Finally…a new post. Some big changes and a mini vacation have left me itching to cook and write but without a lot of time to do either…
Not that I’m complaining about taking a little break and going down to Santa Barbara for a few days. The laid-back, coastal city holds many memories for Andy and me. It was one of the first trips we took together and being there always transports me back to those early months of our relationship; both of us giddy and hopeful, excited but terrified, head-over-heels in love. I could sit and stare at these views forever.
Back to reality and definitely not as much fun as a vacation: the big change. I’ve started working part-time again and I’m here to tell you, if you threw a couple kids in the mix, there’s no way Tasty Trials would stand a chance. I’ve said this so many times before and I’ll say it again: I am in awe of those of you who work, have kids, and still manage to produce amazing blogs. Just a few hours taken out of my day has shaken up my routine so much that I’m left exhausted come dinnertime, leaving good ol’ Trader Joe’s to provide us with meals that I can poke a few holes in and pop in the oven. Surely I’ll be used to this new “normal” soon enough and can get back to cooking and writing, although I do suspect it’s more a case of the grass being greener on the blogging side. If I weren’t able to blame not blogging on working I’d probably blame it on any number of other things…trashy reality television, anyone?
In other exciting news, I practically squealed in delight when I saw that fresh figs had finally made their first appearance of the season at our farmer’s market. There they were, sitting gloriously in their little green baskets just waiting to be made into jam, put into tarts, stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. Even better news, they resided at my favorite stall, run by my favorite vendor who is very sweet but incredibly shy, calls me “Chica” and always throws in a little something extra. I was absolutely delighted when he topped my baskets off, making them overflow. I don’t think I could be more in love with the farmer’s market.
I couldn’t wait to try this combination of fig and spice, and I’m sure it is the first of many figgy treats of the season…
12 ounces fresh figs, diced
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno (ribs and seeds included)*
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablesoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup sugar
In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Stir well. Heat to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for 30 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cover and simmer an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If desired, mash slightly with a fork once jam is done.
*Note: Make sure you use a spicy jalapeno. Some jalapenos taste like bell pepper and won’t give this jam the kick you’re looking for.
My mom believes that I’ve burned my taste buds off and that my definition of spicy is not normal, but I really don’t think this is knock-your-socks-off spicy (take that with a grain of salt, or chili powder, if you choose). The jalapeno is subtle but cuts through the sweetness just enough for a little heat to linger in your mouth. Andy and I both thought that a little more heat might actually be nice, but then there’s that addiction rearing it’s ugly head again. In any case, this jam is perfect just spread on crostini with a little cheese, or could be used as the “sauce” for a pizza topped with goat cheese and prosciutto.
According to CaliforniaFreshFigs.com, this year’s fig season was delayed due to late season rain, but they are promising figs-a-plenty through mid-December. (Is there any way to hold them to that?) Family members beware, you may be getting fig-related Christmas gifts…
|One last Santa Barbara sunrise...how can you get tired of this???|