July 28, 2016

Fig Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese

First off, you should know these are not really figs. They are wigs. Because when my roommates first picked them off the neighbor's tree, the name was their way around the law (that doesn't really exist).

More importantly, one of them invented this wondrous combination of sliced sweet figs with creamy goat cheese, sweet-savory caramelized onions, nutty walnuts, and the magical aroma of rosemary. And most importantly, late summer is the time to make this happen because that's when you find figs in season.
Last year, I found myself in a particular conundrum. The brilliant creator of the fig pizza had moved out. No fig pizza was just appearing in my oven. So I had to take matters into my own hands.
It just so happened to be on a night where no one was home after a season of spending lots of time with people. And can I tell you how wondrous it was to create a fig pizza alone (since I had to do it myself and all)? It might not be exactly to the creator's specifications, but I still found it brilliantly delicious. And it brought me back to the day of the wigs, and all the subsequent pizza baking that was shared with their harvesters.
And it got dark outside, and my kitchen lighting killed the photo compared to the others.

 Cheers to fig pizzas that are almost as wondrous as the memories that are paired with them!

July 18, 2016

How to Make a Simple Yet Awesome Recipe Booklet

The end of a life season has a certain power to make my tear ducts drizzle with emotion, even though I claim to not be much of a crier. That's when I whip out words on paper to commemorate the significance of it to those I shared it with. Usually it's in a card, but this time it was in a little recipe book project.

You see, there once was a group of budding editors, fresh out of school, who tried to "make it" in the dreamy world of lifestyle magazines. Our common bond? Potlucks. These were not affairs of rotisserie chickens, store-bought cookies, and a six pack, mind you. They were themed with each participant contributing a coordinating dish to make for a feast that impressed us in all our food editor-ness every time. And it was always homemade.

Although our careers took different paths and sent us to new parts of town, the potlucks didn't stop. There were tamale parties at Christmas, backyard barbecues in the summer, Downton Abbey watching feasts in the bleak midwinter, brunches just because, and always, always a fall party with a pumpkin stuffed full of a rice-and-ground-beef casserole-like concoction.

Eventually, there came lunches to celebrate engagements and talk of what will happen when things change, when some of us were planning to move away.
That's when I sent out the email, and the recipes started flooding in. We had to have the pumpkin of course, and the corn salad we all remembered from the barbecue. Bri's famous brownies and artichoke dip were musts. And along came some of our favorites that might not have made for potlucks but we thought should be shared.

And so when wedding time came for two of these ladies, two weeks apart, I bought them a gift off the registry of course. But more importantly, I packed up a flip book of words and photos that are as much about the memories and life shared together as they are about ingredients and procedures, and the extra copies went to the single ladies who compiled, edited, and shared their test kitchen secrets (shout out to the food editor and test kitchen professional among us!) because it's not like we were going to be left out.

I made a more time-intensive, fancily published family cookbook on Blurb a few years back, but this time a took a simpler route. Here's how: