Roasted Brie with Figs and Honey

We were blessed with many figs this year.  I LOVE the texture of fresh figs.  The very thing that I love most, the seeds, is often what people don’t like about them.  I had already made drunken fig jam last year and some regular fig jam as well, so I wanted to make something where you could have the texture and fresh flavor, but add some richness too.  Enter: melting cheese.

I was thrilled to find these ceramic dishes at Anthro this last spring. They are perfect for displaying picked fruit from the yard.

All you need is some brie, figs, and honey.  I used a goat brie from Trader Joe’s because that’s what I had, but any will do.  I used some honey that we got from the Napa Valley where we visited a few months ago.  I’ve bought it a few times before and it’s some of the best.  Check out “Branches” honey from Katz and Company.  Then, just roast at 400 until it melts into awesomeness.  Drizzle with honey and sit down for a few minutes to enjoy.   San Diego had a few random drops of rain today, so it was nice to enjoy this while watching “Fantasia” (the 1940’s version) with my family.

“Where the surf meets the turf”

A few weekends ago, I decided to drag take the kids to the food truck festival in Del Mar I had been hearing so much about.   I expected it to be pretty crazy since we haven’t had one this big in San Diego yet.  I had just left my parent’s house that morning and said I wasn’t going to go after all.  I started driving home and thought I REEEALLY wanted to go somewhere because my husband had been gone that whole week.  Not cabin fever exactly, because I don’t stay at home constantly, just wanting to mix it up a little.  Soooo….it was pretty crazy.  I’m so glad there were races to watch, because the kiddos only had enough patience for one truck.  To be quite honest, didn’t really want to stand in the sun either.


I had already eaten at a few of the 75:

Crepes Bonaparte
Brats Berlin
Longboard’s Ice Cream
Slap Yo Mama
Nom Nom
Fresh Fries
Corner Cupcakes
Food Farm SD
The Gathering Spot
SD Street EATS
The Sweets Truck
Super Q’s
MIHO GastroTruck
Tabe BBQ
Buttermilk Truck

I wanted to eat at The Lime Truck, The Lobsta’ truck, and the Ludo(bites) truck.  I could only pick one so I picked the one with the shortest line (even then, a short line is a relative term when it come to food trucks).  Ludo! (It was my first choice anyway :))

Horses are just such magnificent creatures.


This sweet girl has the horse bug…doesn’t that happen at like age 9-10 or something?  She picked horses for her mammal study this term so I told her I would let her take a ride when she was done.  Oh man, I hope this is a good idea.  Horses are an expensive hobby.


Our attempt at a group photo.  The lady really tried but I told her I kind of like having a few pictures with the kids that show the true emotion of the moment.


We waved at the Noms’ as we passed.


Ah, yes…Ludo.  I’ve followed Ludo Lefebvre for some time.  If you don’t know his name, you know his concept of food.  This chef is basically the founder of  the “pop-up” restaurant.  What, you say?  I tried to explain this to a few people after I went to it, with little success.  Basically, the chef and crew travel around to different parts of a city or even the country and open a restaurant.  After a time, they pack it up again and “pop-up” somewhere else.  It’s pretty cool especially to mix it up for the Chef so things don’t get boring.  I really respect this chef because after working in high-end dining for years, he decided he wanted to make food that anyone could afford.  Not necessary for him to do that, but I still think it speaks to his desire to care for every kind of person, regardless of their bank account numbers.

I love to give my camera to my kids and see what they see as interesting.

Photos by My baby girl:




Photos by my little buddy:

I actually like this one.



This was his feeling about the setting in general.

Back to mine again…

We ate delicious chicken pepittes, which are prepared over three days.  They are boneless chicken balls, infused with rosemary and fried.  You can choose from many house-made sauces, including béarnaise.  I ordered a few of the lavender biscuits with honey.  MMM.


Little Bean preferred the BBQ sauce…only.


Filled to the brim with people!


The only reason we snagged a  great seat is because we were willing to rough it on the hard ground with no blanket.  It wasn’t too hot, so it worked fine for us.

He saw them setting up.

Great day…despite the crying, $3 bottles of water, lack of hands to hold a beer, walking a mile from the far far far parking lot and no extra hands to  help.  I would still do again :)  Maybe I’ll plan ahead next time and invite someone!


“Snips and Snails and puppy dog tails”

Roast Chicken stuffed with summer, freshness on the side

One of my very favorite things to cook is roast chicken.  It’s one of the few things I enjoy making over and over again, the same.  For this version, I wanted to mix the flava’ up a little.

My oregano is so overgrown so I decided to use that along with some lemon thyme for the butter rub.

First preheat the oven to 425.  You can chop up whatever herbs you happen to have and add them to 1 stick of softened butter. Mix.

Inside the chicken cavity, put the aromatics shown above.  The goal here is just pump some flavor into the meat as the ingredients are steamed inside.

Salt and pepper the chicken and rub the outside with butter.  I REALLY don’t like to look at pictures of raw meat but wanted to show how the bacon gets laid out on top next.  I’m so thankful our local Trader Joes store started carrying the uncured bacon only.  So nice.

Cook the chicken until the temperature reaches 165.  When you get to about 140 degrees, take the bacon off and let the chicken brown.  Normally, “they” say to tuck those wings underneath, but I was being lazy.  Oh well.  It tasted the same.

Summer Roast Chicken

1 whole free-range organic chicken

1 orange, halved

1 red onion, halved

1 head of garlic

6 sprigs of herbs, whole

1 stick of butter

3 T. fresh herbs, chopped (I used thyme and oregano)

1 lb./ package bacon

… … … … … …

Some lovely and EASY side dishes I’ve been serving lately are:

Sautéed English green peas with bacon.  Trader Joes carries these peas seasonally, but you have to ask for fresh ones from the back if you want them to last more than 5 minutes.  They get slimy super-fast.

Polenta with thyme.

Roasted asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  I eat these like french fries.

Grill some market-fresh summer veggies.

Creamed corn.  One of my favorites.

Gnocchi sautéed with garlic and rosemary.

Charred Tomato and Apricot Salsa

Last year,  the canned item I got the greatest response to (besides pickles, of course) was salsa.  It seems that salsa speaks to everyone.  The cool thing about salsa is you can basically make it however you want.  I have a “gringo” tongue so it’s pretty abnormal that I would even stick a jalapeno in it at all…hehe.  What?  You think I make tomato soup, not salsa, eh?  To each his own, I guess.

So, turn some music on before you start this recipe and enjoy…

Start with whatever you feel like throwing in.  My sister and I chose local heirloom tomatoes, red peppers from my garden, jalapeno, red onions, garlic, and local apricots.


I roasted the peppers and tomatoes together.  In another pan, I roasted the onions and garlic.  The tomato group I drizzled with olive oil and broiled for about 10 minutes or until the are charred :).  The onion group I drizzled as well, added salt and pepper, and roasted for 45 minutes.  I had a lot of onions so you might only need to roast a small batch for 20 minutes.  The apricots I did the same as the tomatoes.  Again, if you are making a small batch, you could probably fit it all on the same roasting pan.


After the charring and roasting, we blended both until evenly chopped to our desired consistency.  For me, I wanted something that wasn’t pureed but not too thick.  You know, the kind of salsa where you scoop it and it stays on, chunks aren’t falling off. but it’s not dripping.


My sister in her awesome apron she made from a not quite as awesome men’s shirt.


Chop up the cilantro and toss it in.  Salt and pepper the salsa while you’re at it.

That looks much better now.  Cook the salsa until it is simmering, then cook for 10 minutes longer.


Fill the jars with a 1/2 inch head-space and process them for 10 minutes.


You have to work quickly and only fill as many jars as you will be putting in the pot.  The average stockpot will fit 6 half-pint and 4 pint size jars.


We were super happy with the results and immediately broke out the chips!

Christmas presents?

Charred Tomato and Apricot Salsa

6 heirloom tomatoes

1 red pepper

1 jalapeno

4 apricots

1 red onion

1 head of garlic (yes, I really love garlic)

1 T cilantro

olive oil, for roasting

salt and pepper, to taste

Share with friends and if there could be a pool or beach that would be perfect.

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