I've already learned the South has a few special ‘treats' to share with the rest of the country.
One is locust the size of your forearm. I'm not kidding. On a walk down by the bay the other afternoon, I almost died of shock when I saw them among the reeds. And just in case you don't believe me, take a look at one of the pictures Stuart captured of the monster (yes, he insisted on scooping it up in his shoe and bringing to home to photograph).
I kindly yelled that if that thing got loose in the car, I was going to run off the road and we were all going to die. Not to be dramatic, or anything.
A far more wonderful (and tasty!) treat the South has to offer this time of year, is the beautiful, perishable, delicate, juicy delight that is the fig.
Oh sweet figs. What have I done without you all my life.
Truly, my first experience with a fig didn't occur until last week. I excitingly bit into one at a local market…and from that moment, I was forever in love. I saw figs in my granola. Lined in my dehydrator. Mixed in my homemade granola. Preserved figs on my toast. Fig syrup on my waffles. Fig wine. Fig beer. Fig kombucha. Fig everything!!!!!!
I went back the next day to pick up a few more pounds.
And then a few more days after that, I drove back to pick up about ten pounds (for fig jam, of course).
But before the fig jam recipe later this week, I want to share with you my (so-far) most favorite way to enjoy the unique fig.
Stuart and I played with this recipe when we had a guest over for dinner last week. We served them as an appetizer and they were an incredibly wonderful treat.
We felt, like, so fancy and refined.
Roasted Figs with Goat Cheese & Honey
You will need:
– 12 figs, quartered 3/4 of the way down (so as to leave the bottom of the fig intact)
– A small log of goat cheese (about 12 tablespoons total)
– 6 teaspoons honey
Step One: Arrange the quartered figs in a parchment-lined baking pan. Then, gently stuff each fig with roughly a tablespoon of goat cheese. After you place the cheese in the middle of the fig, you can gently squeeze together the four pieces around the cheese to help hold the shape.
Step Two: Roast the figs in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
Step Three: Remove the figs from the oven and quickly drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon of warmed honey, per fig.
If you're in the mood to kick these appetizers up a notch, do what we did! While the figs were roasting, Stuart threw together a sweet dough (our pasta dough recipe with the salt omitted and a few tablespoons of rapadura added), rolled it thin, cut it into disks, and quickly pan fried them in a bit of butter. Then, we placed each fig atop a sweet-dough-cracker so that when we drizzled the honey, the excess would catch on the cracker (I'm sure a store bought cracker would work just fine).
Oh. Me. Oh. My. Oh me oh my.
I can hardly wait to make these again.
Even though this is a seasonal treat (good things, after all, can't last forever), I'm making sure to make the most of these beautiful fruits while I've still got 'em. I'm thinking that come fall, this recipe would be delicious with a pear slice instead of the fig.
It's been a treat down here – getting to explore all parts of God's creation that I hadn't experienced before. Treats like gumbo. And blue crab. And shrimp stock.
And, also, might I just mention – this humidity, albeit hot, is incredible for the skin. My elbows are like a baby's bottom, for the first time in my life!
But it also makes me sweat. So it has it's trade-offs.
It also allows things like this to grow:
Which is just creepy.
Enjoy the figs!
For other great meal ideas, no matter what your dietary restrictions, check out the meal planning service I use: Real Plans.