s Soyaki which is my normal go to. I love the sweetness of the honey and the bite of the ginger. Ginger is one of my favorite flavors!

In other news: I went on my final weekend run before the marathon tonight. I did 8 miles and it was the last long run where I saw the ocean. I ran 8 miles with a 9 min per mile pace (still running 10 mins, walking 2 mins) and felt fantastic. I’m going to take it very easy this week and I am so excited to head to Chicago on Thursday. I’ll be posting more about running this week than I will about cooking, just a heads up!

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Coffee Reduction and Pumpkin Ice Cream

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program I was lucky enough to receive two pounds of Godiva Coffee’s two new seasonal flavors: Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Pecan Bark.

While I love coffee, I’m not a huge fan of flavored coffee. What can I say? I love bitter things. I decided the best way for me to enjoy the coffee wasn’t simply brewing it, but placing it in the context of a fall dessert. I decided to make a variation of Orange Pound Cake and top it with a strong coffee reduction.

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cup flour

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

5 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 vanilla bean, split and the insides removed

3 tablespoons coffee, I used Godiva Coffee Carmel Pecan Bark flavor

2 scoops seasonal ice cream, I used Trader Joes Pumpkin Ice Cream

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350. I started by combining the sugar and butter. Then I beat the sugar and butter for 8 mins until it was very fluffy. I am a major proponent of beating butter and sugar for a minimum of 8 mins, it tastes so divine.

Yes, I may have had a few bites of this while watching the Emmy pre show last weekend. Can you blame me?

Then I added the vanilla extract with a spatula and mixed with a spatula. Then I gradually beat in the eggs using a hand held mixer.

Then I added the salt and gradually added the flour. After adding the flour I added the insides of the vanilla bean. I split the bean with a knife and scraped out the insides. I made sure it was well mixed with the spatula.

I buttered a loaf pan and poured the batter in.

I baked for 60 mins.

While the pound cake was baking I got cracking on the coffee reduction. To start, I brewed 3 tablespoons of coffee in my French press, using 1 1/4 cups water.

You can use whatever brewing method you like. I only have a French press (I’m a bit obsessed with it actually) because personally, I think it brews better coffee. It’s mostly important that the coffee is a little stronger than usual.

Then I poured the coffee into a pot and set the heat on low to simmer the coffee.

It’s important not to let the coffee burn. I kept an eye on it until the coffee had reduced by half.

I check it by pouring it into my liquid measuring cup.

Reduced by over half: success!

I put the reduction aside to cool and took the pound cake out of the oven after it finished cooking and let it cool.

When I was ready to consume I sliced the pound cake, topped with my favorite fall ice cream (Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Ice Cream) and drizzled the coffee reduction over it.

Fantastic! The coffee was very flavorful and the scent was pretty intoxicating. I still probably wouldn’t drink this plain because of my personal preference for non flavored coffee but the scent was delicious. I also loved how the coffee was absorbed in the pound cake. Typically I add cinnamon or something to the pumpkin ice cream because I love adding things to pumpkin ice cream generally. I actually think I liked the addition of the coffee reduction more. The coffee reduction makes the flavor of the coffee even stronger and the strong flavor played well off of the pound cake and the ice cream.

I spent the rest of the week adding the coffee reduction to things like ice cream and muesli. Overall, I really liked Godiva Coffee for baking purposes and I will probably use it again. Indulgent and delicious for Fall!

Tomato, Basil and Feta Orzo

Seeing as I started the summer with a delicious orzo salad, roasted shrimp orzo, I figured I should end the summer with one. I broke open a cookbook I got for my birthday from my Mom.

So far, this cookbook is great! I love the recipes (there are a ton) and the saucy commentary with the recipes. This one was pretty simple. I subbed the mozzarella for feta because it’s what I had on tap. This recipe took literally no thought to put together and was great cold the next day. We had a mini heat wave last week with temps in the 90’s. Having no AC, a cold lunch was necessary. I couldn’t bear to turn on the oven.

Tomato, Basil and Feta Orzo Salad

Ingredients

3 servings of orzo

1/8 cup chopped basil

1/8 cup EVO

1 tablespoon EVO

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (I used orange and yellow ones from the FM)

1 small minced clove of garlic

1 cup crumbled feta

Sprinkling of pepper and sea salt

Instructions

Combine the halved tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, feta, and 1/8 cut EVO in a bowl. Stir and let sit for 1 hour. This was great because it allowed me to get a post run shower in. Wahoo!

After an hour, cook the orzo. Combine the cooked orzo with the other ingredients and the additional tablespoon of EVO. Salt and pepper to taste.

Seriously, can a meal get any easier? I don’t think so. The tomatoes were so fresh and amazing, because they’re in season now. The feta melted just slightly onto the orzo and the basil. Be still my heart it was so good! Is there a better flavor combination than tomatoes and basil? Nope.

This makes three servings. With my marathon appetite I housed a serving and a half and chilled the other portion for lunch the next say. As I mentioned above, it was so hot that the chilled portion came in extra handy. I don’t think I would have heated it up if I could have; it was great cold like all orzo salads. This is something I can see myself making in mass for several days worth of lunches.

One Year Ago: I set my 10k PR in the Santa Monica 5000. It was also the race that introduced me to Kaitlin! Isn’t running wonderful?

Let me Tempeh you

I’m sorry this title is terrible but I just couldn’t help myself.

Last week I got back to being adventurous in the kitchen by cooking tempah for the first time. You might be asking yourself, “What is tempeh?” Well, let me inform you!

Tempeh is a soy based product originally from Indonesia. It is much firmer than tofu which I like because the consistency of tofu has always kept me from truly loving it. I’ve had tempeh numerous times at Real Food Daily and I see it frequently in Trader Joe’s so I decided it was time to give it a try.

For my first recipe I adapted something I found in a new to me cookbook:

I received the other Heidi Swanson cookbook for Christmas last year from a friend and I love it so when I received an amazon gift card in August I immediately knew I wanted to get her other cookbook.

And no, I do not have pomegranate glaze on hand in my apartment. Luckily Heidi provides with substitutions. I also subbed in purple potatoes for butternut squash. I also halved the recipe.

Ingredients:

1/2 package of tempeh

3 small eggplants (or 1/2 a long Asian eggplant)

3 purple potatoes, diced

1/2 a lemon worth of zest

1 clove of garlic

Sprinkling of red pepper flakes

1/8 cup maple syrup

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

To start, I diced the potatoes, eggplant, and tempeh making sure that they were around the same size.

As you can tell, I had a purple dinner. Maybe because College Football Season is starting? Yes. Showing my Northwestern pride.

Chop it up and stack it onto a baking sheet with a rim. Add lemon zest on top.

Then I combined the maple syrup, olive oil, and red pepper flakes together. Then mash the garlic into a paste with your knife and add that to the sauce.

Whisk it together and put it on top of the potato, tempeh and eggplant.

Spread into a single layer.

Bake at 350 for 45 to 60 mins. At the 25 min mark, take the pan out of the oven and move the food around. Stick it back into the oven and monitor it to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Yum! Throw in a bowl and top with feta!

Holy carp this was good! The tempeh was delicious and sweet and SO filling. This is the perfect dinner for marathon training because tempeh is protein packed. I’ve been in a constant state of hunger the past month with marathon training and tempeh is great for me because I am too lazy to eat meat. I can’t wait til winter squash is in season so I can make this with butternut!

I hope you all had a great week. It’s been hot in LA (90 degrees today) so I tabled my long run until tomorrow. I’m feeling super run down tonight. I’m very hungry, I have a tension headache and I’m too tired to focus on my work. I think I’m going to head to bed early!

Have you tried tempeh before?

Creature of Habit

Above anything else, I am a creature of habit.

It’s why I end up at either Coffee Bean or Starbucks almost every morning.

It’s why I need chocolate every night before bed (obviously while being lawyerly and reading).

And it’s why I almost always eat the same breakfast. Strike that. I have eaten the same breakfast every day, with the exception of when I go out and the less that 5 times I’ve made a breakfast smoothie in the past 11 months. I saw Kaitlin blog Van’s waffles last November and I have had them nearly daily since. It was a very serious and exclusive relationship unlike most of my other relationships. Sometimes with butter, sometimes with honey or sometimes with nothing but it was always the same story.

I loved Vans because I could eat them quickly, in the car while driving or while walking to school. Seriously, I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but outside of a good brunch, I have a hard time getting excited about it. Doesn’t hurt that I don’t love many breakfast foods like eggs and I know this will get me kicked out of the Healthy Living club, but I don’t love nut butter.

I know. Take a minute to absorb that information.

I hope I haven’t lost you.

In recent weeks, while I love Vans, I’ve noticed that they are not filling me up the way they used to. I need more protein in light of all the running I’m doing for marathon training. I played with a few ideas to dress up Vans but in the end I decided to just try something new for a change.

I am so glad I did. Sorry Vans, I now only have eyes for muesli. This was made, of course at my Mothers suggestion. She is very concerned about the nutritional quality of my meals while marathon training.

The best part of muesli is that I can make it the night before. It actually is very similar to the breakfast cookie. There are plenty of variations, and I feel like the night before thing will encourage me to be more creative with my breakfasts and HEY maybe they’ll make the blog from time to time!

Here is how it went down. I gathered all of my ingredients the night before.

The oats and the almond milk are the base of this breakfast and everything else was selected by me because it is what I had on hand. I also grabbed a container to make my muesli in.

Morning reminder not to get too cray cray or over anxious.

I combined 1/3 cup oats, a sprinkling of cinnamon, a dash of vanilla, some raisins and macadamia nuts in the mug.

Then I added unsweetened vanilla almond milk until the oats et al were submerged.

Saran it and fridge it overnight!

The next morning I opened the fridge to a delicious surprise!

So good, like freezing cold oatmeal. The muesli was so refreshing in the morning. I was able to eat it relatively quickly and didn’t have to spend any time prepping it. Also, it only dirtied one spoon and one mug which is pretty awesome. I hate cleaning in the morning.

Like I said, I have several variants in mind that I want to try and share on the blog. I see a very happy relationship blossoming with muesli.

Do you have a go to breakfast item or do you like to mix it up?

What’s in Season Now: August

I realize that I always say one of the best ways to save money at the farmers market is to buy what is in season but I never blog about what is in season or what I’m buying. I thought I would take you WITH me to the beautiful, epic Santa Monica Farmers Market for a little peek at what is in season now.

Peaches

Eggplant – When I saw eggplant a few weeks ago I let out a squeal of delight. I LOVE eggplant and please note that there are about 5 varieties at this booth alone.

Heirloom Tomatoes – Both minis and full size perfect for Grilled Heirloom Tomatoes

Peppers

Bunches of herbs – Actually these are pretty much available year round, $1 for a bunch!

Summer Squash – Again, squeals of glee when I spotted these a few weeks ago! I’ve been using them in this risotto recipe to make summer risotto.

Papaya Melon – Like honeydew but 100% better! Sweet and mild, this is what I use in my Prosciutto Melon Salad.

Carrots – Normally I associate these with Fall, they are so good when honey roasted.

Ginormous ArtichokesGrilled artichokes are good but I need to find other recipes.

BerriesSo summer.

What are you loving at the farmers market right now?