Category Archives: Food Adventures

Free things. Figs!

I love figs in any form: fresh, dried, roasted, jammed, or newton.

The other day I started to notice all the fig trees in Isla Vista. Judging by all the fruit on the ground, other people must not notice them either.

I picked 3 lb off one tree alone.

At one point while standing on a top branch, I found myself at eye-level with a guy brushing his teeth on the second floor of an apartment. Luckily, Isla Vista home to stranger sights than a girl sitting in your tree and eating figs.

No special shopping required, I whipped this jam out with what was on hand and some thrift-ed mason jars.

Right now, I should be doing homework, or working, or getting some sleep or cleaning or whatever.

But all I would like to do is make some extra spicy gingersnaps to eat with this jam.
Or some goat cheese.
Or some ice cream.

Fig Balsamic Jam
Check the ingredients of your balsamic vinegar, it should only say “balsamic vinegar”. If you try to cook down fake ingredients you could end up with really gross jammy black goop.

3 lb figs, quartered
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1 lemon (juice and zest)

1/2-pint mason jars- I filled 6

Cook all ingredients except lemon over medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until thick and jammy. Stir in lemon zest and juice and cook for another 5 minutes.

Seal in hot mason jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.



Filed under Food Adventures, Food in Jars, Sweet Things

Days alone: Potstickers

Some days I just want to be alone.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to spend time with friends and family. I’ll throw parties and talk your ear off if you’d let me.

But I also like to be quiet. To ride my bike, pick flowers, do laundry, get coffee, and notice different shades of lip prints on other people’s cups.

I like to sit beneath lemon trees.

I savor these days. They are not extraordinary or spectacular, they are small and laced with stray thoughts and dreams.

On a day like that I made some potstickers.

I could fold all 40 without a hungry belly watching and waiting.

Kale and Smoked Tofu Potstickers
I used a tea-smoked tofu from a local company called TofuYu. Any drained and smoked tofu would be fine.

2 TBS cooking oil (I used grapeseed)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS minced ginger
2 cups kale, stems removed and chopped
1 medium carrot, finely shredded
3 TBS soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 cup smoked and drained tofu, finely cubed
1 lightly beaten egg
1 package of wanton wrappers (you need around 40)
small amount of oil for cooking

Heat oil and garlic in a skillet until garlic is softened. Add kale and ginger and wilt for about 3 minute. Cool

In a large bowl, fold together kale, carrot, soy sauce, cilantro, chives, and tofu. Fold in beaten egg.

set out a large workspace to fill the dumplings. You will need two damp kitchen towels to cover the wrappers  and the filled potstickers to keep them from drying out while working.
Lay one wonton wrapper out and wet all edges with your finger. fill with a teaspoon-ish of filling and pull all sides together as shown above. Push all the air out you can.

Repeat until all wrappers are filled.*

To cook, heat a sticky pan** with just a tiny amount of oil brushed on the bottom. Heat until water dances when it hits the pan and then add 8-10 potstickers.

Cook for 2 minutes without touching the dumplings. Add 1/3 cup of water and quickly lid. Cook for another 3 mintues with the lid off.

Remove and serve imminently.

* You can also freeze them beautifully at this point. Lay the dumplings out on a cookie sheet and, when frozen, put in a ziplock bag.

**as in the opposite of a non-stick pan. You need the stick for potSTICKERS



Filed under Entrées, Food Adventures

These are the places you will find me hiding

Another trip home and I finished the film that was sitting in my camera. I forgot when it was last used, so when the pictures came back I was surprised to see they all seemed like a continuous event. Though the first half was from last summer, most of the pictures from each time frame were of my friend Brianna, a sunny creek, and blackberries. Haha.
I guess that just shows what summer means to me.

I am from a very small town. Maybe you have stopped there once to get gas on your way to Yosemite. Maybe you saw the historic talking bear. Its voice box is broken and the paint peels off t he fiberglass a little, but it is not a joke.
Don’t laugh.

Oakhurst has lots of:
Gas stations: “Last stop before Yosemite valley!”
Churches: 20 in Oakhurst alone. (Makes for great thrift stores though)
Gossip: Let me tell you about the 4 “E”s of living in a small town

Everyone knows Everything about Everybody Else.

Apart from these, there is a movie theater, a bowling alley, and one coffee shop (a real one at least). That meant we made our own adventures.

To be honest, I haven’t been to Yosemite all that much. Most of the time we were in the surrounding Sierras discovering logging flumes, hot springs, and blackberry patches. In the late nights with new licenses we climbed on top of random buildings and watched the stars.

We were just kids who held onto pride with nervous fingers and watched tourists marvel over a small town we thought we owned.

I don’t think I’ll ever live there permanently, but the blackberry-apple summers and warm nights tug at parts of me that I forget I still have. I’ll always be a country girl. I’ve caught spiders and swam in rivers alone. I dreamt of the big city but now that I’m here it’s hard not to miss the place I came from.

At home I made a Black/Straw-Berry Crumble sweetened only with  two tablespoons of honey. Unfortunately that was the only part I measured, so no recipe today.


*The title of this post comes from “Down in the Valley” by The Head and the Heart

1 Comment

Filed under Food Adventures, Sweet Things