The Last Grill of Summer

The fall equinox is Monday - the official beginning of autumn. It's been a cloudy cold September, but this weekend we finally got some beautiful sunny weather - perfect for grilling!

Before cooking anything, I popped open my last Anchor Summer Beer. I don't usually like beer unless it's sunny and warm, so although this is one of my favorite summer beers, it had been languishing in the fridge for more than a month. Anchor Brewery is in San Francisco - almost local!

I enjoyed my beer as I prepared the appetizer - grilled figs with goat cheese. No, the figs aren't local, but they are California grown. We got some Adriatic Figs in at the Co-op and I just couldn't deny myself the wonderful ooey gooey-ness of them! Adriatics are about 100 times better than the most common green fig - the Kadota. The inside is a deep reddish pink, and tastes better than the best raspberry jam you've ever had. They're one of my favorite fruits in all the world, and since they won't come around for another whole year, I let myself get some even though they're not local.

I'd never grilled figs before, but I'd heard they were good with goat cheese so I cut them open and stuffed them with some local chevre from Cypress Grove in Arcata.

The recipe I found said to wrap them in grape leaves, but I didn't have anything around that would be a good substitute, so I used the old grilling standby - aluminum foil.

This sweet corn was a gift from some farmer friends up in Willow Creek.

Ed, my favorite green bean farmer from Blue Lake, suggested that I try his beans on the grill. He told me to marinate them lightly in olive oil and balsamic, so that's what I did. I'm not usually a big green bean fan, but these beans are simply amazing. They've got more juice and flavor than any beans I've ever had, period.

I marinated two Humboldt Grassfed steaks in balsamic, olive oil (almost the end of my bottle!) and garlic and chives from the garden

And we grilled it all! I lost a lot of beans through the grill, but salvaged enough to make a sizable side dish.

Needless to say, the figs weren't the most beautiful thing I've ever cooked. It took some convincing for Johnny to try them, but he was happy he did - They were good! I have to say though, I think my favorite way to enjoy something as delectable as a ripe Adriatic Fig is just by itself without any cooking or additions. There's just something about their pure unadulterated figgy-ness!

The rest of the meal was really good. I'm not usually a huge fan of balsamic, but it was just perfect as a marinade on the beef and beans - it gave them both a wonderfully deep sophisticated flavor without overpowering. The corn was outstanding - tender and super sweet. It was definitely the best sweet corn we've had all year, which was no surprise, since the farmers, Amy and Jacque, are some of the most exacting and dedicated to taste farmers I know. Oh how I'll miss all these wonderful vegetables this winter!
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