from the kitchen: vinaigrettes

Even though salad season is all year round, the greens seem to be getting more delicious as it gets hotter out. To get you ready for making your favorite salads, here are a few of our unique salad dressings that you can add to your collection for this summer.

White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Makes 1½ cups

½ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the vinegar and the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until needed. Whisk before using.

 

Spring Onion Vinaigrette
Makes enough for 6 – 8 salads

4 spring onions, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup champagne vinegar
Juice from ½ lemon
¾ cup canola oil
Salt and white pepper to taste

To prepare the vinaigrette: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the onions until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the onions and place them in ice water until cool. Transfer the onions to a blender and add the champagne vinegar and lemon juice. Purée on high speed. Slowly drizzle the oil into the onion mixture until the oil is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate. Whisk before using.

 

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Makes 1½ cups

¼ cup plus
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped Meyer lemon zest
½ medium red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
Salt and white pepper to taste

Combine lemon juice, zest, onion, and parsley in bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The vinaigrette will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Whisk before using.

 

Champagne Vinaigrette
Makes 1 cup

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the vinegar, shallots, mustard, and sugar in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The vinaigrette will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Whisk before using.

more on artichokes

These thorny thistles are the epitome of California agriculture. Any native Californian worth his or her salt knows what to do when an artichoke is put in front of them! California is the source of nearly 100 percent of the U.S. artichoke production. (We can thank the Italian immigrants who settled in Half Moon Bay in the late 19th century and established Monterey County as the U.S. artichoke capital.) While at least 100 varieties of artichokes exist, most of them developed in Italy, the most common variety is the Green Globe. The Green Globe has less prickly spines than other varieties, making it easier to work with—and eat! Two other types are often available in farmers markets: the Purple of Romagna and the Imperial Star.

Eating artichokes does take some practice: removing the edible flesh from the leaves (called bracts) with your teeth, avoiding the fuzzy floret (the choke), and diving into the flavorful heart. They can be eaten hot or cold but they must be cooked.

Artichokes are always popular on the menu. One word of warning for wine lovers: wine does not pair well with artichokes. This is due to a unique organic acid called cynarin present in artichokes, which stimulates sweet receptors on the palate and changes the flavor of the wine—and not for the better. So enjoy your wine and artichokes—just not together.

Click below for a Delicious Grilled Artichoke recipe.

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from the kitchen: artichokes

The Grilled Artichokes on our Plats du Jour at the girl & the fig this week reminded me of this delicious recipe in our last book and that you can never get enough artichokes in spring.

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Braised Baby Artichokes
Serves 6

2 cups dry white wine
½ cup fresh lemon juice
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 sprig fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
5 whole black peppercorns
2 pounds baby artichokes, cleaned and prepped

1 lemon, cut in half
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil

In a large saucepan, combine the white wine, 2 cups water, lemon juice, 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, thyme, parsley, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and bring the poaching liquid to a gentle simmer. Submerge the cleaned artichokes in the liquid and cook until a knife easily pierces the stems, about 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the artichokes with their liquid into a container and let cool. Remove the artichokes from the poaching liquid and set aside. Discard the poaching liquid. Cut the chilled baby artichokes in half.

To serve:
Season the artichokes with the sea salt, black pepper, and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Divide among six chilled plates and garnish with the fresh herbs.

make this now: 20 uses for lavender sea salt

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Our figfood line of condiments came to life as a way for our restaurant guests to take home a little of the “fig love” from our kitchens.

For years, visitors from all over would ask for these recipes to recreate a dish at home that they’d been introduced to at the girl & the fig or the fig cafe.

Now a complete assortment of goodies ranging from house-made shrubs to confits and chutneys are available outside our little sphere; and frequently, recipients of gifted “figfood” items will write and ask what to do with it.

If you’ve recently purchased or received of a gift of Lavender Sea Salt here is a collection of recipes and serving suggestions to enjoy!

  1. To bring out the flavors, sprinkle it on meats before grilling or roasting.
  2. Dust over potatoes or squash – the gentle heat will release an intense lavender aroma.
  3. Enjoy it alongside a grilled lamb chop.  Lavender + lamb is a match made in heaven.
  4. On top of freshly made caramels, for a sweet and salty pairing!
  5. Try it on some popcorn to make it really POP!
  6. On a chocolate pots de creme for pure decadence.
  7. Paired with a maple glaze to pour over buttermilk scones.
  8. In a raw salted lavender chocolate recipe that is as simple as it is delicious!
  9. As a salty rim on a cocktail glass.
  10. Sprinkle it on fresh cut fruit to bring out the fresh, sweet flavors!
  11. White chocolate cookies are always delicious, but mixing in lavender salt makes them even more irresistible.
  12. Garnish it on a plate of Salmon Gravlax to create the perfect party platter.
  13. Top off honey shortbread.
  14. Mix it into blackberry cornbread for an element of surprise.
  15. Tossed with a variety of nuts and olives for a beautiful appetizer!
  16. Sprinkled on top of a dark chocolate and caramel tart.
  17. Used as a rub on salmon.
  18. On top of a honey pie will create a dessert you’ll always want to make!
  19. Tossed with crunchy, just-picked radishes.
  20. Elegant lavender truffles

Do you have a favorite use for lavender salt?  Leave us a note!!

Pernod – Scented Mussels

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Ingredients:
3 pounds mussels
2 tablespoons blended oil
3 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, sliced lengthwise in strips
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups dry white wine
1/4 cup Pernod
2 teaspoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Clean the mussels under cold water, removing the beards and any dirt on the shell, and dry thoroughly.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan and add the leeks and fennel. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute until the leeks start to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mussels and stir well. Add the white wine and Pernod and cover the pan. Cook slowly over medium heat until the mussels start to open up, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid add the herbs and the butter, and cook for 2 more minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed. (Mussels can hold saltwater inside, so be careful not to oversalt.)

Food for thought: Serve the mussels with grilled French bread to soak up the juices!

Serves 6

Enjoy!