Tag Archives: vegetarian

Fig-mania

Okay, is it just me, or is there a fig craze afoot? From fig vinegars and fig chutneys to fig spreads and fig jams, I seem to be encountering figs everywhere I turn. Just yesterday I noticed pint baskets of fresh figs at my local supermarket. And last month, while driving to the beach in North Carolina, I stopped at Morris Farm Market and what was the first thing I spotted?  A gorgeous display of fresh figs!

I bought a quart and we enjoyed experimenting with them over the next few days…we tried them grilled on pizza, drizzled with olive oil and added to arugula salad, and we even invented a bittersweet chocolate & fig dessert sauce that we poured over vanilla ice cream. Today, I was walking along Canal Street in Chinatown and there among the dried lychees and live crabs were, yes, pints of fresh figs, at the very reasonable price of two for $3!

So, in the spirit of fig-mania, we present Cathy’s latest fig concoction. And if you have a favorite fig recipe, please share it!

Heather

Tortelloni with Sautéed Figs & Goat Cheese
makes 2 main dish servings or 4 appetizer servings

3 Tbs. butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 figs, quartered (I used Kadota figs)
2 Tbs. chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 pkg. (9 oz) fresh portabello mushroom and cheese tortelloni (or your favorite
tortelloni or tortellini)
3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

– In large skillet, heat butter over medium heat until lightly browned.  Add onions; cook and stir until browned.  Remove onions from skillet.  To skillet, add figs, walnuts, salt and pepper; cook until figs just start to soften. Remove skillet from heat.

-Meanwhile, cook tortelloni according to package directions, draining and reserving 2 Tbs. pasta water.

– To skillet, add tortelloni, reserved pasta water, cooked onions, goat cheese and basil; cook over low heat just until cheese melts.  Serve immediately.

FUN FIG FACTS

The most common figs grown in the United States come from California, and are generally available from mid-May thru mid-December. The four common varieties include:

Mission: deep purple skin (darkens to a rich black when dried) with pink flesh; sweet
Kadota:  green skinned with amber flesh; practically seedless; slightly sweet
Calimyrna:  golden skin with pink flesh; nutty flavor
Brown Turkey:  brownish copper skin with pink/red flesh; mildly sweet

Use fresh figs within a day or so after buying them as they are very fragile!

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Filed under Cheese, Fruit, Main Dishes, Pasta

You Say Potato, I Say Po-tah-to

So many varieties of potatoes to choose from.  Do they all taste the same?  Can they be used interchangeably? Does the color dictate the flavor?  I am going to talk about the three little “spuds” in our photo below…  Red, Yellow, Purple.  All three are popular, red and yellow variety leading the pack.  The red, also known as a “new potato”, because it is harvested before it reaches maturity – white flesh, available all year-round.  The yellow, commonly known as “Yukon Gold.”  – yellow flesh, also available all year-round.  The purple, also known as blue – purply blue flesh, mostly available in the fall.  All three varieties produce a moist, creamy texture.  All are pretty versatile and can be used for boiling, steaming, roasting, baking, mashing.

I am going to share a fantastic potato recipe that I styled for a wonderful magazine, that unfortunately has folded…  Kitchen Garden Magazine, published by Taunton Press.  I remember distinctly shooting the story in an antique farmhouse in Washington, CT. The house was beautiful.  The kitchen full of “old-time” charm.  The recipe: Roasted Potatoes with Fresh Sage. The sage leaves are placed on the bottom of a heavy skillet (cast iron is best). The halved  potatoes go on top of the sage leaves, then roasted in the oven.  The sage gets so crispy, and the flavor — incredible!  You can certainly try it with any of the potato varieties discussed above.  Whatever color suits your fancy for the day!!!

Here’s the recipe —

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
30-40 fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 pounds small potatoes, halved

– Preheat oven to 425F. Pour oil into heavy oven-proof skillet (preferably cast iron), tipping skillet so oil covers bottom of pan. Lay sage leaves flat over oil, completely covering bottom of pan.

-Sprinkle salt over sage. Arrange potatoes, cut side down on sage.  Bake, uncovered until potatoes are tender and the cut sides are crusty brown, about 35 minutes.

C

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Mesclun Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette

It’s Wednesday and I promised to have the recipe for the White Balsamic Vinaigrette. Well, here it is.

Before I give you the recipe, let me give some of my tips:

What is White Balsamic Vinegar? It is made with white wine
vinegar and grape must (sounds ghastly, but it is actually fresh
grape juice that is pressed from the skins, seeds, and stems of the
grapes.) It is usually used when the color of food will be affected
by using traditional Balsamic vinegar. White balsamic vinegar
is milder and less sweet than regular balsamic.
Can the two vinegars be interchanged? Not really, because of the color
and flavor. It is better to substitute white wine vinegar for white
balsamic vinegar.

– Adding a little prepared mustard to a vinaigrette recipe not only
enhances the flavor but it also adds body.

– An easy way to make salad dressing is to place all ingredients in
a jar with a tight fitting lid then shake away!!!

– Substitute your favorite fresh herb for the rosemary.

Here’s the recipe:
(The vinaigrette recipe will make enough for later use — and it
should because it is so good!)
Dresses 6 salad servings
Makes about 1 cup vinaigrette

Vinaigrette
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon course black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

1 package (5-6 oz.) mesclun salad greens or mixed baby greens,
rinsed and dried
1 small yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup dried cranberries

– For vinaigrette, combine first 6 ingredients. With wire whisk, slowly
beast in olive oil until mixture thickens slightly.
– Toss greens, pepper, onion and cranberries with a few tablespoons
of dressing.
– Refrigerate remaining dressing.

C

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Filed under Healthy, Salad