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Farmers' market finds: Ripe figs & heirloom tomatoes

Recently I've been trying to buy our produce at the Oceanside Farmers' Market. I have a flexible work schedule and I thought I should really take advantage of this little local gem. The market is open year round and is only about a mile from my home. I've gone every week for a month now and we've tried some food we wouldn't normally buy. I figured it was time to start keeping track of what we made so here I am! 

This week I got some really great mission figs and sweet heirloom cherry tomatoes. I wasn't planning on using them together but we found this recipe for Beef Tri-tip with Roasted Figs and hello, it was amazing. I didn't have any fancy little onions so I used regular sweet onions and roughly followed this recipe to gauge roasting time before adding the figs and tomatoes. 

Adding a olive oil and balsamic vinegar to the figs and tomatoes before roasting yielded a sweet sauce that we used over the beef rather than making a gravy. It was perfect and what I've learned is that I need to roast figs a lot more often!


{Recipe} Honey Chipotle Spiced Pecans

Meet your new favorite party treat. The Honey Chipotle Spiced Pecans are a crowd pleaser. They're spicy, salty, sweet and totally irresistable. They are easy to whip up and they'll disappear fast!

Honey Chipotle Spice Pecans


2 tbsp honey
1 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cups pecan halves
2 tbsp granulated sugar (I use raw sugar)
3/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the honey, chipotle powder, cayenne and cinnamon. Warm through. Stir nuts into warmed honey mixture to coat well. Spread honey-coated nuts in a single layer on to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until fragrant, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1 minute. In a clean mixing bowl, combine sugar and salt. Add hot nuts to bowl and toss to coat. Return nuts to baking sheet and allow to cool completely. Yum!



Lobster Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite things to make. I mean, what's better than cheese and butter coated rice? Not much! I made this lobster risotto for a special occassion and wow was it good. I found the idea for the recipe on the Stone Brewery blog but I cooked differently than they recommended. I prefer to cook my risotto more in the style of Jamie Oliver. My combo cooking method is in the recipe below. 

Lobster Risotto

Serves 8 to 10


1½ Tbsp olive oil

1 cup onions, chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6½ cups seafood or vegetable stock

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 tsp orange zest

1 tsp lemon zest

2 cups Arborio rice

¼ cup heavy cream

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1½ pounds lobster meat, chopped into bit-sized pieces

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

In a sauce pan, bring stock to a simmer. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the onions soften slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and zest and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir constantly for about a minute. Add a ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream, Parmesan and butter. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly season the lobster with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high. Add the lobster meat and sauté very lightly until cooked (unless using cooked lobster, then cook until the meat is hot all the way through). Add the lobster and remaining stock to the risotto mixture. Adjust the seasoning if needed. To serve, ladle the risotto in a bowl and garnish with parsley.


Note: Lobster was not readily available on the day I chose to cook this recipe. I substitued langostino meat for the lobster. Langostino has a more mild flavor than lobster and it worked very well in this case


Gourmet, you say?

We did gourmet for sure last night. We made burgers topped with brie and truffle aioli. I made the buns, I packed the burgers, Thomas hand-cut the fries. And it was awesome. We picked up the book Burgers by Paul Gayler last weekend and I think we're going to be making a lot from in there.

Burgers is packed full of awesome gourmet burger ideas and not just with beef. There's salmon burgers, lamb, vegetarian and turkey burgers. Plus tons more. And even if you don't follow the recipe exactly this book is loaded with unique toppings and tasty inspiration. The Niçoise Crab Burger might just be next on my list! I highly recommend this book to anyone, because who doesn't love a good burger?? I certainly do!


How did I get so lucky?

amazing dinner

I had to run a few errands after work yesterday so I stopped by Pelly's Fish Market in Carlsbad for something different. I love Pelly's but it's not on my usual route so I don't make it there very often. The scallops were huge so I bought them as a special treat for Thomas. I brought them home and proceeded to sit on the stool at the counter while Thomas cooked away. How did I get lucky enough to find someone to make me porchini crusted scallops with a roasted red pepper sauce and a side of sweet potatoes on a monday night? Yeah, baby! Score one for Heather.