NATIONAL FIG WEEK

TL NOVEMBER 1-7 IS NATIONAL FIG WEEK

On the last day of NATIONAL FIG WEEK, let’s take a look at the possibilities when we pair figs with the big bird – the TURKEY for Thanksgiving!  I know every woman in America has her own special way to do the bird, but if you’re looking to change it up – here’s a little spin on traditional Thanksgiving cooking.

APPLE CIDER MARINATED TURKEY WITH FIG, PEAR AND BALSAMIC COMPOTE

serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

1 12-15 lb. turkey

1 gallon apple cider

5 C. chicken or vegetable stock

3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

fig, pear and balsamic compote

1/2 C. olive oil

1 large red onion, diced

2 C. dried figs, chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped

1 ripe pear, cored and chopped

Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges

1/2 C. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Two days before Thanksgiving, rinse and pat dry defrosted turkey.  Place in roasting pan and fill pan with as much apple cider as it will hold.  Cover and put in refrigerator, periodically rotating turkey during the two days so all parts soak in the cider.

On Thanksgiving Day, remove turkey from marinade and discard all but 2 cups of cider.  Set aside reserved cider to use for basting.

Rub compote mixture under skin of marinated turkey, especially covering breast meat.  Season turkey exterior and cavity with salt and pepper.  Place on rack in covered roasting pan.  Roast at 350 degrees F. for 4 – 4 1/2 hours, using pan juices and reserved cider for basting.  You don’t need to use all the reserved cider.

Uncover turkey the last 45 minutes of roasting.  Turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 185 degrees F.  Make sure thermometer doesn’t touch the bone.  Remove turkey from oven and let rest, covered, while preparing sauce or gravy.

Combine pan juices with 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock and 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.  Simmer until reduced to 2 cups liquid, about 15 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  For a thicker consistency, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1/2 cup stock and slowly whisk into stock.  Simmer until thick, about 5 more minutes.

Heat olive oil in medium saucepan.  Add red onion and cook over medium heat just until beginning to turn brown, about 8-10 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes.  Cool completely.

 If you are not hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for an army, you can use this same compote with turkey cutlets.  I’ve done that and cooked the cutlets in a skillet – it is still just as moist and tasty (there just are not as many leftovers).  🙂

Figs are fabulous!
Figs are fabulous!

I hope you have enjoyed NATIONAL FIG WEEK!  If you like these recipes, please leave me a comment below.  Thanks!  🙂

NATIONAL FIG WEEK

TL NOVEMBER 1-7 IS NATIONAL FIG WEEK

I searched the internet for a healthier fig cookie recipe – and I found it!  If you want a Fig Newton without the preservatives and added stuff that does not nourish your body – here ya go!  You’re welcome!

Today I want to humbly remind us – yes – US – not just you…  we really ARE what we eat.  🙂

HEALTHY HOMEMADE FIG NEWTON COOKIES

(makes about 16 cookies)

INGREDIENTS:

For the cookie

2 C. white whole wheat flour

2 flax eggs (see video below for tutorial)

1/3 C. coconut oil

1/3 C. maple syrup

1 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 Tbs. almond milk

2 Tbs. unsweetened applesauce

For the filling

15-20 figs

1 Tbs. maple syrup

water

INSTRUCTIONS:

For the filling

In a food processor, grind up the figs, 1 Tbs. maple syrup and a bit of water.  You want the figs to be the consistency of peanut butter so only add a bit of water.  You won’t need more than about a Tablespoon.

Blend into a paste.  Set aside.

For the cookie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In one bowl, mix all dry ingredients.

In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients.

Add dry to wet and mix only until combined.  Be careful not to over-mix.  The dough will be sticky and a bit wet.

Gather it in a ball and wrap it.

Put the dough in the fridge for about an hour to firm up.

Once firm, roll the dough onto a floured surface.  Roll it as square as possible if you want your cookies to look like Fig Newtons.

Once the dough is rolled out, spread the fig mixture onto half of the dough.

Fold 1/2 of the dough onto the other and cut into 2 x 2 squares with a pizza cutter.

Place on lined baking sheet and bake for about 12-15 minutes.

They will last a couple of weeks, but you can refrigerate them to make them last longer.

Here’s a tutorial on how to make flax eggs:

https://youtu.be/Zvus6_PLedo

Have fun!  🙂

NATIONAL FIG WEEK

TL NOVEMBER 1-7 IS NATIONAL FIG WEEK

Are you under the mistaken idea that spinach salad can only be made with strawberries?  What do you put in it when they are out of season?  Here’s my resolution – make a traditional spinach salad with FIGS!

Doesn’t that sound good?  It really is – and I think the figs are sweeter tasting than the strawberries.  It’s the fall alternative to a summer fave!

SPINACH SALAD WITH FIGS

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

Salad

2 – 6 oz. bags baby spinach

1 12 C. dried figs, quartered

1/2 C. dried cranberries

1/2 C. sliced almonds

1 Granny Smith apple, cored & thinly sliced

Dressing

3 Tbs. pomegranate juice

2 Tbs. red wine vinegar

1 Tbs. honey

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/4 c. olive oil (not extra virgin)

DIRECTIONS:

Salad

Place spinach in large salad bowl.  Top with figs, cranberries and almonds.  Cover and chill.  Add apple slices just before serving.

Dressing

Measure and whisk together pomegranate juice, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper into small mixing bowl.  Add oil in a slow steady stream, whisking all the while until blended.

Serve salad with dressing on the side.

Let the world slide, let the world go; a fig for care, and a fig for woe!  If I can’t pay, why I can owe, and death makes equal the high and low.  – John Heywood
Amid the heavy autumn meals you will most assuredly partake in, maybe this could be a light, healthy alternative at some point when you feel like you can’t have one more slice of pumpkin pie.  Wink!  😉

NATIONAL FIG WEEK

TL NOVEMBER 1-7 IS NATIONAL FIG WEEK

Have you tried any of our fig recipes yet?  Let us know in the comments section below!  The fiber-rich fig is probably the most forgotten fruit in the grocery store!  This week we want to revive interest in figs.  There’s more to the fig than what you find in Fig Newtons – trust me!

The recipe I’m sharing today is one of my favorites.  I know I tell you they are all my favorites, but…  this time I really mean it!  😉

VEAL ROAST WITH FRESH FIGS

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 1/2 lb. veal roast

1 lb. fresh figs, trimmed and cut in half

1 large onion, thinly sliced

3/4 C. dry white wine (optional)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 bay leaves

Fresh flat leaf parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  When the oil is hot but not smoking, brown the veal on all sides.  Remove veal and add the figs.  Cook until they are golden but not too soft, about 5 minutes.  Remove figs and reserve.  Add onions to the Dutch oven.  Cook, covered, until onions are tender and golden, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick, about 10 minutes.

Return veal roast to the Dutch oven with the onions.  Season it with salt and pepper.  Pour wine over all.  Tuck the bay leaves around the veal, pushing them under the wine, cover, and roast in the oven until the veal is nearly cooked through, about an hour.  Turn halfway through cooking.

Remove veal from Dutch oven.  Add the figs to the veal, pushing them gently down under the cooking juices.  Cover and return to the oven and bake until the veal is cooked through and figs are tender and melting, and additional 15 minutes.

Remove the veal from the oven and transfer the veal to a warmed platter.  Place the pan with the cooking juices over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Boil gently just until the sauce has thickened enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon, 4-5 minutes, making sure that the cooking juices don’t evaporate too much and that the figs and onions don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

To serve, remove the strings from the veal roast and slice it.  Spoon the figs and onions and the cooking juices over it, garnish the platter with parsley and serve immediately.

It’s a little labor intensive – but so worth it!  Enjoy!!!  🙂

NATIONAL FIG WEEK

TL NOVEMBER 1-7 IS NATIONAL FIG WEEK

This week we are celebrating the FANTASTIC FIG!

Here’s an interesting FIG FACT…  Many believe it was figs that were actually the fruit in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, not apples.  That makes sense in my mind – after all, it wasn’t apple tree leaves they used to…  um…  “cover” themselves – was it???

Plain bran muffins can be a bit dry, but these are moist and delicious because there are figs in them!

FIG BRAN MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS:

2 1/4 C. All-Bran original cereal

1 1/4 C. whole wheat flour

2 Tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2/3 C. packed Splenda brown sugar

3 Tbs. MILD molasses

1 Tsp. vanilla extract

6 Tbs. unsalted butter (3/4 stick), melted and cooled

1 3/4 C. plain whole-milk yogurt

1 C. dried figs, stemmed and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces

DIRECTIONS:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray standard-sized muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Process half of bran cereal in food processor until finely ground, about 1 minute. Whisk flours, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to combine; set aside. Whisk egg and yolk together in medium bowl until well-combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add sugar, molasses, and vanilla; whisk until mixture is thick, about 30 seconds. Add melted butter and whisk to combine; add yogurt and whisk to combine. Stir in processed cereal and unprocessed cereal; let mixture sit until cereal is evenly moistened (there will still be some small lumps), about 5 minutes.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently mix with rubber spatula until batter is combined and evenly moistened. Do not over mix. Gently fold figs into batter. Using 1/3-cup measure or ice cream scoop, divide batter evenly among muffin cups, dropping batter to form mounds. Do not level or flatten surfaces 
of mounds.

Bake until muffins are dark golden and toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out with a few crumbs attached, 16 to 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Grab a cup of coffee and a hot muffin for breakfast.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  🙂

NATIONAL FIG WEEK

TL NOVEMBER 1-7 IS NATIONAL FIG WEEK

Do you have a favorite fig recipe?  Please feel free to share it in the comments below.  We can never have too many, you know!

Before I share this amazing fig recipe, I want you to read this wonderful poem by Allison Elrod called First Fig. 

 

First Fig

by Allison Elrod

The fig tree has spread its generous
canopy across my late summer side yard.
Its branches are heavy with fruit.

Every day now, the figs grow softer
and fuller; they are taking the rain
and the warmth of a hundred summer days
and making them over into pleasure;
taut green skin and soft pink flesh.

Wearing only my nightgown
and my work boots, I have come
outside at dawn like some
post-modern Eve, yearning
for a taste of the fruit of the tree. I reach up
into the branches, reach up for the fruit
that hangs just beyond my reach,
the fig whose skin is just beginning
to bear the flush of readiness.

Maybe I am Eve. After all,
isn’t the light in my garden still
what came of “Let there be light?”
And isn’t everything to come
in human history beginning
on this very day, this very morning,
when this very fig—the one I am holding
in my hand—is finally ripe?

Or maybe, I am
a middle-aged woman outside
in my nightgown at six a.m.—
filled with happiness so pure it feels
like innocence—savoring the sweetness
of summer’s first ripe fig
before the light shifts,
before history resumes,
before I come inside to wake you,
temptation on my mind.

It’s day number two of NATIONAL FIG WEEK!!!  Here’s another recipe from my treasure trove of nutritious and delicious autumn dishes…  featuring the fabulous fig!

FIGGY FOCACCIA

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium onion

3 Tbs. olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Plain cornmeal

1 lb. bakery pizza dough

8 fresh figs, halved

1 Tbs. fresh rosemary leaves

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat grill to 350 -400 degrees.

Cut onion into 1-inch slices.  Brush with 1 Tbs. olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill onion slices without grill lid, 3-4 minutes on each side or until tender.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly dust work surface with cornmeal.  Stretch dough into a 10-12-inch oval onto work surface.  Place dough, cornmeal side down, on a greased baking sheet.  Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil.  Rub oil into dough.  Arrange fig halves and grilled on dough, pressing lightly.  Sprinkle with rosemary.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Bake at 425 degrees on lowest oven rack for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Voila!  Enjoy!!!  🙂

NATIONAL FIG WEEK

TL NOVEMBER 1-7 IS NATIONAL FIG WEEK

Hello!  It is NATIONAL FIG WEEK!!!  For those of you who think that the only good thing about figs is found in FIG NEWTONS, hold on to your hat, because every day this week I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes using this naturally sweet fruit!

When I think of figs, I naturally think of one of my favorite books, The Bell Jar.  Chapter 7 talks about figs:

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.  From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.  One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.  I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.  I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.  – Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 7

I know we associate autumn with all things orange – pumpkins, cinnamon (okay, that’s brown) – but there are also some purples to consider when doing your holiday cooking and baking.  Here is fig recipe number one:

FIG AND LEMON CHICKEN (serves 6)

INGREDIENTS:

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 c. Splenda brown sugar

1/4 c. white vinegar

1/4 c. water

1 1/2 lbs. dried figs

1 sliced lemon

12 chicken thighs

salt to taste

1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp. dried parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, Splenda brown sugar, vinegar and water; set aside.

Place figs and lemon slices in the bottom of an 11 x 16-inch baking dish.  Arrange chicken thighs on top, then pour vinegar mixture over chicken.  Sprinkle with salt and dried parsley.

Bake for 50 minutes, basting frequently.  Turn figs over if they begin to burn.

Remove chicken from baking dish with slotted spoon onto serving platter.  Skim fat from juices and pour over chicken or put in gravy boat.

Garnish chicken with fresh parsley.

Serve and enjoy!

Note:  We always take the skin off our chicken before baking it.  I know…  I know – but it makes it healthier.  The good news is, with this recipe – it doesn’t matter if the skin is on the chicken or not – it’s so delicious you won’t miss the skin.  🙂