Friday, August 12, 2011

Affinity for Figs

Exciting news!  Next week is Breakfast at Tracy's.  I invite you to pour yourself a cup of coffee and join me in my kitchen for breakfast on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Please come hungry!

 I don't know why but there is something about figs that intrigues me. 

They aren't very pretty on the outside. 

Cut open they are unusual-looking  on the inside.

But bite into a soft ripe fig and experience a sweetness and juiciness like none other.

I pleaded with my husband to plant me a fig tree so I could grow my very own figs.  He finally consented.  That was two seasons ago.  We bought it and planted it, following the directions from many different sources.  We waited.  That year, five figs grew.  Sadly, we caught a squirrel chowing down on two of them.  That was the last day our little tree was not covered with a net.

This year is a different story.  I can hardly wait to bite into these beauties.  And oh, the recipes I will create.  It's not quite time.  Soon the figs will be soft enough to pick.  We counted over 80 figs!  For now, I will buy a container or two at the market and excitedly look forward to my very own supply.

Following is a "less is more" recipe.  A tiny bit of cheese, some vanilla and spice, and a tiny drizzle of honey is all it takes to take figs to the next level.  The result is a sweet burst of flavor with each bite.

Honeyed Figs

2 tablespoons Neufchatel cheese, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
12 medium fresh figs
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Coat flat baking pan with nonstick spray.  In small bowl, stir together Neufchatel, vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon until smooth.  Cut figs in half lengthwise leaving stem on simply for looks.  Coat cut side of each half fig with about 1/2 teaspoon cheese mixture and place in baking pan.

Sprinkle fig halves with cinnamon and drizzle sparingly with honey.  Bake 20 minutes, until hot and caramelized.  Makes 4 servings, 6 fig halves each, with 1 point plus and 132 calories per serving.

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