February/March 2013 Fig Focus

Love At First Bite Contest Winners!

Many thanks to everyone who entered our Facebook contest, Love at First Bite. We had so many great entries. Our grand prize winner, Richard W. from South Carolina, will be jetting off to Boston to watch a filming of America’s Test Kitchen and enjoy a “Taste of Boston”. Visit our Facebook page and website to see all the winning entries.

Here’s Richard’s winning entry:

“My most memorable moment with a fig is the one I was eating while surf fishing here in Myrtle Beach S.C. just before taking a direct hit to the head by lightning. They found the fig squished in my hand due to muscle contraction :).”

Second place congratulations go to:

Catherine W. – Arizona

 “My most memorable moment with a fig was a knockout. Six years old, running out to snag the first ripe fig off our tree. Stepped on the business end of a rake, causing the handle to fly up and conk my noggin. Good news? Sympathy ripe fig upon consciousness.”

Mary F. – California

 “My most memorable moment with a fig is after my sister died and I saw that the new owner removed every plant from her garden! I couldn’t help myself; I snuck into the backyard to see if the fig tree was still there. Fig, eaten slowly… with tears.”

Prizes and Third Place winners can be found at http://bit.ly/XNUWip.

Healthy Tips and Counting

This year we’re highlighting one new lifestyle tip each month that you can incorporate into your day. By the end of the year, you’ll have 12 new ways to help you live a healthy, happy, active lifestyle.

Tip #1 for January–Vegetarian for a day…or two…or three

Tip #2 for February—Focus on fiber. Most people will benefit from adding more fiber to their diet. With a few simple additions, you can reap big rewards ranging from disease prevention to boosting weight loss.

Start small by adding a few grams of fiber each week. There’s a great article at WebMD that offers some handy tips and “20 Stealthy Ways to Slip More Fiber Into Your Diet”.  The article is titled “Fiber: Give Yourself a Fresh Start for Health,”

One of their six tips is “Learn to Love Labels”. It recommends reading labels and looking for good (10% of your daily value or about 2.5 grams) and excellent (20% of your daily value or about 5 grams) sources of fiber.

Check out our Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid labels. California Dried Figs provide a tasty 5 grams of fiber in a serving of just 3 to 5 figs.  Keep a bag of figs handy and enjoy a few for a snack each day. Read more about fiber and peruse our convenient list of fiber rich recipes.

Tip #3 for March—Be a breakfast believer. Make March the month you make breakfast a priority. Commit to eating breakfast every day for a healthful start. Benefits include increased energy and increased ability to pay attention—that goes for adults and children.  Fruits, combined with lean protein and whole grains make a balanced, long-lasting breakfast.

Short on time? Throw some chopped dried figs, whole grain cereal and nuts together in a zip top bag, grab a carton of low fat or nonfat yogurt and scoot out the door. For more breakfast and healthy eating tips visit our website www.valleyfig.com and try our kitchen-tested recipe for Bunch of Crunch Honey Fig Granola.

Easter Comes Early This Year, March 31

Whether you’re planning a family brunch or elegant dinner with friends, here are some great recipe ideas to make your day memorable.

Fig, Blue Cheese and Walnut-Stuffed Pork Loin

Makes 8 servings

2 1/2 pound boneless center-cut pork loin, fat trimmed

1 cup stemmed, finely chopped (about 1/3-inch) Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs

1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese

1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion

Herb Rub

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 tablespoons Italian Herb Seasoning

1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon garlic salt

3/4 teaspoon lemon pepper or ground black pepper

To butterfly loin, make a lengthwise slice down center, cutting about 2/3 of the way through it. Open loin like a book. Without cutting through meat, make another lengthwise slice on each half. Press meat flat. Cover with plastic wrap and pound with meat mallet or rolling pin to even 1/2-inch thickness. Mix figs, cheese, walnuts and green onion; set aside. Mix Rub ingredients. Spread 1 tablespoon Rub on top surface of pork. Firmly pat fig mixture over herbs on pork, leaving a 1/2-inch border at edges. Roll up loin, starting at long side; secure at 2-inch intervals with kitchen twine. Place on oiled roasting pan. Spread remaining Rub on meat. Preheat oven to 375°. Roast pork for 45 to 60 minutes, until thermometer registers 145 degrees. (Insert thermometer into the meat, not filling.) Let pork stand 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Passover Begins March 25

Two of our favorite recipes, Fig, Chocolate Almond Macaroons and Pistachio-Fig Macaroons, are great for Passover.

Fig-Chocolate-Almond Macaroons

1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid figs

2 cups toasted slivered blanched almonds

1 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

Confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°. Line large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. (If using foil, oil or coat with nonstick spray.) Remove stems and chop figs to about 1/3-inch size; set aside. In food processor, process almonds with sugar, cocoa powder and salt until nuts are finely ground. Add egg, egg white and almond extract. Process until well blended. Remove dough from processor to separate bowl. Stir in figs and chocolate morsels. With lightly oiled hands, form rounded tablespoon portions of dough into balls. Place balls, 2 inches apart, on sheet. With oiled fingers, flatten each to 1 3/4-inch circle. Bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes or until cookies are set. (They will puff slightly and be dry on top. Do not over bake.) Cool on wire rack. Sift confectioners’ sugar over cookies. Makes 30 cookies.

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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