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Figs: My new favorite ingredient

Sep 4th, 2011 | Category: Cooking

by Jenny Baker

Fall is my favorite time of year for cooking. At the end of summer, the produce is at its height, and the early fall brings on apples, summer squash, pumpkins and more. But I recently discovered a new end-of-summer ingredient that is adding great taste to our dinner table: the fig.

Like a lot of people, I had no idea what to do with figs. I thought they were all brown, and dried. Sort of like the inside of a Fig Newton. But after coming face to face with fresh figs (these were green on the tree), I decided to tackle this new ingredient and try it out.

Fresh figs cut in half. PHOTO BY BECCA SCHWARZ COLE

Figs are ripening nicely right now. But how do you tell they are ripe? Figs grow on trees, and are very easy to pick. The ripe figs have a stem that curves off of the tree, and the fig itself will droop and feel soft. Unripe figs are harder and firmly attached to the tree. (Don’t pull unripe figs as they only ripen while on the tree.)

When talking to a friend about figs, she suggested I make roasted figs with goat cheese. My first reaction was “could this be good?” But after making the recipe, the answer is an emphatic yes. I favor the cheese made by Gothberg Farms out of Bow, so during a recent farmers market trip, I grabbed what I needed and headed home. Easy to make, and so delicious.

The big bites recipe is one I use year-round, and is very popular with the kids. It can fit any dietary style (if you have a peanut allergy try almond butter), and has no processed ingredients.A favorite peanut butter to use is the roasted peanut butter from Bellewood Acres. Cannot be beat!

This is a great back to school or after school snack, or anytime snack. Alter this recipe as you prefer. Trying adding other dried fruits, nuts, or seeds, as well as chopped fresh apples, dried blueberries, and roasted pumpkin seeds later in the season. The batter freezes nicely as well.

Jenny Baker lives with her family in Whatcom County and enjoys being in the kitchen.

Roasted figs and goat cheese

8 ripe figs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup honey
3 rosemary leaves, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400. Trim stems from each fig. Rub figs with olive oil and slice so they have a quartered appearance (but not fully cut). Gently pull flesh from edge and coat (or stuff) each fig with 1 teaspoon of goat cheese. Bake the figs upright until they are plump, about 10 minutes. Drizzle honey over the figs and on serving plate, and sprinkle with chopped rosemary.

Big bites

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup honey
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flaxseed
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or bark broken into tiny pieces
1/2 cup coconut
6 large figs, flesh spooned out
Extra coconut and fig for coating

Combine ingredients in a large bowl, mixing thoroughly. Roll out small balls, coating them in coconut and figs (or your preferred ingredient). Refrigerate for an hour, or serve immediately.

One Comment to “Figs: My new favorite ingredient”

  1. emily hirsch says:

    I would recommend including photos of the completed recipes!

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