loretta and cookie dough

Apparently if you get a photo of pumpkin cookies on Foodgawker, traffic to one's site is doubled.  This tells me: 1) A lot of people are sitting at their desk, hungry and avoiding work (can you blame them?) and 2) People are ready for fall and all things pumpkin.  Bring it on, October.  We're ready.  (And the kids have been counting down days till Halloween since last November 1st).  Do other parents have that problem?  You finally get through the Halloween stash, then some kid has a piñata for his birthday party (the nerve).  After that, it's Easter, and that candy lasts until the Fourth of July parade where firefighters throw candy from the truck as if they didn't know the first thing about health.  I've heard the "Just throw it away secretly" theories or "Let them eat it all in one day," but haven't been able to execute either.

I don't have a showstopper for you today.  Just a few tidbits that have been stacking up.  Have I mentioned how much I like being here with you?  I think so.  About a million times.  But I like it.  I imagine that we're all friends, and in a way we are. Call me a sap.  I can be kind of an abrasive loudmouth at moments in my offline life, so being here settles me down.  I hope the women in my mothers' group haven't decided to kick me out yet.  God, I can be opinionated.  Take it with a grain of salt, ladies.  On to the tidbits...

fried sage

Fried Sage Leaves
These are showing up everywhere lately, and I always thought they seemed complicated.  I pictured them being deep-fried or coated in batter.  Too much work.  But when you shallow-fry them in 1/2" of olive oil for 30 seconds, they turn delightfully crisp, their fuzziness goes away, and you'll want to put them on everything.  I have a giant sage plant in my garden, and it's sadly underused most the time. Fresh sage is too pungent for lots of things besides turkey or a hearty beef stew.  Not anymore! They're pictured here, along with feta, garnishing black bean soup with kobacha.  A little 8" cast-iron skillet is sitting on my cooktop, ready with olive oil from the last batch.

fig and ricotta galette

What I Did with the Rest of my Figs
I bought a tray of figs last week (remember those tartines?) and made a fig and ricotta galette with rosemary and pecans. Still more left, so put them in a salad with oranges, chevre, thin strips of Thai chile, sunflower seeds, and mint.  That salad was the bomb.  (That means it was good.  I think.  Since I don't work with youth anymore, I am horribly outdated).

fig, orange, and chevre salad

How to get Deliciously Thick Yogurt on the Cheap
Buy your favorite additive-free yogurt.  These days, I am into Mountain High plain original style (read: high-fat content).  Line a sieve with two coffee filters that you've split down the seam and laid open (so they're not double thickness).  Pour the yogurt into the paper-lined sieve and set the whole thing over a bowl.  Leave it on the counter for an hour or two, and all the liquid in the yogurt will collect there.  Spoon the thickened yogurt back into your tub.  You won't believe how thick and creamy it is, and that they make you pay $3 more for it this way.  (Though the volume will be reduced...)

thickening yogurt

...and How to Make that Yogurt Taste Other-Worldly
This month's Gourmet featured "Vietnamese yogurt," which is yogurt with sweetened condensed milk stirred in.  Of course I tried it, and now I'm sort of sorry.  So good!  I opened a can of condensed milk and poured it into a jar.  Now, I just stir a spoonful into my plain yogurt some mornings (not all, okay?), and it tastes, not like vanilla yogurt, but like sweet cream gelato.  With crunchy granola on top, you won't hate your Monday so much.

That's the Friday report, friends.  You're the best readers ever.