Saturday, October 5, 2013

DIY Figgy Newtons & Preserved Figs

These will not mesh with the luau theme of my aunt's party this weekend,  but 'tis the season.  And if we can control ourselves from eating them all, here's what we'll bring:

Figgy Newtons
1 stick cold butter, cubed
1/3 cup evaporated cane sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups fig preserves (recipe follows)

Drain figs from their syrup (I'm reducing the syrup to save for another recipe). Puree figs into a thick paste.  Return figs to stove and simmer, stirring, to a thick jam consistency.

In a large bowl, cream butter & sugar together.  Add egg, vanilla, and zest and combine.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until well combined.

Using lots of flour for dusting, roll out dough into long stripes about 3-4 inches wide, 1/4 inch thick.  Spread fig paste and fold dough in half lengthwise and seal dough by pressing together along the edges.  Cut into squares and bake on parchment on cookie sheets at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until cookies begin to brown.

Fig Preserves
2 cups filtered water
6 cups evaporated cane sugar
9 inches of cinnamon stick
a lemon, seeded, quartered, sliced thin
1/4 orange, seeded, sliced thin
8 cups (36 ounces) fresh figs from my mom's neighbor's tree, washed & destemmed

Combine water, sugar and cinnamon in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and add figs and citrus slices.  Cover and cook 45 minutes.

If not using right away, can by filling sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space, add lids and rings (not too tight).  Boil jars for 15 minutes on a canning rack.  Remove from water bath and let sit, undisturbed overnight.

(adapted from HGTV recipes)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Spinach Linguini with Mushrooms

Even though I was babysitting 2 little girls, that did not detour me from making this dish.  The girls both assured me that they liked mushrooms (but I keep the pasta separate just in case).

1/2 pound spinach linguini, boiled until al dente in salted water
olive oil
1/2 red onion, quartered and sliced thin
sea salt
a few sprigs of thyme, leaves only
6 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
black pepper
small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
small handful pinenuts, toasted

Cook and drain pasta, return to pot and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to keep from sticking together.

In a large saute pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat and lightly caramelize the onions (add thyme also if using dried), stirring frequently.  Increase heat to medium-high, add another tablespoon of olive oil and the mushrooms, stirring frequently until browned.  Turn off heat and add garlic (and thyme if fresh), stir and let sit covered for a couple minutes.  Add sea salt & pepper to taste.  Serve over pasta, topped with parsley & pinenuts, drizzling more olive oil as needed.