It's fig season! I love figs, they are probably my favorite fruit. Last Friday, I went to a family friend's ranch in Washington and picked 11 pounds of figs. I can eat a lot of figs, but 11 pounds is A LOT of figs, so I had to do something with them besides eat myself sick.
Here's what I made:
Fig, blue cheese, and prosciutto biscuits
Here is a basic buttermilk biscuit recipe:
The easiest way to ruin biscuits is to over-work them, so you want to mix / flatten / knead as little and as gently as possible. I only folded the dough once, then gently pressed it flat on wax paper. Thinly slice the figs and arrange a layer of figs, a layer of prosciutto, and a (thin) layer of blue cheese crumbles. Then, carefully roll the biscuit dough into a spiral around the toppings, using the wax paper for support so it doesn't fall apart. Cut the roll into slices and arrange on a baking sheet, then bake as directed. (Alternatively, you can just roll the figs and prosciutto and sprinkle the cheese on top halfway through baking.)
I also made fig ice cream, which requires either an ice cream maker or the desire to stand there and churn for an hour. I can't take credit for this recipe, it's from the Martha Stewart website:
The vanilla custard base is a great place to start experimenting if you want to make your own ice cream, you can add pretty much anything to it. It looks quite simple, but when you're cooking the egg and milk mixture, you have about a 20-second window between perfect custard and scrambled eggs. If you think "it looks pretty thick, I wonder if it's done?" that's when you should take it off the heat.
I'll upload pictures soon, forgot to take them when I was cooking yesterday.
(This is Martha's picture)
Have a favorite fig recipe? Put it in the comments!
Check out my sunburn! Added bonus: backpack-strap tan line!
We have a friend visiting this weekend, which usually means doing all kinds of fun outdoor things that we often don’t make time for. We went to Multnomah Falls on Friday, and Saturday we took the Timberline ski lift up Mt. Hood and hiked around for a few hours. It did not occur to me to put on sunscreen, we actually took sweatshirts thinking it might be cold at higher elevation. It was not cold, it was hot and totally exposed above the tree-line, and now I have my second sunburn of the season. (The first one was gloriously awkward, I went to the Columbia river and lounged in a raft all day and never turned over, so the front of my entire body was bright red, with a nice clear line dividing red front and white back.)
Okay, I know I should be worried about skin cancer. I’m more worried about climate change, honestly. Everyone go outside and experience the planet before everything is extinct.
If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know that my general advice tends to be moderation. Not surprisingly, I feel the same way about sunburn. Yes, sunburn adds cumulative damage, but the long-term impact of sitting inside all day every day is much worse. It's all a balance. Being in nature is so good for both mental and physical health. It can even improve your vision (or at least prevent it from getting worse). Here's a fun list of 7 reasons being outside is good for you, with studies to prove it.
So, the moral of the story: go outside! But remember your sunscreen.
This is one of my favorite salads. It's simple to make and as long as you don't let the goat cheese sit in the beet juice for too long, it looks beautiful too!
Beet slices with mint and goat cheese
2-3 large beets, whole
handful of fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons minced shallot (or sweet onion if you prefer)
mirin (available in Asian stores, you can use simple syrup if you can’t find it)
salt and pepper to taste
crumbled goat cheese
Wash the beets and trim the greens (leave a few inches of stems on). Boil until tender, 20-40 mins depending on the size of the beets – you can poke them occasionally with a fork to check. When the beets are done, run them under cold water and rub the skin off with your hands. You’ll look like you just murdered someone, so wear gloves if you plan on going anywhere.
While the beets are cooking, dice the onion very fine and chop the mint. Put both in a mason jar. Add rice vinegar, olive oil, mirin, and salt and pepper to taste. About a quarter cup of rice vinegar to a third cup of olive oil to 1-2 tablespoons mirin. It will depend how sweet you want it, I usually use 1 T mirin and equal parts oil and vinegar, but I like things more vinegary than most people. Start with a tablespoon of mirin, you can always add more but it’s very hard to correct once it’s too sweet. Shake it all up in the jar and taste it, correct the vinegar – oil – sweetener – salt ratios to personal taste.
Slice the beets very thin on a mandolin (or with a knife, slice as thin as possible). Arrange the slices in layers on a serving plate. Drizzle each layer with the dressing, making sure there is mint and onion on each. Top with the goat cheese crumbles just before serving. (If you want to store it for a few days, leave the goat cheese off until you want to serve it, otherwise the cheese will absorb all the beet juice and turn into bright pink sludge.)
So simple, and so tasty! Pairs well with a crisp white wine or cold sake.