Friends-with-Figs, Lemon Grass and Orange Marmalade

It’s great to have “friends-with-figs” I always say. Friends who go away on vacation leaving a tree laden with figs and share are even better. Having a friend who bakes great bread is “icing on the cake”.

Finishing a photo shoot and having lots of fresh oranges left over is another good thing.

 

Very ripe figs, juicy oranges and lemon grass paste cooked down with sugar and lemon juice makes a mighty tasty batch of marmalade.

Yes, it is hot work. The kitchen gets all steamy, as do I, but as I’m stirring I think of my Grandmother Kenny Mae, who canned all summer with hardly a window fan to cool her down and she managed without complaint. She loved the process more than the discomfort I suppose. Jars of jam and preserves made in the summer were all the more tasty during the winter months.

Random glass jars with new lids and rings gathered from my stash. Everything sterilized…jars filled…lids on. This marmalade can be refrigerated or even frozen. I can a few jars and give most away to friends who don’t have figs, some who do, some who just love marmalade like I do, and I save a few jars for later. This is such as easy recipe that I make it often throughout the year.

With so much citric acid I also oven-canned some jars. For a how-to on this method check out an earlier marmalade post here.

Friends-with-Figs, Lemon Grass and Orange Marmalade

Ingredients:

  • 6 oranges, thinly sliced, cut into quarters, seeded
  • 2 tablespoon lemon grass paste
  • 24 small figs, or 12 larger ones – stemmed & cut in half
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients into a stainless steel or enamel stockpot. Place over medium low heat and stir to combine ingredients until sugar begins to melt. Turn heat to medium high, stirring every so often, cooking for about 30 minutes. You want the mixture to bubble and reduce and thicken, but not get scorched on the bottom.
  2. Turn heat to medium low while you get jars and lids ready. Again stir often.
  3. Wash jars and rims in hot soapy water, rinse well and let drain on a clean dish towel. Use new lids whenever you can so the rubbery rim seals well.
  4. Fill clean jars to within about 1/2 inch of the top edge. Wipe edges clean of any spills. Place new lids on top of each jar.  If giving away, or refrigerating, then tighten lids and leave to cool on a rack. This marmalade will keeps chilled for up to 2 months just fine.
  5. Oven canning method: Turn oven to 250 degrees. Spoon hot marmalade into sterilized glass jars leaving a 1/2 inch at top of each one unfilled. Wipe jar mouths clean and top with new lids.  Place filled jars, not touching, in a baking pan and put in oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven to cool on a wire rack. Listen for the “ping” or suction sound as the lids seal tightly to the jars. Lids will go from being a bit convex to concave. Store in a cool place for up to 12 months. If any jars do not seal, then you can refrigerate for up to 2 months.

Teresa Blackburn    http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

“Autumn Supper Salad with Crispy Cornbread Croutons”

fall salad

Shhhhhh…did you hear it? Summer made a very quiet exit as Autumn crept in. I hardly noticed. Did you?

Regardless of the seasons we eat salads for Supper. Salads as entrees, not as sides. Salads with ravioli scattered on top, salads with thinly sliced steak nestled amongst the greens, salads with fruit & cheese. Spinach, Mixed Greens, Kale, Arugula. Carrots, Tomatoes, Berries and Plums. Feta, fresh Mozzarella, shreds of Parmesan Reggiano. Croutons made from baguettes, ciabatta bread or cornbread cut up &  tossed with olive oil & herbs, cooked until crispy.

Salad

Here is what you will need to make one of our favorite salads with lots of healthy stuff.

For the Salad: Salad greens such as Arugula, Spinach, Kale or Mixed Green. A handful of berries, grape or cherry tomatoes, figs or grapes, plums & Feta Cheese

1. Place greens in a bowl. Cut figs & plums into quarters and add to the bowl. Top with berries. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and toss into bowl. Crumble Feta over everything keeping it in somewhat big chunks. Set aside or cover and keep chilled until ready to serve.

Figs on cutting board

plums

arugula salad

For the cornbread croutons you will need some precooked cornbread (available at most groceries in their deli), olive oil, shredded Parmesan.

1. Add olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium high heat. Cut cornbread into cubes. Place in hot skillet in a single layer tossing gently with olive oil. Turn once to brown on both sides. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan and let melt somewhat. Remove pan from the heat.

cornbread

cornbread croutons

Serve Autumn Salad topped with these slightly warm,  crunchy croutons and add a light drizzle of a light balsamic vinaigrette.

Life is busy. What could be easier than a salad for supper?

Figs Roasted with Orange Peel, Thyme, Maple Syrup and White Balsamic Vinegar

figsroastedI thought I would only do one fig post this summer…“First Figs….A Savory Tart” which I posted a few weeks ago. That was until I got a phone call from a neighbor, Berdelle Campbell, asking if I wanted to come and pick figs from her trees. The next morning I was at her house reaching deep into her Brown Turkey Fig trees, climbing atop a ladder to get the really ripe ones, popping many into my mouth for breakfast. An hour and 8 lbs of figs later we exhaustedly made ourselves stop…saving some for the birds.

Basket of fresh picked figs

Post fig-picking Berdelle made us warm toasted bread smeared with cream cheese. We crushed very ripe figs into the cheese and ate these little bites standing in the garden along with her friend, Betty. Have you ever eaten figs this way?

Figs Crushed onto Cream Cheese & Toasted bread

Thus began my “fig odyssey”. I ate fresh figs on salads, I canned figs turning them into sauces & jams.  I made a thick chutney-like roasted fig recipe that is best eaten on aged Cheddar or Gouda, that was inspired by my friend Nancy over at “Good Food Matters”, which is the recipe I am sharing today.

A recipe for “Figs Roasted with Orange Peel, Thyme, Maple Syrup & White Balsamic Vinegar”

Simply do this…..

1. Use 1 lb fresh ripe figs, rinsed & drained  & cut in half lengthwise.

fresh figs washed & drained

2. Spread cut figs out flat on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

figs cut in half

3. Drizzle fig halves with 1 cup Maple Syrup.

Maple Syrup

4. Add the peel from one orange and sprinkle over figs.

orange peel

5. Toss 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh thyme over all.

fresh thyme

6. Splash 1/2 cup White Balsamic Vinegar across figs. Place pan in oven and roast for about 30 minutes or until figs are just starting to caramelize. Remove pan from oven.

roasted figs

7. Store roasted figs in glass jars with tight-fitting lids in refrigerator until ready to eat. They will keep for up to 3 weeks chilled. If not using immediately then freeze for up to 6 month.

Print this recipe here

jarred roasted figs

Serve smeared on toasted bread, with any of your favorite cheeses….especially good with an aged cheddar, or as you would a chutney, along side roasted meats or chicken.

spoon of roasted figs

yummy bite

Do you like your figs dried or fresh?  What are some ways you use figs in recipes?  Have you ever eaten fresh figs warmed by the morning sun just picked from a tree?

“First Figs…a Savory Tart”

first figs

First figs are always the sweetest. Much anticipated & coveted… to be eaten warm sun-ripen directly from the tree or added to simple recipes that highlight their rich earthy juiciness such as this savory tart.

Tart

All over my neighborhood there are fig trees…some very old,  branches laden with ripening figs…others recently planted lightly adorned with just a few green figs. I do not have a fig tree in my yard  &  there is no need for me to add one to my landscape as my neighbors are very generous. Fig Tarts to Steal Your Heart, A Late August Four Letter “F” Word to Savor and Jam the Figs are some of my other fig posts here at Food on Fifth using the bounty of my friends.

Here are the ingredients for this easy savory tart:

1 pre-made pie crust or your favorite homemade crust, 2 eggs, 8 ounces goat cheese & 8 ounces ricotta cheese (both at room temp), 6 to 8 fresh figs, black pepper, crunchy sea salt such as Maldon

Here is how I made it:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press pie crust over the bottom & up the sides of a tart pan with a removable bottom if you have one, if not, then use a regular 9″ pie tin.

Tart Shell

2. Cut figs into quarters lengthwise. Set aside. Using a mixer blend the eggs, goat cheese & ricotta cheese together until creamy.

Fresh Figs

3. Spread cheese mixture over the pie crust.

Filling Tart ShellFilled Tart Shell

4. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until set & slightly golden. Remove from oven.

Baked Goat Cheese Tart

5. Top with the quartered figs. Return to oven & bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven & allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. The figs cook just a bit in this last 10 minutes of baking in which they begin to caramelize. Sprinkle with crunchy sea salt right before cutting into servings. Great as an appetizer or as an entrée with a simple green salad.

Printable Recipe Here

Fig & Goat Cheese Tart

Have you ever enjoyed a fresh sun-warmed fig right off a tree?

Which do you like best, dried figs or fresh?

What is your favorite way to use figs in recipes?

When you think”figs” do you immediately think of The Garden of Eden…Adam & Eve…Michelangelo’s David?

figs2

Fig Lovers Unite!

“Fig Tarts to Steal Your Heart”


These little easy-to-make tarts made me fall in love with fresh figs all over again.

I have shared my adoration of the mythic, Biblical and very down-to-earth tasting fig (“A Late August Four-Letter “F” Word to Savor” August 2011), but this year figs seem to be everywhere I look. Ripe, luscious, just a bit sexy figs…they really are, aren’t they? Hanging heavy from trees in my neighborhood, lovingly displayed at local supermarkets, beautiful greens, browns, purples softly shifting bruise-like colors.

Eaten raw is best for figs, just when they “give” when gently squeezed. Cut opened & sprinkled with a bit of brown sugar & sea salt.

Baked in a simple custard sprinkled with raw sugar & drizzled with honey brings out other more subtle fig flavors.

Ingredients:

Small (one or two bite size) tart shells (I bought these from the deli at Whole Foods, but you can make your own if you like)

Fresh Figs, stems removed & cut in half lengthwise

1 Egg, 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt, a splash of Vanilla Extract, 1 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice, 1/4 cup Raw Sugar whisked together in a bowl

Additional Raw Sugar to sprinkle on top before baking & Honey

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Carefully fill each tart shell with the Egg-Yogurt mixture.

2. Top each filled tart shell with half a fig, cut side up.

3. Sprinkle each little tart with raw sugar & a drizzle of honey.

4. Bake for about 12 minutes until custard is set. Remove from oven, let cool a bit before eating. Very good chilled or at room temperature. The slight crunch of the crust sets off the not overly sweet custard, fresh figs, raw sugar & honey.

The Queen of Hearts
She made some tarts,
   All on a summer’s day….


“A Late August Four-Letter “F” Word To Savor!”

My favorite four letter “f” word in late August is “Figs”. Finally we have some figs to play with. I have been watching the trees in the neighborhood, snooping around the farmer’s markets, just waiting, thinking on simple recipes using tree ripened figs.

“Brown Turkey Figs”

Sitting with a group of food friends the other day we started talking about foods we really were not aware of when we were younger, foods that we now know and love. For most of us Southerners it seems fresh figs just didn’t make it onto our radars until adulthood. I am not sure why. Fig trees thrive around here so it seems that figs would have been a summer staple just like peaches & late summer pears. I think I will do a bit of research to figure out why I never ate fresh figs as a child. As an adult I relish the arrival of this little, lush four-letter word.

“Fresh Figs-Pine Nuts Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake” 

 The corn meal gives it a bit of a crunch as do the pine nuts. The caramelized fig topping drizzled with maple syrup is luscious.

Ingredients: 5 to 6 fresh figs, 2 to 3 cups self-rising white or yellow cornmeal (I used gluten-free); 1 tsp ground cardamom; 1 stick good butter (Kerry gold of course!); 1 cup brown sugar; (divided into two 1/2 cups; 1/4 cups toasted pine nuts; 2 eggs; milk; real maple syrup

Directions:  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a cast iron skillet, preferably, over medium high heat. Add in 1/2 cup brown sugar stirring until melted.

2. Wash & dry figs. Cut each one in half lengthwise. Place cut-side down in skillet in a circular pattern. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts over figs. Turn heat to low allowing the figs to caramelize somewhat for about 5-8 minutes.

3. Meanwhile in a mixing bowl whisk together the dry ingredients..cornmeal, second 1/2 cup brown sugar & cardamom. Add eggs & enough milk to make a batter.

                                                                   

4. Pour/scrape batter into the hot skillet with the figs on top of the stove. Transfer skillet to the pre-heated oven. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until cake is golden brown and set in the middle. Remove skillet from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes.

5. Place a plate over the top of the skillet and “flip” plate & skillet upside-down. Scrape any caramel left in the pan over the top of the cake. While cake is still hot drizzle generously with real maple syrup. Cool cake for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve slices with additional maple syrup on side if desired.


Bonus Recipe: “Figgy Pancakes”

Ingredients: Same as for the cake recipe with a few extra figs quartered.

It was morning when I was baking the cake and had a bit of batter left over after filling the skillet. While the cake was baking I whipped up some pancakes for breakfast!

Directions: 1. Heat some butter in a small non-stick pan or griddle over high heat. Add a few quartered figs.

2. Pour in batter. When batter is set on bottom and bubbly on top flip pancake and  finish cooking til golden brown.

        

3. Serve immediately with real maple syrup. This was one good pancake recipe!

EXTRA, EXTRA BONUS RECIPE…SEE BELOW…THE EASIEST MOST DELICIOUS WAY TO EAT FRESH FIGS…….DON’T MISS THIS ONE!

“Sea Salt & Raw Sugar Dipped Figs”

Take some wonderful fresh figs. Cut them into quarters. Sprinkle some great sea salt & raw sugar on a saucer. Dip cut edges of figs in salt-sugar mixture and eat.

A sublime treat.

Doesn’t the word “fig” conjure up an image of Adam romping around in the Garden of Eden wearing a fig leaf?

I wondered what figs would be like after they were frozen?

 FYI. Mushy, but aren’t they pretty frozen?

Some “f” word music I like. A little bit different, fun and peppy to help you get figgy.

Album, “The Figs”,  The Figs, 2007 Valcour Records

Album, “What Keeps Me Up At Night”, The Figs 2008

Songs, “Jumbo” & “The Long Goodbye”, Marseille Figs, 2009 Figs of London

Eat good stuff.