August 2014 Fig Focus

Introducing Orchard Choice California Fig Spreads–Fruit Spreads with Attitude

Back to School is Right Around the Corner!

It’s been a great summer and now it’s time to get ready for school to start. How about asking the kids which of these three recipes they want to try first. They can help with the preparation. When kids are involved with making choices and preparing foods, they are more likely to eat their lunch, instead of trading it away.

Easy Fig and Apple Turnovers
Serves 8

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped coarse
  • ½ cup chopped dried figs (about 3 ounces), stems removed
  • ½ cup sugar plus 2 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 (9 by 9 ½-inch) sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • Flour for dusting
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Adjust two oven racks to upper- and lower- middle positions and heat oven to 400 degrees. Pulse apple, dried figs, ½ cup sugar, lemon juice, and salt in food processor until apple and figs are coarsely ground, about 5 one-second pulses. Let fig-apple mixture sit for 5 minutes, then drain through fine meshed strainer set over medium bowl, reserving any accumulated juice.

Unfold one sheet of puff pastry on lightly floured counter and roll into 10-inch square. Following photos, cut pastry into four 5-inch squares. Mound 1 tablespoon applesauce and 1 tablespoon of fig and apple mixture in center of each square. Brush edges of each square with strained juice and fold into triangles. Crimp edges together with fork to seal. Lay turnovers on wire rack and freeze for 15 minutes (or refrigerate for 30 minutes). Repeat with remaining sheet of pastry, applesauce, and fig and apple filling.

Toss remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with cinnamon. Remove rack from freezer, brush turnovers with reserved juice, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Lay turnovers on two parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until well browned, 20 to 26 minutes, rotating and switching baking sheets halfway through baking. Transfer turnovers to wire rack and let cool slightly before serving.

NOTES: If you don’t have a food processor, grate the apple on the large holes of a box grater, then toss with the sugar, lemon juice, salt and chopped dried figs and let sit as directed in step 1. The turnovers can be served either warm or cooled to room temperature. They taste best the same day they are made and do not reheat well.

Recipe provided by Cook’s Country TV. Valley Fig Growers is a proud sponsor of Cook’s Country TV.

Granola Bars with Dried Figs and Ginger
Makes about 36 bars

  • 7 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3/4cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole almonds, pecans, peanuts, or walnuts, chopped coarse
  • 1 cup diced Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs (about 6 ounces), stems removed
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystalized ginger

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss oats, oil, and salt together in large bowl; spread out over 12 by 18-inch baking sheet and bake, stirring often, until pale gold, 20 to 25 minutes.

While oats are toasting, heat honey and brown sugar in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon (if using) and set aside.

Remove oats from oven and lower oven temperature to 300 degrees. Transfer toasted oats to large bowl and toss with honey mixture until evenly coated. Stir in nuts, dried figs, and crystallized ginger.

Line 12 by 18-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil, then coat lightly with vegetable oil spray. Spread oat mixture out on prepared pan, then pack tightly into even layer using wet metal spatula. Bake until golden, 35 to 40 minutes.

Let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes, then cut into 2 by 3-inch bars in pan. Let cool completely before removing from pan.

NOTE: Quick-cooking oats cannot be substituted for the old-fashioned oats here because their texture becomes too sandy when toasted. The bars can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Spaghetti with Figs, Lemon & Olive Oil
Let the dish rest briefly before serving so the flavors develop and the sauce thickens.
Makes 4 to 6 servings (nutrition analysis reflects 6 servings)

  • Table salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/4 
cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1
 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/4
 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs, stemmed and chopped into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 
teaspoons finely grated zest and 1/4 cup juice from 3 lemons
  • 1
 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2
 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Reserve 1¾ cups cooking water, drain pasta into colander, and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallot and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Whisk 1 1/2 cups of reserved pasta cooking water and cream into pot; add figs and stir to combine; bring to simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat, return pasta, and stir until coated. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Cover and let pasta stand 2 minutes, tossing frequently and adjusting consistency with remaining 1/4 cup reserved pasta water if necessary. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, drizzling individual portions with oil and sprinkling with cheese.

Recipe provided by Cook’s Country TV. Valley Fig Growers is a proud sponsor of Cook’s Country TV.

“Try ‘Em, You’ll Like ‘Em” Healthy Lifestyle Tips

So far we’ve taken to heart the Super Three, Gone Fishing, picked up some tips on drinking more water, learned to listen, and now we’re going to wash up.

Wash hands, surfaces, fresh veggies and fruits often.

Illness-causing bacteria can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, and cutting boards. Unless you wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces the right way, you could spread bacteria to your food, and your family.

Follow these top tips to keep your family safe:

  • Wash hands the right way—for 20 seconds with soap and running water—to stop the spread of illness-causing bacteria.
  • Wash surfaces and utensils after each use.

Bacteria can be spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, and counter tops. To prevent this: 

  • Wash fruits and veggies—but, no need to wash dried fruits such as figs.

Did you know that—even if you plan to peel fruits and veggies—it’s important to wash them first because bacteria can spread from the outside to the inside as you cut or peel them?

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

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