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Hazelnut & Fig Financiers

Recipe: Hazelnut & Fig Financiers (adapted from Melissa Clark on NY Times)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), and additional for greasing the pan
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
12 cup toasted hazelnuts(or hazelnut flour)
1/3 all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon(for hazelnuts)
Pinch of salt
4 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe figs

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt butter, letting it cook gently until it turns nut brown and smells toasted, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

In a food processor, add hazelnuts and 1 tablespoon of flour. Pulse until it resembles a coarse meal(do not let it turn into butter!).

In a large bowl, combine sugar, hazelnut flour, 1/3 cup all-purpose flour and salt. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and set on low speed (or use a whisk and a strong arm), beat in egg whites until flour mixture is damp. Add browned butter(do not scrape up any black bits from the bottom of the pot) and beat on medium-high speed (or vigorously by hand) until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in vanilla.

Trim stems off figs and slice each one crosswise into 3 rounds; you will have 9 fig rounds. Eat one. :)

Butter and flour nine 1/2-cup muffin cups. Divide batter between cups and top each with a slice of fig. Bake until financiers are golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before unmolding gently.

Pastrami Smoked Salmon with Scrambled Eggs on Cream Cheese Toast

Summer Fruit and Yogurt with Hazelnuts

I'm taking full advantage of our brief fig season here in Northern California. Go pick yourself some super ripe, busting-at-the-seams types, if you can. Use them quickly! They're full of honey-like sweetness and delicious over a simple bowl of greek yogurt. I also picked up some hot pink pluots last weekend. Aren't they absolutely gorgeous? Nothing like a colorful and simple breakfast for a weekday morning.

Acorn Squash Egg-in-the-Hole

Who else is craving those classic Fall flavors already? It's hands down my favorite season not just for the food but the weather and mood just makes me happy. This squash recipe will have to suffice in the meantime. :) Countdown to Fall begins now(T-Minus 36 days!).

Recipe: Acorn Squash Egg-in-the-Hole 
Roast 1-inch slices of seeded acorn squash with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through. I used some leftover squash from my roast chicken dinner the night before--FYI.

Once fork tender, crack an egg in the hole, season with salt and pepper, and return to a 350 degree oven for another 8-10 minutes(or until the whites are just set). I served mine with a dusting of pecorino cheese and crusty bread. Some crumbled bacon or pancetta would also be a delicious topping.

Caramelized Onion, Ham, & Feta Quiche

Recipe: Caramelized Onion, Ham, & Feta Quiche (serves 6-8)
1 prepared pie crust(I cheated and used store bought)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 zucchini, grated
3 oz ham, any type will do, cubed or cut into small pieces
3 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pie dough into your pan(I used a 12 inch tart pan), press dough into sides, and cut off excess at the top. Poke several holes in the bottom of the dough to let air escape. Par-bake in oven for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

While the pie crust is baking, heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Over medium high heat, cook onions until soft and slightly caramelized(slowly). Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Caramelizing onions takes longer than you think--about 12-15 minutes until they are sweated down, stirring frequently. I sometimes add a splash of water to help this process.

Next, add your eggs, flour, baking powder, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until combined. Add grated zucchini, ham, and caramelized onions then pour into your tart shell. Top with feta cheese crumbles.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until center is just set. Let cool for at least 10 minutes prior to eating.