Summer Is On The Way, And So Is The Stone Fruit!

Nectarine Coffee Cake

May is almost through and Summer is so close! At the market this past weekend, I was caught by the pleasant aroma of some nectarines… stone fruit and summer, what a combination! I know it’s likely too early for the nectarines to be local, but I had to scoop them up! They proved to be as delicious as they were fragrant, and I became nostalgic for recipes that could put their sweet, delicious character on display. I was reminded of the first class I taught at the Fullerton Arboretum, where Jonathan Davis and I made a lovely coffee cake using plums. Continue reading “Summer Is On The Way, And So Is The Stone Fruit!”

Strawberry & Lavender Hand Pie Recipe (Seasonal & Sophisticated Entertaining Class Recap)

Thanks so much to everyone that attended our 4/23 Thursday In The Kitchen class at the Fullerton Arboretum! The above photos highlight some of the dishes created! We had a great time reconnecting with so many familiar faces and meeting a few new friends. Please keep reading to access the promised recipe for those delicious Strawberry Lavender Hand Pies. If you enjoyed the class, consider signing up for some of our upcoming classes and bringing along a friend! Classes for May through September are open for registration through the Arboretum’s website: www.fullertonarboretum.com – click on “Register for Classes” and then look for “Thursdays in the Kitchen.”  Continue reading “Strawberry & Lavender Hand Pie Recipe (Seasonal & Sophisticated Entertaining Class Recap)”

Sweet and Savory: Rosemary Pine-Nut Cookies

Perfect Rosemary Pinenut cookies, fresh from the oven. An essential sweet & savory dessert!

Back from a recent dinner at Pizzeria Mozza in Newport Beach, we were stuffed with blessed satisfaction from too many great dishes on the menu.  To top off the amazing salume, antipasto, salads and pizza we enjoyed, was their signature Butterscotch Budino, served with delectable tiny cookies on the side, a salty accompaniment to the sweet custard.  As full as we were, the cookies caught our attention!  The cookies sported a base of sweet-salty polenta shortbread, topped with a pine nut nougat studded with vanilla beans, and perfumed with needles of fresh rosemary.

Continue reading “Sweet and Savory: Rosemary Pine-Nut Cookies”

Celebrating Root Vegetables: White Winter Soup

Happy (belated) New Year from OurLocaltopia!  We are back on duty to post content that compels us (and that we hope will compel you) to shop local, cook seasonally, and to have fun and celebrate everything around us.  We look forward to a great 2014 and to creating new friends, connections, neighbors, and inspiring content!

Though January is nearly through, winter still dominates the selection at the markets. Continue reading “Celebrating Root Vegetables: White Winter Soup”

Jonathan Duffy Davis’ Pickled Green Beans: Recipe and Method

Ingredients for pickled green beans

Most vegetables are takers but bean give back. Along with the rest of the legumes beans have formed an amazing symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria (Rhizobium). These bacteria that call the roots of legumes home are capable of taking the inert nitrogen gas (n2) that constitutes almost 80% of every breath that we take and turning it into a form of nitrogen that plants can use. Nitrogen is the most limiting nutrient to plant growth in the garden. The more nitrogen your soil contains, the better your garden will grow. Thus, beans nourish not only the gardener but the garden as well. Continue reading “Jonathan Duffy Davis’ Pickled Green Beans: Recipe and Method”

Seasonal Tomato Preserves!

Gather some backyard tomatoes...

Tomatoes are in abundance this time of year, and they never fail to come center-stage at our tables as the heat and light of summer presses on.  This week, we featured a recipe in our cooking class at the Fullerton Arboretum that highlighted some additional potential of the summer tomato: tomato preserves.  It’s not that the idea of a preserved tomato is new – far from it.  But the simplicity with which these particular summer tomatoes are preserved, and the great ingredients added to them that make them sparkle even greater, well, is just magic. Read on for the full recipe and browse the photos of the process in this post’s gallery… Continue reading “Seasonal Tomato Preserves!”

Figs and Fresh Ricotta: Watch & Eat!

We promised it was on the way, and now here it is! Enjoy our brief video tutorial on making homemade ricotta cheese and pairing it with grilled bread, local honey and fresh figs. This delightful snack can be enjoyed as an appetizer, as part of a tapas style menu or even for dessert. Figs are bountiful and delicious this time of year, so take advantage of what’s in season, and try it out! We think you’re going to love it! And read on for the text version of our fresh ricotta recipe… Continue reading “Figs and Fresh Ricotta: Watch & Eat!”

Inspiration in Simple Ingredients, for a Simple Sunday Meal

This past week, amid the buildup to the 4th of July holiday, family gatherings and time spent with friends, Our Localtopia was at work putting a video together featuring fresh local figs paired with homemade ricotta.  We gathered in my kitchen to film and make ricotta cheese; creamy, warm and decadent.  It had been a while since I had made homemade ricotta, and our video shoot reminded me how just a few simple ingredients, thoughtfully prepared, truly come together to make a great dish.  A dish that is at once completely homey, and at once truly sophisticated.  Pure ingredients allowed to shine in their own radiant light — creating harmony on a dinner plate. Continue reading “Inspiration in Simple Ingredients, for a Simple Sunday Meal”

Making Pâté with Alicia Hitchcock and Jonathan Dye – THE VIDEO!

Alicia Hitchcock of Alicia’s Cookery and Catering in Brea, CA recently invited us into her kitchen to learn how to make a simple country pâté. She suggested that we film the process so she could share it with her friends and customers. So take a look and get inspired! Alicia makes it look easy… and guess what? It is! Pâté can be simple, quick to assemble and delicious! Keep reading this post for the full written recipe…

Continue reading “Making Pâté with Alicia Hitchcock and Jonathan Dye – THE VIDEO!”