It’s fig season. I acutally never really get too worked up about it. I think figs are alright, but they aren’t on the top of my ‘favorites’ list and I ‘m never anxiously waiting for them to ripen up so I can start using them in fun and creative ways. Well, until this year. Early this summer, while enjoying a
rare infrequent meal out at a local restaurant, I noticed an intriguing menu item with figs, notably figs, cheese and flatbread. This combination is also featured in a myriad of recipes all over the internet, like here and here. Because I’m a cheese lover, I am up for this combination! So I created a figgy cheesy flatbread using some uber delicious and rich items including full fat cheese and proscuitto ham. Remember, portions matter, so my suggestion is to serve appetizer portions. Here is my version of the combination that is inspiring today’s blog post and my appetite for cheese!
for the roasted figs
- 10-12 cup fresh figs, washed and cut in half lengthwise
- 5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 4-5 Tablespoons honey
to assemble the flatbread
- 4 flatbread
- olive oil (for brushing the flatbread)
- 1 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- 3 ounces Prosciutto ham, sliced
- 2 scallion, sliced
for the roasted figs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice figs in half and arrange cut side up on a baking dish. Drizzle honey over figs. Top with springs of rosemary Grind fresh black pepper over figs. Bake 15 minutes or until honey begins to darken and carmelized. Remove from oven and set aside.
to assemble the flatbread
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place flatbread on baking pan. Crumble 1/4 cup cheese on top of bread and add sliced prosciutto. Top cheese and ham with roasted figs. Place baking sheet under broiler and bake just until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven. Garnish with sliced scallions. Repeat with remaining flatbread and figs, cheese, and prosciutto. Serve as an appetizer sliced into quarters. Makes 4 flatbread; 16 appetizer servings.
It’s an adult topic. Liquor in the kitchen. And it’s the Recipe Redux July theme. Here is our challenge:
From plain Jane vanilla extract to fancy-pants elderflower liqueur, we like to keep a little liquor in the kitchen. Show us how you like to cook, bake or mix-it-up with spirits, extracts and other alcohols. A splash of vodka makes summer sauces shine – and liqueurs brighten desserts: What’s your healthy recipe with spirit?
Once again there are many ways that someone passionate about food /drink could go about this challenge. Rather than succumbing to my first thought, ‘I don’t know where to begin’, I first checked to see what spirits I had on hand; my kitchen isn’t dry but the supply’s limited. Vanilla extract is a staple in my kitchen. A wine rack holds a few bottles of Australian Shiraz and a favorite bottle of chardonnay. Way back in the the cabinet sits an aging bottle of amaretto. Hmm, baked goods are sooo enhanced by this almond liqueur; maybe it’s time I put my bakers’ hat back on. So I surfed the web for something to bake that would be redux worthy- in need of a makeover. Then I found this: Amaretto Biscotti.
I made a few modifications; the first was to enhance these biscotti with the nutritional benefits of whole wheat, but with lighter color and milder taste using whole white wheat for a portion of the all-purpose flour. Dark chocolate was my choice for both the chocolate covered almonds and for finishing the biscotti based on taste preference, but let’s not forget there are also health benefits to moderate consumption of dark chocolate (related to plant phenols, or cocoa phenols to be exact). Now the result is no health food, but every once in a while a gal has to indulge herself, right? Well, that’s the mantra I share with my daugther and I because I baked these on her birthday, they will also be known as birthday biscotti. Happy Birthday, Sydney!
Please be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post for more ‘spirited’ recipes!
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 cup whole white wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup sliced raw almonds
- 1 cup dark chocolate covered almonds
- 4 ounces of dark chocolate, 72% cacao or higher
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
3. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium high speed until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in eggss, liqueur, and vanilla and almond extracts until combined.
5. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture; beat until just incorporated.
6. Fold in raw and chocolate-covered almonds.
7. With your hands dusted in flour, divide dough in half and shape into two 3 x 12 inch logs on the prepped baking sheet.
8. Bake about 25 minustes until puffed and set. Cool about 10 minutes.
9. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs on a diagonal into 1-inch thick cookies; arrange cut side down on the baking sheet.
10. Return to the oven and bake, flipping halfway through until dry and golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.
11. Place 4 ounces of dark chocolate in small saucepan and melt slowly over medium heat. Drizzle on the biscotti and allow to set about 30 minutes.
12. Store in a metal tin with sheets of parchment paper or waxed paper between them.
During blueberry season I have to make at least one batch of fresh blueberry sauce. I ususally follow Martha Stewart’s recipe which has only 3 ingredients! This year, I made a modification to this recipe with my go to sugar substitute (Monk Fruit in the Raw) and no one realized some of the the sugar was MIA. It looks and tastes like… the real thing and …there aint’ nothin like the real thing, right?
Hope you’ll give it a try. It’s easy to make (takes about 15 minutes from start to finish). Use it as an ice cream topping for a quick summer dessert! (It’s also good on cheese cake and angel food cake.) Store it in the refrigertor and serve it with breakfast as a topping on oatmeal, waffles or in a yogurt parfait. You can also add a tablespoon or two to smoothies for a burst of blueberry goodness. Enjoy this summery sauce!
Reduced Sugar Blueberry Sauce
- 2 cups fresh blueberries, washed
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Monk Fruit in the Raw
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
In a medium sauce pan add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until most of the berries have burst. Serve hot or cold. Makes about 1 1/4 cup
How do you make a day trip more memorable? Bookend it with delicious meals! That’s what my daughter and I did last Thursday on our trip to Pinehurst as spectators at the Women’s USGA Open. We spent about four hours following some of our favorite female pros on a dry course number two, in typical ninety plus degree North Carolina weather. Before heading home, I wanted something cold and refreshing and it
wasn’t hard was easy to convince my daughter to stop to refuel before the two hour drive home. Today’s post is a copycat version of the thirst-quenching watermelon salad I had with my dinner.
This salad was fairly simple to recreate, and I aimed to repeat the bitter, salty, and sweet elements. The result is a cold and energizing salad bursting with nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron. Remember that fruits and vegetables are not only nutrient rich, they are cool and refreshing in the summer heat and can help you to rehydrate!
- 2 cups torn romaine leaves
- 2 cups spring mix and baby spinach
- 2 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
- 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 cup seedless watermelon, cubed
- 1/2 cup low fat feta cheese
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
- salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large bowl or platter, place romaine, spring mix and baby spinach. Toss in mint and sliced cucumber.
2. Top with feta cheese and cubed watermelon.
3. Mix together olive oil and lime juice. Pour over salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with sunflower seeds.