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Wine Poached Figs

Wine Poached Figs in Prosciutto Pie Bowls

Figs! For my Eat Write Retreat Culinary Apps Challenge I received a box of California Figs in the mail and had to come up with an amazing appetizer featuring them. I have never  cooked with figs before, so this was actually really exciting for me. Since I have no notion of what to do with them, I can just go crazy, right? Right! Luckily there was a handy information packet included in the box with the figs. For example, I didn’t realize that they are known to be a part of a Mediterranean diet. This is quite useful, because I wanted to try to eat a more Mediterranean style diet for the next few weeks so I can learn how to cook fish. Now I have all these figs that I should try to incorporate into this plan! Also, just 3-5 figs give you 5 grams of dietary fiber, so that’s pretty awesome too!

 

Wine Poached Figs

When I think of appetizers, I always think of some sort of something on some sort of bowl or plate made of food. Real specific, I know. So for this challenge I decided to go with a bowl shape. In my research, I found lots of recipes with figs being wrapped in other ingredients, like prosciutto. I figured this is a good chance to change things up a bit and rolled prosciutto, Pecorino Romano cheese, and dried basil into a pie crust, and used that as a bowl. And it worked!  Bonus: the pie bowls can be made the day before!

Look! Prosciutto, cheese, and basil!

Look! Prosciutto, cheese, and basil!

The majority were shaped with the prosciutto facing up, because I was worried the cheese might stick to the pan. The four that faced down didn’t stick at all, and looked really cool. Next time I’ll definitely make them all like that.

bottom

See, these look just fine, and didn’t stick at all!

I wanted to make sure I kept the figgyness of the figs figgy. I like the texture of them and wanted to use other ingredients to enhance their flavor. I still felt the need to alter them in some way, so I poached them in white wine, honey, and a bit of orange juice. I used Pinot Grigio, and it was fantastic.

with wine

And then I obviously had a glass of wine too

With the shipment of figs I also received some tools from OXO. They really came in handy. Especially that measuring cup that twists up! It was perfect for measuring the honey and getting it to actually pour out of the cup. The cheese grater worked really well too!

Tray

And, to make this all even better, I made it for Mother’s Day so my parents were able to be my test dummies!

Ok, is it recipe time yet?

Wine Poached Figs in Prosciutto Pie Bowls
Author: 
Serves: 12
 
Savory prosciutto pie bowls and a figs poached in a lightly sweet dressing
Ingredients
  • 1 pie crust, thawed
  • 1.5 oz prosciutto, chopped
  • ¼ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 6 dried figs, halved
  • 1 cup Spring Mix salad, loosely packed and ripped into smaller pieces
  • Optional Garnishes: grated Pecorino Romano, and orange zest
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 450.
  2. In a small pan, cook prosciutto until it's lightly crispy, and remove to a paper towel lined bowl and let cool.
  3. Roll out pie dough, and evenly sprinkle cheese, basil, and ¾ of the prosicutto. Press into dough, then use a rolling pin to lightly roll ingredients into the dough.
  4. Cut into small circles, and shape to fit into mini-muffin pan cups. Lightly prick each with a fork.
  5. Bake 6-9 minutes, or until lightly browned. If made the day before, store in an airtight container.
  6. In a small saucepan, bring wine, honey, and orange juice to a simmer. Add halved figs, and simmer for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove figs, and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.
  7. Toss salad with the remaining ¼ of prosciutto and 1 Tbsp of warm poaching liquid. Place leaves into pie bowls, and top each with a piece of fig. Garnish with orange zest and romano cheese.
White Wine Poached Figs
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Funtimes!

Hello! Shameless self-promotion is about to commence….

Well, the last few days have been fun! I wanted to update this blog with some new recipes, but then I decided to submit them to recipe contests instead. If you’re looking for new recipes of mine to look at and praise me for, here are the links!

Jell-O Easter Lollipops

Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Peasant Bread

Aren’t they pretty? Go ahead and Like them to help me feel special :)

 

Also, I decided to submit my black Bean Brownies to SpicieFoodie.com’s website for their monthly “Your Best Recipe” list. Check out February’s best recipes here!

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Eggs en Filets

Eggs en Filets are apparently just baked egg yolks dipped in pancake batter and fried. Delicious! This recipe came from one of those books I mentioned, many posts ago, called 100 Ways of Cooking Eggs. This book is over a hundred years old, but since it’s sitting up in my family’s vacation cottage, I have no access to it and can’t check the specific publication date. I’m pretty sure it’s from the 1890s. It’s a good thing I took some pictures of recipes I want to try when I had the chance so I have some unhealthy yet scrumptious cooking ideas.

Not the best pic, but in a dark room with bad lighting it isn’t too terrible

I chose to try Eggs en Filets mainly because I have all the ingredients and it sounded like a simple starting point. The recipe in the book is incredibly vague, so I had to decide how to make this more user friendly. I used fewer egg yolks, gave an actual cooking temp for the oven, and provided a recipe for the pancake batter. Check out the original:

The pancake batter I made worked really well, but if you don’t want the extra step of measuring things, I suppose you can use a boxed pancake mix. Just try to make it less dense than normal.

Also, if you feel gross about eating this many egg yolks fried in pancake batter, then save the egg whites and have an egg white omelet the next day! Or just stop complaining and live dangerously for once in your life.

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New World Cuisine

I keep meaning to take pictures during class so I can show everyone what I’ve actually been doing, but it’s always so busy in the kitchen before service that I forget or don’t have the time. Friday, however, we had some downtime since all of our food was done and the dining room was running late, so the Chef asked if someone could take pictures of his example plates and email them to him. Lucky me, I had my camera.

What is New World Cuisine? Well, turns out that it is the styles of cooking in America, South America, the Caribbean, and in general this whole part of the world. We make things like Southern Fried Chicken with buttermilk dressing and honey, as well as making Jamaican Curried Rice, and roasted chicken. In this class we employ the methods of grilling, roasting, and deep frying. It’s fun and delicious!

This dish is Adobo-Marinated Grilled Chicken with Chicharrones, on top of Yuca fries with Roasted Pumpkin behind it. The chicken skin was first removed, seasoned, and roasted to make that crispy chip you see standing straight up, which is called Chicharrones. The chicken was then brined for about an hour, then marinated in an Annatto Seed oil and herb mixture before being grilled. The Yuca fries are peeled, trimmed, blanched, and then deep fried. We learned the very important lesson that eating yuca raw is poisonous! Apparently it contains high levels of cyanide, but once it’s cooked then it’s all good.

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25 and still snacking

So it was my birthday on the 16th. I went to Boston to see some friends and go to an event, ended up not going to the event and didn’t get to see some friends, but I had fun with the ones I saw and the activities I did. Vague? Well, it’s ok, the point is that snacking happened. Since I’ve been so busy the past few weeks (projects, midterm, final, final, career fair, etc.) I haven’t really had a chance to make anything special outside of class, except for my rice with mayonnaise and bulldog sauce, but other people just think that’s gross. Those people are wrong. Japanese mayo is the tastiest!! Bulldog sauce it amazing as well.

It’s pretty much a fantastic version of BBQ sauce

In order to kill time on here, I have decided to review products that I sampled or revisited on my birthday. First stop? Lollicup! Now, if you haven’t had bubble tea by now then I pity your life. It’s tasty milk tea, or smoothies, or anything drinkable through a straw, with tapioca pearls to give you something to chew on while you drink. Sound repulsive? Whatever, it’s good. I had the Avocado Snow, and it was divine. I also tried my friends Barley Chocolate Milk, which tasted like chocolate milk with snacking barley bits that were extremely satisfying. My other friend had the Tapioca Milk Green Tea, which I’ve had before, and has a nice and simple flavor.

Barley, Avocado, Green Tea

There’s more…

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Italian Tofu Subs

A few months ago I came across a section about tofu in an issue of Food Network Magazine. Having been a vegetarian once-upon-a-time, I was intrigued and added the recipes to my scrapbook. I’ve been planning all this time to try out the recipes, but just kept forgetting to buy tofu. I was clever recently though, and remembered to get some while at Trader Joe’s. As I was trying to decide what to make with the tofu and all the tomatoes I have, I remembered my scrapbook and the lonely, untested, tofu section. I had also just made Italian seasoned breadcrumbs with a baguette that I didn’t want to go bad so I had to find a way to use those too. I was looking over the Tofu Parmesan Subs, and thought it would be fun to try, except of course I would change it.

And isn’t my version lovely?

I didn’t feel like making a sauce since I wanted to use slices of tomatoes, and I’m poor so buying spinach seemed silly. I happened to have leftover mozzarella in my fridge from when I had my friends over, and I also retrieved my herbs from my house last time I visited so I had fresh basil to work with. Tomatoes, mozzarella, basil. How very classic! If nothing else, I know these things all work together, so I fearlessly jumped into my new recipe.

If you’ve ever cooked with tofu before, chances are that it totally sucked. Did the tofu stick to the pan and fall apart? Did the coating slide right off after you thought it was all done? Yes, well, these have been frequent issues of mine. If it’s never happened to you, then I hate you. Luckily, my new skillets are amazing and since I bought them I have had no tofu issues. I’m no longer paranoid about making sure they’re crazy dry before cooking, I just do a little towel drying then go for it. These skillets are kinda pricey, but I adore them and it’s worth it. It also helps that I used my prize money from the Food Network to buy them :)

Look at how perfectly it cooks a thin, crunchy coating

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Peanut Butter and Banana Oat Cookies

Over a year ago my friend and I stumbled upon a great recipe for Banana Oatmeal Cookies, which we tried and loved. I immediately thought of how these were the perfect solution to making cookies for my dad, who happens to be Diabetic. Why so great? Well, because there is no sugar added. The sweetness is all in the natural sugars of the raisins and bananas. How does this solve my dilemma of Diabetic cookies? Because most sugar free recipes are awful. They use sugar substitutes, which cause any baked good to be horribly dry and have a strange after-taste, and I don’t like to make things that I myself wouldn’t eat.

These cookies are pure genius. I’ve changed a few things in the original recipe, but that’s just part of its charm! One adorable aspect of the recipe is that it calls for 1 cup of oats, as well as 1 cup of oat flour. Oh no, I have to buy a whole bag of a weird flour?! Is that what you’re thinking? Silly you! No! All you have to do is put the oats in a blender or food processor and kick it in gear until it becomes a powder!

Before

After!!

In fact, I make the whole recipe in my food processor. It’s quite convenient. Bananas need to be mashed? How about I pulverize them instead? Let’s add the peanut butter to that as well. Raisins need to be chopped? I think I’ll let them go for a quick whirl. Now what? Oh, just mix it all, let it sit, and plop it on the baking sheet.

Before cooking. They are just as pretty when cooked

About the peanut butter, here’s a quick story for you. There was no peanut butter in the original recipe, but I really like it and thought these needed an extra flavor and so I took away a banana and added peanut butter in its’ place. Did it work? You betcha! I was tempted to eat them all and not share with my dad, but I’m just too nice. The original also called for dates instead of raisins, but my family likes raisins so I went with those. If I were making them just for myself I might use other dried fruits, but many of them have added sugar so raisins are a safe bet if it’s sugar you’re avoiding.

I’m sure there are other reasons why these cookies are fantastic. Let’s see, Diabetic friendly, no eggs for those with egg allergies, vegan if you use vegetable oil instead of butter, they’re healthy, and I think there must be another reason. Hmmm….oh yes! They are delicious!! These cookies just plain win.

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Farmer’s Tomato Pie

Before I get going on the recipe I thought I’d give a little update on the garden. We’re still getting an overwhelming amount of tomatoes, and as a result my mom and I have made at least 4 batches of my grandma’s sauce (a recipe that will never be on this blog!) and yet there are still more. There are always more. We went away for a week, and upon our return we had more tomatoes, green beans, an eggplant, and some cucumbers. I’m very pleased to inform you all that I did find a way to use up many cucumbers, Julia Child’s baked cucumber recipe! It uses 6 whole cucumbers, and the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking provides a variety of ways to serve them. I’ve made it with the cheese sauce.  j’ai adore.

My herbs are doing alright. The basil and sage are growing strong, the parsley is ok, and the dill has completely died. I think I over-planted the pot, not expecting them to grow so much, and the dill suffered for it. Also, the green beans somehow made their way over to the dill and started growing wrapped around it. I wanted to take pics, but it’s rainy out so I didn’t.
There is also some delicious looking butternut squash growing!! I’m excited! I’m going to make butternut squash risotto for my brother’s birthday on Wednesday, and you can betcha that I’ll put the recipe on this here blog :)
We had a plethora of chili peppers as well, and as a result we ate some, froze some, and are drying out some more. And there are still many growing. Here’s how the drying ones are coming along:
I know, they are very pretty and strange looking.
Now on to the recipe! Normally I post original recipes, however as a result of my whining in my last post about too many tomatoes, my friend’s mom, Marilyn Leibe, generously suggested I make a Farmers Tomato Pie. I was unimpressed at first, thinking of a pie crust filled with ketchup, but she assured me that it is tasty and emailed me the recipe. The recipe looked way more interesting than my initial impression, which was mainly based on the name. When one thinks of a pie, they normally think of the sweet dessert kind and not the savory kind. Since this is full of tomatoes and cheese I chose to think of it as a pizza pie.
I was wary of making it at first, but faced with so many tomatoes and a lack of desire to make more sauce I figured I might as well try. I’ve never actually made a pie before, and as you’ll see in the pictures I couldn’t care less if the crust was properly crinkled or whatever it’s called. I probably should have baked the crust a little longer, but lessons have been learned.
I followed the recipe almost exactly, but I had two bags of cheese that were mostly finished so instead of measuring I just used what I had left. I used up a bag of mozzarella and cheddar cheese. They became good friends in this dish. The recipe also didn’t specify what to do with the basil other than just topping the pie after it baked, so I went with a fancy chiffonade(roll up the leaves and cut into long, thin strips).

Before baking
After baking
The end result was quite pleasing. I should have baked it a little longer, but I was nervous about over-cooking it, as well as a little hungry, so I’ll try to be more patient next time. It reminded me of pizza, but with a lighter crust and more tartness from using fresh tomatoes instead of a sauce. It tasted absolutely nothing like a ketchup pie, and for that I am grateful. I’ll probably end up making it again this week with more adjustments since I now know how it works. Maybe some chili peppers next time? And sausage too? I think it will be spectacular.

Winning is fun

Well, this isn’t a recipe, and it isn’t advice, but instead it’s even better. This is me telling you about how amazing I am! Why? Well, besides the obvious reasons, it’s because I won a Food Network Magazine Secret Ingredient contest!!!

Click here to see me on FoodNetwork’s website!

Every month, on the last page of their magazine they print a new ingredient. Then within that month it’s up to readers to make their own recipe using that ingredient, much like an Iron Chef would.

On my second try I won. The ingredient was peanuts, and I had been making many types of semifreddo so I figured I could just go with that. But I needed a fruit to go with the peanut butter, and so I selected bananas. I made the ice cream, and poured it onto a graham cracker and peanut crust that I invented in order to have more peanuts in the recipe. It was good, but not awesome, so I changed it and made it again. It approached awesomeness. So I changed it again. And submitted the recipe.

Many things happened between then and now. That was in April. Now it’s July. The point is that I won, and am currently in this month’s Food Network Magazine. I won’t post my recipe here, you just need to go buy the magazine to see it. It’s pretty epic.

Oh yea, and I spent my $500 winnings this morning. It was fantastic!!