I often think, I'm taking all this time to photograph a meal I have never eaten before. What if once I taste it, I don't like it -- time wasted! But instead I am wondering... will figs still be available to me in the coming weeks so I can make this ...


Farro Salad with Kale, Figs, and Goat Cheese and more...

Farro Salad with Kale, Figs, and Goat Cheese

     I often think, I'm taking all this time to photograph a meal I have never eaten before.  What if once I taste it, I don't like it -- time wasted But instead I am wondering... will figs still be available to me in the coming weeks so I can make this salad over and over again?
     My husband started on his salad long before I did mine, and I was probably rolling my eyes when he kept telling me how good it was.  I usually put a lot more effort into our evening meals and thought this might be his way of telling me -- I like a good lunch; make a hearty salad more often But it didn't take me long once I started eating to agree with him and wonder... who do I thank first?  Sylvia Fountaine for the recipe?  Trader Joe's for the beautiful figs I've had trouble locating all summer?  Cypress Grove for my favorite goat cheese, Humboldt Fog?  Actually, I probably made this salad because I have more kale in my garden than I know what to do with...  So, thanks, Eileen!

     It all comes down to the ingredients.  Purchase the freshest figs that are firm and wrinkle free.  Toast the farro grains in a dry pan for about 2 minutes before you add the water.  Bypass the logs of goat cheese and get some Humboldt Fog by Cypress Grove -- you will love it!  Most of the groceries around me sell the Humboldt Fog for $29.00./lb.  COSTCO has Humboldt Fog at $17.00/lb.  I hope they never discontinue carrying it because I will always continue to buy it. 

     I've been thinking long and hard lately about the future of LivingTastefully.  This fall it will be 10 years since I started my blog.  Back then, there weren't many food blogs compared to the number there are now worldwide.  Is LivingTastefully even relevant any longer?  Several people I have mentioned this to seemed very disappointed. I really appreciate everyone that has followed LivingTastefully over the years. The one comment that has stayed with me (and I do not remember the exact words) was, "It's still relavent.  We all need beauty, style, and good taste", (was that close A. R.?).  Knowing it means a lot to someone else, means a lot to me.  Maybe all I needed was a little time off.  There are just so many other things I want to do, but I suppose I can do a little of each.  As of now, I will continue with L.T and see where it goes...

Farro Salad with Kale, Figs and Goat Cheese
recipe by Sylvia Fountaine, adapted

• 1  1/2 cups cooked farro
• 2 large handfuls of chopped lacinato kale
• 4 figs, sliced
• 2-3 tablespoons chopped, toasted walnuts
• 2  2-ounce slices goat cheese, preferably Humboldt Fog

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons balsamic
• 2 teaspoons maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1.  Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl
2.  Divide farro among two bowls.
3.  In a mixing bowl, massage lacinato kale to tenderize it with a pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil until coated and pliable, about 1-2 minutes.
4.  Divide kale among the bowls.  Top with the figs and the goat cheese.  Spoon the dressing over the farro, figs, and kale.  Sprinkle with the walnuts.  Serve with some good, crusty bread!



end-of-summer Peach and Raspberry Galette

     There are still fresh peaches in the grocery stores.  Go buy several and make this galette.  It's the best dessert I've baked this summer...

Peach Raspberry Galette

   recipe from Martha Stewart
• 1 disk Galette Dough (recipe below)
• 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for parchment
• 2 1/2 pounds peaches (about 5), halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• Pinch of coarse salt
• 3/4 cup plus 1-2 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
• 6 ounces fresh raspberries
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1/4 cup sliced almonds
• 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
• 1 cup plain yogurt or full-fat sour cream
1.  Roll the galette dough to an 18-inch round on lightly floured parchment.
2.  Combine peaches, lemon juice, flour, salt, and 3/4 cup granulated sugar.  Gently stir in the raspberries and mound the mixture in the middle of the pastry, leaving a 3-inch border.  Dot the top of the fruit mixture with butter.  Pleat the edges of the pastry around the fruit filling and brush pastry with eggs wash.  Sprinkle with almond and turbinado sugar.  Slide the galette and parchment onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
3.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Bake galette 30 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake until pastry is golden and juices are bubbling, another 30 minutes (or more, depending on your oven).  Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours.
4.  Stir together yogurt or sour cream and remaining 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for serving.

NOTE:  If there is a hole or crack in the dough, you will have seepage of juices.  Using a spoon, occasionally scoop up juices and drizzle over the fruit while baking.

•  2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
•  2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon coarse salt
• 1 teaspoon sugar

• 1/2 cup ice water
1.  Place about 3/4 of the butter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until hard (about 30 minutes).  Meanwhile, refrigerate remaining butter.
2.  Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor.  Add refrigerated butter and pulse to combine.  Add frozen butter and pulse until mixture is coarse with some pea-size pieces. 
3.  Slowly, add ice water while pulsing.  You may not need all of the water.  Squeeze a small amount of dough to make sure it holds together.  Add more water and pulse a few more times, if necessary.
4.  Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap.  Bring edges of plastic together and gather dough, pressing into a mass.  Form the dough into a 1/2-inch disk, wrap in the plastic and refrigerate at least 45 minutes (and up to 2 days). 



Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread

     Two years ago for Father's Day, I bought my husband two raspberry bushes.  He planted them at the back of our yard, next to the strawberries and behind the raised vegetable beds.  I've honestly forgotten about them until this summer, since they're shielded by the tuteurs that hold my tomatoes. Several weeks ago he told me how he needed to build a 6 foot grid frame to support the two plants.  I actually thought that sounded a bit excessive, but I didn't argue (well, maybe a little)... But you know what?  They definitely needed the support of that frame.  They're massive plants.  Now, each morning I go out and pick a pint of raspberries.  I just made a Cherry-Berry Pie (recipe HERE) that is a combination of sweet cherries, blueberries and my garden raspberries.  Tomorrow there's going to be a raspberry cake.  And if they continue to produce berries until the fall, there will be many more raspberry recipes ahead.
     The other day, we were just eating the raspberries as is, with a little pastry sauce drizzled over.  I thought a little shortbread cookie would be perfect with the berries. 

   • recipe from the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook •
• 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 cup pecan pieces
• Pinch of salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1.  Grind the flour, pecans, and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade to a fine powder.  Set aside.
2.  Using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, cream the butter and sugar.  When the mixture is very smooth and creamy, mix in the pecan mixture.
3.  Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
4.  Preheat oven to 300˚F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
5.  Roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface.  Cut into shapes with a 1-inch cookie cutter.  Gather up the scraps, reroll, and cut into as many cookies as possible.  Place on the prepared cookie sheets and bake until colored, 20 to 25 minutes.



Summer Panzanella Salad

     This Summer Panzanella Salad was perfect for dinner last night.  I'll be making it often while stone fruits and garden tomatoes are available.

recipe for Summer Panzanella shared by The Judy Lab

• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into half
• 1 large shallot, finely sliced on a mandoline
• 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• Flaky sea salt
• Cracked black pepper
• 1 small loaf rustic Italian bread, torn or cubed into bite sized pieces (I used a baguette)
• 2 peaches, or any stone fruit, pitted and finely sliced
• 1 cup sliced strawberries
• 1/4 cup chiffonade of basil, plus additional sprigs of fresh basil for garnish
1.  Preheat oven to 375˚F.  Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.  In a large bowl, gently toss together tomatoes, shallots, garlic, red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  Set aside.
3.  Place bread in a bowl and drizzle well with olive oil.  Fold bread cubes with a rubber spatula to distribute olive oil all over the bread.  Add additional oil if bread seems at all dry.  Spread the bread in an even layer on the sheet pan and season with salt and pepper.  Bake until golden brown and crispy.  Set aside to cool.
4.  Add peaches, strawberries, chiffonade of basil and toasted croutons to the tomato mixture.  Gently fold together.  Top with sea salt, black pepper and additional basil.  Serve at room temperature.  
NOTE:  Croutons can be made in advance. 



Salade de Chévre Chaud + a garden tour

     Salade de Chévre Chaud, or warm goat cheese salad, is one of my favorite meals when in France.  And it's something I don't make nearly enough when at home.  But with a garden spilling over in lettuces and a log of French chévre in the refrigerator, it seemed a natural choice for my mid-day meal. 

     My salad was very basic -- just my fresh garden lettuces, the breaded goat cheese disks and a vinaigrette made with my best olive oil and minced fresh tarragon from the garden.  It really didn't need anything more.  But I've eaten this salad many times with tomatoes, walnuts and lardons, as well.  You can make it what you want it to be. 

     To make the salad...  Cut disks of goat cheese about 1/2-inch thick.  (I use sewing thread to slice my cheese to avoid crumbling of the goat cheese. )  I plan two slices of goat cheese per salad serving.  Dip the disks of goat cheese into a beaten egg, covering the disks completely.  Fill a shall bowl with fine, fresh bread crumbs.  Add the disks to the crumbs, turning gently until both sides and edges of the goat cheese are lightly coated with the crumbs.  Place the breaded disks on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350ˆF until the bottom of the disks have turned a gold brown.  Flip the disks and bake a bit longer, until bottoms again are golden.  Toss lettuces with vinaigrette.  For my vinaigrette (enough for two servings), I mixed about 3/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and some minced fresh tarragon with equal amounts of red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Divide dressed lettuces between two plate and top each salad with two disks of the baked goat cheese.  Add additional (and optional) ingredients of toasted walnuts, tomatoes and bacon, if desired. 

     There have been a few additions to our vegetable garden.  This spring we planted a Honey Crisp apple espalier which was placed at the back of our yard and vegetable gardens.  The grape vines crawling on our fence were pruned back to frame the espalier. 

     We also planted two sour cherry trees that were not purchased as espaliers.  If you desire to train fruit trees as espaliers, it is ideal to purchase the plant as a bare root whip. We, however, purchased young trees and are, for that reason, very limited in what we will be able to achieve.  Our cherry trees will be fanned espaliers instead of the more traditional espaliers of horizontal branches.  When we finally got around to the initial trimming of branches this spring, the trees had dropped their white blooms and were covered with tiny green cherries.  Truly, between the two trees I would have had enough fruit for a sour cherry double crust pie (sigh...).  My husband and I traded off clipping of the branches because it was too painful seeing the cherries fall to the ground.  I was also informed yesterday by a friend, who is also a residential landscaper, that it's every other year when you receive a bountiful crop of cherries from your trees.  I took that to mean that I probably won't be making that sour cherry double crust pie next year, either...


I think my nick-name could be, "Basil Farmer"


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