from the kitchen: shrubs

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Oftentimes in the summer season we find ourselves with a bumper crop of beautiful fruit that is so very ripe it must be put to use that instant.  It’s a wonderful dilemma to have – and one that’s led to the delicious addition of in-house shrubs to our line up at the girl & the fig and fig cafe.

A little history – shrubs originated as a food preservation technique that dates back to the days before refrigeration.  To prolong the life of ripe fruits, adding them to a crock with a good amount of sugar would transform them within a few weeks to vinegar.  This vinegar, though, has the bright, fragrant fruit flavors and could be better described as a vinegar “syrup.”

As Serious Eats better puts it, “a proper shrub has a flavor that’s both tart and sweet, so it stimulates the appetite while quenching thirst.”

Without further ado, the girl & the fig’s take on the traditional shrub:

Ingredients:

  • 3 pints fresh blackberries or figs
  • 3 cups red wine vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water

Instructions:

Thoroughly wash fruit and pat dry.

Add to vessel of your choice (glass or plastic, not metal) and pour vinegar over fruit.  Cover and place in refrigerator for two days.

After two days, combine sugar and water in a saucepan and slowly stir until sugar is completely dissolved.

Combine all ingredients in a large blender (or blend in batches) and puree well.  Pour mixture through a sieve and return to the refrigerator for long term storage.

 

from the kitchen: Brussels sprout kimchi

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Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs. Brussels sprouts
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 Tbs. fresh garlic, crushed
  • 2 bunches of scallions (approximately 6-8)
  • 4 oz. good quality sea salt
  • 3 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 4 Tbs. clam juice
  • 2 Tbs. coriander seeds*
  • 2 Tbs. fennel seeds*
  • 2 tsp. chili flakes
  • 1 wide mouth canning jar (with lid)

Directions:

Thinly slice Brussels, yellow onion and scallions; combine in large mixing bowl

Sprinkle salt over chopped vegetables and massage leaves until they begin to soften and release liquid; add enough water to the bowl to cover and place a heavy plate or dish on top in order to fully submerge; allow to stand at room temperature for a minimum of one hour

Transfer slaw to colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water; allow to drain for 20 minutes

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl combine garlic, soy, fish sauce, clam juice, coriander seeds, fennels seeds, and chili flakes; whisk thoroughly

After 20 minutes, gently squeeze any remaining water from chopped vegetables and return them to your large bowl; add seasoning brine; work ingredients together until leaves are completely coated

Pack the entire contents into the jar; be sure to press kimchi so that it is fully submerged in the brine, with at least one inch of headspace to allow room for fermentation/expansion

Cover the jar with cheese cloth (secured with a rubber band) and ferment for 3-5 days; check kimchi at least once a day, pressing contents down with the handle of a clean spoon to be sure that they remain well below the liquid line

When kimchi is actively bubbling and aged to taste, transfer jar to fridge for storage; kimchi may consumed immediately or aged for a week (or more) before use


*We recommend toasting your spices for the most robust flavor, however this is an optional step.

from the kitchen: kimchi

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In preparation for the return of Ramen nights, our chefs have been tooling (and retooling) some of our favorite fermented condiments.  Today, it’s Kimchi!

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. Napa cabbage, outer leaves removed
  • 8 oz. Daikon radish (approximately 1 bunch), thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches of scallions (approximately 6-8), chopped
  • 2 Tbs. fresh garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbs. fresh ginger root, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbs. chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup clam juice
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 wide mouth canning jar (with lid)

Directions:

Quarter and core cabbage heads, roughly chop

In a large bowl, sprinkle salt over chopped cabbage and massage leaves until they begin to soften and release liquid; add enough water to the bowl to cover cabbage leaves and place a heavy plate or dish on top in order to fully submerge them; allow to stand at room temperature for a minimum of one hour

Transfer cabbage to colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water; allow to drain for 20 minutes

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl combine garlic, ginger, sugar, and clam juice and whisk thoroughly

After 20 minutes, gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage leaves and return them to your large bowl; add to this the radish, scallions, and seasoning brine; work ingredients together until leaves are completely coated

Pack the entire contents into the jar; be sure to press kimchi so that it is fully submerged in the brine, with at least one inch of headspace to allow room for fermentation/expansion

Cover the jar with cheese cloth (secured with a rubber band) and ferment for 3-5 days; check kimchi at least once a day, pressing contents down with the handle of a clean spoon to be sure that they remain well below the liquid line

When kimchi is actively bubbling and aged to taste, transfer jar to fridge for storage; kimchi may consumed immediately or aged for a week (or more) before use

Insider Guide to Locals’ Favorite Sonoma Restaurants | Sonoma Wine Country Dining Best Sonoma Restaurants

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There are two distinct personalities to the town of Sonoma. One is the tourist face, with a carefully cultivated shabby-chic, gentleman farmer vibe that matches its historic mission, wineries and Old West past. Charm abounds, and there are plenty of white tablecloth, high dollar restaurants to accommodate luxe tastes.

But simmering just below is the true Sonoma, a tight-knit community that includes the rest of us — the people who work in the tasting rooms and restaurants, at the Sonoma Speedway, behind desks and in firehouses. This diverse gathering of native Californians, immigrants, retirees, artisans and small business owners makes for a vibrant, (mostly) affordable food scene that most visitors breeze past.

We’re pulling back the cover on the Sonoma restaurants where townies really eat: From favorite happy hours and taco trucks to insiders-only recommendations for where to get a great cup of coffee or a family breakfast. We’re also including a few tips on getting some great bites at the higher-end spots, whether that’s a happy hour special, or a dish that won’t cost a mint.

Source: Insider Guide to Locals’ Favorite Sonoma Restaurants | Sonoma Wine Country Dining Best Sonoma Restaurants

Suite D & Corner 103 presents: A 1920’s Murder Mystery Dinner to Die For

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Saturday, October 29th from 6:30-9:30 pm, join us for an evening of murderous mayhem at your favorite local speakeasy, Suite D.

Suite D and Corner 103 are partnering together to create a 1920’s murder mystery to die for, complete with a four course meal and wine pairings. Guys grab your fedoras & pinstriped suits and gals break out your best flapper dresses & feather boas!

Throughout the evening, guests will work to uncover a murder at Suite D. Could it be the jealous lovers, a rival Mafioso, or a pair of undercover feds? Get your tickets now for an evening of food, wine and murderous fun!

MENU

Passed hors d’oeuvres
marinated feta and olive skewers
baked mussels, garlic herb bread crumbs
blinis with crème fraiche and local caviar

seared day boat scallop
roasted fennel, celeriac puree, pistachio pistou

smoked short ribs
fall squash, kale, pearl onions, gremolata

abbaye de belloc
candied mustard seed, quince

chocolate tart
raspberry coulis, mascarpone cream, almond tuile


Tickets and more info at figsuited.com!