January 2017 Fig Focus

Welcome 2017!

Our focus this year will be on California Mediterranean. We’re starting off our monthly recipe series by giving Nachos a Mediterranean spin. We layered crisp pita chips with a salsa of California Figs, olives, bell peppers and tomatoes and a mix of feta and mozzarella cheeses. Warmed in the oven, the cheese melds together the ingredients into an irresistible appetizer or snack to share with friends and family. Follow with a simple soup and salad and you’ve got the perfect meal for a cool January evening.

Mediterranean Nachos with California Figs Fig-Olive Salsa

Salsa ingredients

Spread half the pita chips.

Top with half the California Fig salsa.

Sprinkle with half of each of the cheeses.

Layer on the remaining pita chips.

Sprinkle on the remaining cheeses and salsa.

Bake in the oven until cheese melts.

Mediterranean Nachos with California Figs Fig-Olive Salsa

1 cup Blue Ribbon® Orchard Choice® or Sun-Maid® California Figs, stemmed and finely chopped

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1 cup chopped Roma (plum) tomato

½ cup finely chopped red onion

½ cup chopped, pitted Kalamata olives

1/3 cup finely chopped parsley

¼ cup thinly sliced green onion

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 teaspoons dried oregano

¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional

For Nachos:

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (part-skim or regular, not fresh mozzarella)

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (drained if in brine)

6 ounces pita chips, preferably whole grain, or homemade pita chips (recipe follows)

1. In a small bowl, stir together Salsa ingredients. Toss to blend well. Set aside for 10 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally.

2. To bake and serve: Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly oil a 14-inch inch pizza pan, 7-x-11-inch rectangular baking pan or other a shallow oven-safe pan. Spread half of chips in a single layer on pan. Top with half of Fig Salsa and sprinkle with half of each of the cheeses. Top with remaining chips, Salsa and cheese.

3. Bake nachos in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until mozzarella cheese melts. Serve at once. Serves 8 to 10, as an appetizer.

To make pita chips: Preheat oven to 375°. Warm 1/3 cup olive oil with 1 clove smashed garlic in small saucepan over medium heat, just until fragrant. Discard garlic. Slice 6 ounces whole wheat pita breads in half lengthwise to make 4 rounds. Lightly brush one sides of each with garlic-oil. Cut each round into triangle-shaped wedges. Spread in single layer on a large, oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt, if desired. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until crisp.

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.

Start a New Routine: Cook the California-Mediterranean Way in the New Year

Do you make resolutions in January? We’re taking a different tack by exploring a California-Mediterranean approach to cooking this month. Curious what that means? Registered dietitian, Cherryl Bell, demystifies Cal-Med cuisine and offers her tips on Facebook to what makes this style of cooking delicious and full of vibrant foods like California Figs, to get you feeling good. We’re sharing California-Mediterranean recipes all month long on Instagram. Need even more ideas? Check out this Pinterest board for recipes to save and dishes to savor. We’d love to hear how you might incorporate California Figs into this style of cuisine– share your ideas and thoughts over on Twitter.

Count on California Figs—Nutrition Tips and Tidbits

Looks like 2017 could be a good year for California Figs based on a national food trend survey of registered dietitians. Naturally sweet, high fiber California Figs are full of whole fruit goodness, health-promoting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and fit right in with what dietitians are recommending.

“What’s Trending in Nutrition” polled registered dietitians (RDs) across the country on 2017’s big trends in food and eating. This year overall, results reveal consumers’ interest in choosing clean and mindful eating as their path to healthier living.

Based on the survey, 59 percent say consumers will choose to “eat clean,” by looking to consume foods that are less processed and more whole foods such as veggies, fruits, ancient grains and green tea, as well as plant-based proteins like nuts and seeds.

Top 10 Superfoods for 2017:

1.Seeds, like chia and hemp

2.Avocado

3.Nuts, like almonds and walnuts

4.Fermented foods like yogurt

5.Ancient grains

6.Kale

7.Green tea

8.Coconut products

9.Exotic fruits

10.Salmon

Top Tips from Registered Dietitians for Eating Healthier in 2017

  • Eat more servings of fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose high-quality, nutrient-rich foods in all food groups.
  • Limit consumption of highly processed foods.
  • And instead of focusing on diets, RDs recommend choosing foods based on a wholesome ingredient list and high level of quality proteins and carbs.
    Source: New York, Dec. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian.

We think California Figs, both dark purple Mission and amber Goldens, are a super food in their own right. Enjoy them as a snack or paired with many of this year’s Top 10 Super Foods.

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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