Posts Tagged ‘figs’

Gimme My Burrata!

Beets, Burrata, Etc

When the Everyman and I were in Chicago recently, we went to a restaurant called The Publican for dinner that we’d heard amazing things about.

One of the items they had on their menu that I absolutely had to order was a chilled beet and burrata salad, because a girl can never have too much burrata.

Imagine my dismay when the plate set before me was covered with daubs of ricotta cheese instead (and I like ricotta!)

Receiving no explanation as to why there was no burrata, I half-heartedly ate my salad, all the while inwardly sulking over the missing cheese.  Had the place been less packed and frantic, I would have said something about it, but it hardly seemed worth the fuss at the time.

Since then, I’ve been unable to get that combination off my mind.  So, after a trip to Cheese Boutique this week, I decided to recreate it myself.

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We Is Like Peas And Carrots

Mine

For Meatless Monday, I thought it would be fun to try meatless pizzas for a dinner that would be vegetarian without feeling spartan or limiting.

When the Everyman and I used to live at our old house, we did pizza nights all the time because we had a grocery store in the bottom of our building with hot and cold running toppings at our fingertips.  We still occasionally make homemade pizza, but prepping dough tends to require advance planning, so it’s generally not as often as either of us would like to.  Yet every time we do, I kick myself for not thinking to do it more often because aside from dough time it’s a quick, easy dinner that’s adaptable to any variety of tastes and styles.

Yesterday I was on the ball (both literally and figuratively) and mixed up a batch of dough before leaving for work, so by the time we got home all that was required was to warm the dough to room temperature, preheat the pizza stones and determine what would make for a tasty veggie combo.  After discussing just that on the drive home, it sounded like a more prudent idea would be to make 2 individual pizzas suited to our unique tastes rather than trying to compromise on 1 larger veggie pizza.  While the Everyman ran out for some last minute extra cheese, I assembled a toppings bar for us to build our ideal pizzas.

My pizza (above) is like me; complex, off-beat and unique.  It begins with a blend of pesto and blue cheese forming a tangy green base, then it’s scattered with asparagus tips, smushed figs and bocconcini.  A shower of mozzarella shreds, cracked pepper and oregano finish it off.  It wasn’t until after the pizza was done that I realized I’d accidentally left off the shiitake mushrooms I re-hydrated.  No matter.  This pizza was a thin crust marvel, and though non-traditional, it struck just the right balance between savoury and sweet for me.

His

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First Meals Of Spring

Figgy Deliciousness

Every year for Mother’s Day, the Everyman and I go to a brunch buffet with all of his extended family at his grandfather’s golf club in the K-W.

And every year, we come home from these smörgåsbords of deliciousness full of so much good food to the point of illness, as does most everyone else in the family.

Of course, this year was no different, and even I gorged myself on buttery soft rare roast beef, oodles of chilled shrimp and mounds of pea and asparagus salad.  Generally, after these events if we end up eating dinner, it’s bound to be something light.

Several hours after the feasting, the only thing I felt up to was the gentle taste of spring.  Luckily for me I’d made a stop at the St. Lawrence Market on Saturday, and picked up 4 pounds of asparagus and a few pints of figs, among other things.  Sautéing a few pounds of stalks in a beurre noisette until they bloomed a vibrant green, they were then tossed with salt, pepper, halved figs, parmagiano shavings and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  If you wanted to add some more protein to it, you could always wend a few slivers of prosciutto around the spears, but personally, I love it just the way it is.

Vive le printemps!

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Winding Down

Garden In Transition

The slightest chill has been in the air when I leave the house in the morning lately, which is an indicator of one thing in particular;

The Most Beautiful Tomatoes

Summer is coming to a close.

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Breakfast Of Champions

Figs, Honey And Blue Benedictin

For a girl who despised blue cheese in any form for 27 years, this might seem like an odd breakfast option.

However, my love affair with blue cheese began to blossom around my birthday this year, when we went to Frank for dinner.

The combination of a poached pear, pancetta and some Blue Benedictin was all the convincing I needed to know that blue cheese has at least some merits.  Then, when I was working on that chicken wing story, I absolutely fell in love with the blue cheese dip at Allen’s, to the point that I was dipping anything I could into it.  As the Everyman is wont to remind me, once I find a new ingredient that I enjoy, I tend to want to add it to everything.

So, when I recently found myself in a grocery store (a rare occasion) and happened upon a chunk of Blue Benedictin whilst searching for bocconcini, I decided to grab a small slab, just in case.

This week, that “in case” happens to be a medley of chopped figs, a drizzle of honey, and a small crumble of blue cheese.

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Anticipating Harvest

Third Jane Doe

At this time last year, I was up to my eyeballs in lusciously imperfect tomatoes.

But, like almost everyone else this year, my garden’s been slow to blossom.  About 2 or 3 weeks ago I was finally able to start harvesting close to a handful of mixed cherry tomatoes per day.  Even though we’re now a couple of days into September, I still haven’t tasted the first full size fruit yet.

Unknown

As with the red ones above, I’m not sure what varietals these (and the one below) are.  I don’t recall planting any white varieties, but these tomatoes seem awfully pale to me.  Perhaps they might be garden peaches…
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An Interesting Use For Bacon

Corn. Figs. Lamb.

Right now the Everyman and I are touring around Quebec City, but I leave you with this novel idea I had while preparing dinner the other night…

As I mentioned earlier this week, our house has been blessed with a glut of figs left over from my jam-making endeavours.  Most mornings I’ve just chopped a couple of them into quarters with a banana and some strawberries and called it breakfast, but even at that rate I didn’t think we’d get through them all before the delicate, honeyed orbs went bad.

I immediately recalled an appetizer we’d once been after at Czehoski that was right up the Everyman’s alley; satan on horseback.  Now, everyone knows devils on horseback, which are usually made with prunes or figs stuffed with blue cheese, chutney and bacon.  Then there are angels on horseback which replace fig with an oyster or scallop.  But satan on horseback was a piece of pork belly wrapped in bacon and served with chutney.  The Everyman had seen it on the menu, gotten himself all worked into a lather about it, and then found himself exponentially disappointed when we arrived and it was no longer being offered.  What they did have on the menu at the time was a variation of the aforementioned devils on horseback (which he also enjoyed), so I decided to grill a few figs in that style.  I split the figs in quarters, stuffed them with a tiny spoonful of ricotta and slid a few shards of my newly made bacon inside.  Secured with toothpicks and cushioned by foil, the packet was ready to pop on the grill.

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A Figgy Trifecta

Spread

A few days ago, I kindly coerced the Everyman into taking me over to Fiesta Farms after work.

Aside from being a really beautiful, locally-focused grocery store, it’s invariably the place I turn to when I’m in need of large quantities of foods that Italians tend to be passionate about.  For instance, a few of the bushels of tomatoes that I canned and sauced last year were procured from their garden centre.

Plump, Fresh Kadotas

On this particular visit, I was in search of a flat of figs.  You see, this past weekend I was standing in front of my shelf full of canned edibles in the sunroom, admiring my handiwork when I realized I was down to my last two 4 ounce jars of fig jam.  Horrors!  I’ve been making fig jam for several years now, but the Everyman’s relatives are such fans of it (being the lovers of cheese that they are) that inevitably I end up gifting at least half a batch to them each time it’s made.

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Breakfast Innovations

Figgy Pudding

One of my favourite breakfast noshes is a slice of my father’s homemade banana bread.  The taste memories associated with this wonderful baked good take me back to my childhood, and messily helping him to prepare a batch or slurping the remnants of batter.

Unfortunately, my dear old dad lives halfway across the country now, and has for years, so I don’t often get to taste his personal version anymore.  Instead, I use his banana and butter-stained recipe with a few extra tweaks of my own.  It must be pretty decent too, because I’ve seen the Everyman turn down offers of banana bread solely on the assumption that it won’t measure up to mine (how sweet!)

Yet sometimes the tastebuds get tired, possibly even a little bit bored.  As I sat at my desk and munched a slice of loaf yesterday, I started to ponder interesting flavor combinations and devise experimental opportunities.  Then, out of nowhere it hit me like a ton of bricks; figs.  Why had it never occurred to me before?  Bananas are smooth and sweet and creamy and coincidentally, so are figs.  I saw the potential immediately, so I googled fig bread to see if anyone else had thought of it before, and came across a handful of iterations.  Bolstered by my discovery, I resolved to make a loaf that night (and I did, prior to my run in with the mandolin).
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Anything Goes…

Every day that passes brings the gardening season that much closer (fingers crossed that we’re done with snow).  To while away the time I’ve become hooked on something I read about over at You Grow Girl several months ago… Gardening Mama!  It’s a game from the people who making Cooking Mama, which I also obsessively love, but more than that, it keeps my hands busy while I’m waiting for the universe to hurry up and warm up outside already…

Though I may have let the past few months pass in relative silence on the garden front, you can be assured that I’ve not been dormant.  From taking my seed catalogs with me on Christmas vacation so I could pick out my new projects (yes, I am a garden dork and I was mocked mercilessly about it the entire vacation), to harassing the people at West Coast Seeds when an order didn’t arrive, to finally breaking out the potting soil and mucking about in my basement laundry room, the last 3 months contained their fair share of preparatory activities.

Project Sustainability 2009 is well underway, with approximately 60 seedlings chilling out on the grow tower.  Considering that last year was my first attempt at growing anything more involved than a cactus, I was pretty impressed with the end results.  There were definitely lessons learned, and notes made about plants I wouldn’t bother to grow again (read: corn and those weeds I thought were beans).  But this year, along with bringing back favorites and successes from 2008, I also picked a bunch of new plants to try.  As our diet becomes increasingly varied, the memories of how explosively flavorful my completely organic, fresh picked produce was last year inspired me to try my hand at even more.  I can never replace Bob (our organic delivery guy) or our CSA farmshare from Zephyr Organics, but being able to combine two of my all-consuming passions is just too good to pass up.  Plus, creating your own tiny microcosm means being able to experiment with more unique and just plain bizarre produce that larger growers might not bother with.

So far on the rooftop roster this year we have:

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