With fall rolling in it’s time to shift over to foods of a new season. It’s always exciting to see the year’s first harvest of a new food at the farmers’ market. This week I found bosc pears and nearly flipped my lid with happiness! The sweet, crunchiness of those ugly brown pears makes it truly feel like fall, despite the horrendously hot weather we’re still sweating through here in SoCal. Bosc pears give me hope of a cooler day! Ha! This autumn delight is as easy as can be and fairly healthy when compared to most sugar laden versions of caramelized fruits. We used honey to caramelize the pears instead of sugar which opens up all kinds of infusion possibilities. I used the chile infused honey we made a couple of weeks ago and it added a nice twist of complexity to an otherwise completely sweet dish. Feel free to use the infused honey of your choice and don’t forget to comment and let me know if you have a great infusion combo!

Here she is, your sweet, crunchy start to autumn…

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

  • 1/4 cup honey, we used chile infused honey
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
  • pinch of ground cardamom
  • several large pinches of ground cinnamon
  • plain greek yogurt
  • 2 bosc pears cored and halved lengthwise
  • pomegranate seeds

~Heat honey and butter in a large skillet over low heat, The mixture should bubble a bit but not burn or turn brown.

~ Sprinkle the cuts sides of each pear half with the cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla bean.

~Place each pear half face down in warm honey, swirl the pears around in the skillet to coat evenly, cover with lid and cook until brown (about 4-5 minutes)

~Flip pears over and spoon honey over top. Cover and cook still over low heat for another few minutes.

~Remove and plate pears, drizzle with remaining honey syrup.

~Top pears with a generous dollop of greek yogurt and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds.

ENJOY!!!

food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

This is sort of a new flavor profile for me. I tend to shy away from the spicy stuff and opt for a more savory taste, but sometimes you have to venture out of your comfort zone to try some amazing new things. It’s no secret that infused honey is AMAZING and an easy oh-so-useful way to make a simple, normal dish just a little bit more interesting. Infusing honey couldn’t be any easier so if you’re feeling lazy about the idea, have no fear! Wondering what in the hell you can do with chile infused honey?! You’re not alone, I had no idea either so I started experimenting and will feature a recipe for honey caramelized pears next week that uses this honey. In the meantime, it’s delicious drizzled on yogurt, biscuits (sooooo good on biscuits!!), grilled fruits and even chicken so don’t knock it ’til you rock it!

You can use any type of dried chile pepper you like such as Chipotle chiles for a sweet but hot smokiness or Guajillo chiles for a hot deep flavor. Also, your friends will Oooo and Aaaah at the gorgeous bottle of mystery nectar on your counter;)

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

  • Dried chile peppers, you can use a variety or choose one
  • Honey

~Warm honey in a saucepan over medium heat until liquified. Be careful not to let it scorch!

~Pour honey into a jar over the chiles and let cool to room temperature. Store at room temperature.

ENJOY!

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

It’s always a bit sad when fig season comes to an end. This year it seemed especially brief but I’m not sure if it actually was or if I’m just being a big fig-loving baby! So to celebrate the season before it passes, here is just a simple roasted fig recipe stuffed with soft, crumbly goat cheese and drizzled with lavender and thyme infused honey. The infused honey makes this recipe a little more fragrant and delicious and is definitely worth the extra few minutes to make. If you have some fig recipes near and dear to your heart, please share them with us! There can never be enough uses for figs!

As a side note, a family member recently asked me what figs taste like and wondered if they were similar to prunes (yuck!). I told her that the best way I can describe a good fig is that it has a slightly seedy, soft, full-mouth feeling with a deep and subtle honey flavor. What do you think? How would you describe figs?

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
  • 2 pints fresh figs
  • goat cheese

~Heat honey in a pan over very low heat until liquified and add thyme and lavender. Let “steep”.

~Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

~Quarter figs and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Stuff with goat cheese and roast in oven for 12 minutes until soft.

~Pour infused honey over figs and serve.

ENJOY!!!

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

Yaaaay it’s olive time again! For some reason, I never even think of olives in the sweltering summer heat, but as soon as the nights begin to cool I crave those briny little orbs of deliciousness. An easy and healthy way to get a dose of the good stuff is to whip up a simple tapenade, the caviar of olives;) This recipe and a nice crusty loaf of bread, here’s an easy no-knead bread recipe, makes for a lovely fall treat and is always a fantastic appetizer (or dinner if you get carried away)! So let’s get pitting!

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

  • 2 cups pitted greek olives, I used a variety of Niçoise, Kalamata, and Green olives
  • 4 sun or oven dried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • finely chopped fresh parsley
  • chopped fresh thyme
  • finely chopped fresh marjoram
  • finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup or more extra-virgin olive oil
~ Throw all ingredients except for olive oil into a food processor. Process and add olive oil while processing until well blended and the desired consistency is reached.
ENJOY!!!
all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

I’m a bit of a tea whore. Sometimes also a tea snob. I drink about a gallon of the good stuff a day, lovely. So when I find clever ways to infuse some of that earthy, subtle flavor of tea into a recipe I get all silly happy about it. In this recipe, chamomile tea imparts a soft earthy apple flavor to homemade whipped cream, turning a regular old shortcake into something just a bit more extraordinary. You could also add some dried lavender flowers (which I have) to the cream for a more floral experience. I’m, admittedly, not so much into baking but there comes a time when ya just gotta roll up those sleeves and make a flour-y mess of the kitchen in the name of tasty summer sweetness. I use this epicurious recipe for buttermilk shortcakes because I simply have never had better and I’m not looking to reinvent a perfectly good wheel! You could also try frozen biscuits to cut down on the effort.

So grab those last strawberries of the season and get slicing!

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1+ Tablespoon dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (if desired, I leave this out)
  • 1 pound ripe strawberries, sliced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoon raw sugar

Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon chilled buttermilk

~ Steep chamomile flowers and sugar in the cream for 1 hour or more. Keep refrigerated. When fully infused, strain cream through fine sieve and press flowers to squeeze out all remaining cream.

~ Whip cream with a hand held mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Be careful not too over-whip and make butter!

~ As per epicurious, Preheat oven to 375°F. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into large bowl. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add buttermilk, tossing with fork until large moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Divide into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into 3-inch round. Transfer to baking sheet, spacing evenly. Bake 20 minutes. Let cool.

~ Combine sliced strawberries, raw sugar, and the juice of 1 lemon in a bowl and toss to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes, this is when the magic happens;)

~ Split shortcakes with a fork and fill with berry mixture and whipped cream.

ENJOY!!!

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2012

 

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