December 2016 Fig Focus

California Fig & Cheese Appetizer Balls

This deliciously easy appetizer is our answer to the question – What should I make for the holiday party this year? This recipe is versatile, simple, and a real crowd-pleaser. Have fun with cheese and topping combinations.

A classic is blue cheese and California Figs rolled in chopped, toasted pecans, but other combinations are just as good.  Try Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs and goat cheese with almonds or dried herbes de Provence mixed with chopped fresh parsley. Or mix California Figs with feta (drained if in brine) and roll in a topping of toasted cumin seed mixed with smoked paprika and freshly ground black pepper.

Make Ahead Note: Nuts stay crunchiest when the balls are rolled within a few hours of serving, but you can make the cheese mixture and roll them in the other toppings a day ahead. 

California Fig & Cheese Balls

Combine cheeses

Stir in California Figs

Roll into balls 

Roll balls in toppings

Serving idea for California Fig & Cheese Balls

California Fig & Cheese Balls

Makes about 30 balls.

Combine Gorgonzola and cream cheeses in medium bowl.  Mix with a sturdy fork or spoon (or blend briefly in a food processor) until blended.   Mix in figs. 

Form mixture into 1-inch balls.  Cover and chill for up to 1 day if desired.

Spread nuts or other topping on a plate. Roll each ball in topping.

Arrange on a serving platter. Serve at once or cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours.

*Or roll in fresh or dried herbs or an herb blend such as Italian Herb seasoning, paprika (smoked or regular), or toasted sesame or other seeds.

Lorelle Del Matto, MS, RDN, is a nutrition and culinary professional who combines a passion for food (and California Figs) with a quest for nutrition knowledge. She believes well designed and tested recipes can be great communication tools. Lorelle has a Master’s of Science in nutrition biology and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Lorelle developed her culinary skills in France at La Varenne, Ecole de Cuisine. You can find more recipes and healthy lifestyle tips to inspire you to “savor the art of healthy eating” on her website lorelledelmatto.com and on Twitter and Facebook

Sweeten Your Holidays with California Figs 

California Fig Cookie Party with Alice Medrich on Facebook Live

If November has all eyes on the Thanksgiving table, then December ushers in a warm kitchen with the aroma of hot cookies coming from the oven. Whether you’re planning a cookie swap or just looking for sweet, hand-baked holiday gifts, cookies are meant to be shared! We’re excited to welcome cookie lover and brilliant baker, Alice Medrich, to talk about her cookie baking tips as she shows how to bake the fig squares she created using California Figs. Join us on Facebook for our next Facebook Live session with Alice on December 1 at 12p PT. No need to RSVP– just pop onto the Facebook page at the time of the session and bring your cookie-baking questions. It’s going to be a fig-tastic time!

Hanukkah

Tami Weiser of the Weiser Kitchen is back with a recipe perfect for celebrating Hanukkah later in December. Stay tuned to Facebook for her California Fig Sufganiyot– you won’t want to miss her Fig stuffed doughnuts!

Are you still trying to find the right main dish for your December holiday table? Make John Toulze’s Fig Braised Short Ribs! John is Executive Chef of the girl & the fig. Get his tips for a proper sear and other cooking tricks from our recent Facebook Live session where he demonstrates on video how to make this delectable dish!

Count on California Figs—Nutrition Tips and Tidbits

Sweet and Healthy Treats for Holiday Gift Giving

The best holiday gifts are those you make. Versatile California Figs add an elegant and healthy twist to your sweet treat creations. Enjoy these holiday gift ideas that pair Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid California Figs with everyone’s favorite, chocolate. Don’t forget to include the recipe with our website, www.valleyfig.com, printed on a holiday card or paper. Your friends and family will enjoy creating their own healthy, sweet treats with California Figs. 

Choco-California Fig Muffins Layer recipe dry ingredients in a decorative container. Add a package of California Mission Figs and a jar of Orchard Choice California Fig Spread for a cheerful breakfast gift.

Chocolate California Fig Bon Bons Tuck some California Figs, hazelnuts, and semisweet chocolate, along with a small bottle of rum, an orange, and some vanilla wafers, into a decorative box for a sweet treat. These no-bake holiday cookie balls are simply the best. 

Chocolate-Dipped Stuffed Figs (our all-time favorite recipe) Choose a small appetizer-size plate and grace it with beautiful chocolate dipped, stuffed California Figs infused with brandy. Friends and family will marvel at your culinary skills. No need to tell them this was the easiest holiday gift you’ve ever made.

A Few More Gift Ideas

Looking for a last minute hostess gift? Make up a batch of our featured December recipe, California Fig & Cheese Balls, and arrange on a beautiful holiday platter.

Keep a selection of Orchard Choice California Fig Spreads, whole Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, artisan crackers, nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios), cheeses and some cocktail napkins on hand. Wrap a selection on a cheese tray with colorful cellophane and tie with a bright holiday ribbon.

Decorative jars abound during the holidays. Choose a few and fill them with Apple, Ginger and California Fig Salsa. Bake up some pita crisps and package-up in colorful holiday bags. 

Happy Holidays from Everyone at Valley Fig Growers!

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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