Mediterranean Summer Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Figs and Kasseri

Combining thyme and mint in one dish is common throughout Greece and Turkey. Look for the best summer tomatoes you can find, it will make the salad shine. Pomegranate molasses is found in most supermarkets or any middle eastern grocery store.

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1½ lbs heirloom tomatoes, chopped into ½ inch dice (2-3 large)

½ pint (about 8) figs, quartered

1 t fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1 T fresh mint leaves, chopped

¼ C red onion, finely chopped

6 C baby arugula or mixed seasonal greens

1½ C crumbled Kasseri cheese (or Feta)

 

Dressing

Juice of 1 lemon

2 t pomegranate molasses (or good quality balsamic vinegar and 1 T honey)

¼ C olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a large serving bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients except the cheese. Whisk together the dressing and pour it over the salad. Toss well. Add the cheese and toss lightly. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

 

Note: make it a main course by adding chunks of cooked chicken.

 

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Cranberry & Fig Chutney with Walnuts

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A perfect accompaniment for all of the holiday cooking ahead, this side dish is a new spin on an old favorite. Don’t overcook it, you want it luscious and thick, not sticky.

12 ounces fresh cranberries
¼ C onion, minced
1 C light brown sugar
½ C orange juice
½ C apple cider vinegar
¼ C raisins
8 dried black mission figs, cut into eighths
1 T fresh ginger, finely minced
½ t ground cinnamon
½ t red pepper flakes
1/3 C walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Add all the ingredients, with the exception of the chopped walnuts, to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to bring the mix to a simmer, and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chutney thickens some. Remove from the heat, stir in the nuts and let cool slightly before serving. Serves 12-15.

 

 

 


Fig & Orange Muffins (GF)

Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman, The New York Times

1 C dried black mission figs, chopped
1 C orange juice
1 C cornmeal or polenta (fine-ground cornmeal)
1 C Bob’s all-purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour
¾ t xantham gum
¾ t sea salt
1 T baking powder
½ t baking soda
2 eggs
1¼ C buttermilk
¼ C honey
¼ C canola or safflower oil

Put the chopped figs in a bowl and pour in the orange juice; let steep for at least an hour, or overnight. Drain ¼ cup of the orange juice (this will probably be all that is left if you let the figs sit overnight), and add it to the buttermilk.

Preheat the oven to 350̊F. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin.

Sift together all the dry ingredients into a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs with the buttermilk, orange juice, honey and oil. Working quickly, add the wet ingredients into the dry and then fold in the chopped figs. Don’t over mix, but be sure there isn’t any flour left in the bottom of the bowl. Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, fill muffin cups to the top. Bake 18-20 minutes, until lightly brown and well risen. Allow the muffins to cool before removing them from the tin. Makes 12 muffins. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator, 2-3 days.  Muffins are best reheated in a toaster oven.



Fig Toasts

Sauteeing figs caramelizes and intensifies the sugars. These little toasts combine that luscious sweetness with the sharp saltiness of feta cheese.  Finishing them off with balsamic syrup, topped with a peppery fresh mint leaf, will leave you craving more.  They make a great hors d’oeuvre or first course.

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