Friday, October 21, 2011


On an overcast, cool and windy night comfort food was required. I roasted a chicken on a bed of pineapple sage and lemon verbena leaves, surrounded it with black garlic with its wonderfully complex flavor, potatoes from my friend's garden, carrots, big shallots and turnips. I poured some white wine and chicken stock into the pan and roasted it till the skin was crisp, the flesh tender and the aromas wafted through the house. A simple green salad completed this utterly satisfying meal. And, a couple of nights ago I used up the last of my green figs. I toasted in a saute pan, in olive oil, some fresh bread crumbs and when they were browned and crisp I emptied them into a bowl and browned some pine nuts in the same pan, and they, too, went into the bowl. After adding more oil to the pan, I gently softened some chopped garlic, then added the quartered figs and cooked them on a low flame, turning them from time to time. Meanwhile I cooked some fettuccine, and when the pasta had finished cooking I drained it, saving some of the water to finish the dish. I strew some lemon zest and fresh rosemary over the figs, tossed them with the paste, added a bit of lemon juice, then topped the dish with the crumb-pine nut mix and a generous showering of parmesan. I ate this marvelous dish with enormous gusto and unseemly self-congratulations.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

figs and dates

A trip to the mideastern grocery to buy from the new crop of walnuts, and then I was unable to resist the bin of soft, plump fresh dates. So, today I made a date chutney, very lightly spiced with curry and red pepper, and cooked with tawny port and red wine vinegar,brown sugar and salt and peppe. Absolutely delicious, it'll be perfect on a cheese platter or served with roasted fowl. As will the fresh fig conserve I cooked up, with fresh thyme and orange zest. Tomorrow I'll use the remaining green mission figs in a fettucine dish enhanced with cream and freshly grated parmesan. I also harvested the remaining tarragon in my herb garden and made a tarragon pesto, wonderful on salmon and most any baked,roasted or broiled fish.