January/February/March 2012 Fig Focus

Fabulous Fig Photo Contest

Win a Trip to Watch the Taping of America’s Test Kitchen and Meet Chris Kimball

Win a trip to Boston to watch a filming of America’s Test Kitchen. We’re holding a Facebook fig photo contest with our friends at Cook’s Country and America’s Test Kitchen. One Grand Prize Winner and their One Guest will receive a 3-day/2-night trip in May to visit the America’s Test Kitchen set outside Boston to watch a day’s filming of the show. Prize includes round-trip coach air transportation for 2; 3 days/2 nights’ hotel accommodations; and $500.00 spending money. Other winners will receive cookbooks, aprons and coupons for free Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid California Fig products. The contest starts Feb. 6. Visit our Facebook page and click on the Contests tab for more details.

Calling All Shutter Bug Fig Lovers!

Valley Fig Growers has been an enthusiastic supporter of Cook’s Country TV since the series began in 2007 and we recently signed up for a fifth  season. We are so excited to be hosting the Fabulous Fig Photo Contest to send one lucky winner to watch the taping of the 13th season of America’s Test Kitchen at America’s Test Kitchen in Boston. Read more about the contest on our Facebook page and share with all your friends.

Cook’s Country uncovers the best of American home cooking. Their recipes are developed through in-depth kitchen testing. The result: foolproof recipes you can trust to work the first time—and every time. Cook’s Country features the cast and crew of America’s Test Kitchen, the top-rated cooking show on public television.

Here’s one of the Cook’s Country TV (CCTV) recipes featuring California Dried Figs. Find more CCTV recipes at our beautiful new website, www.valleyfig.com.

Herbed Goat Cheese and Fig Spread

Goat cheese is sold in a variety of sizes, including both 11- and 12-ounce logs. Either size can be used in this recipe.

Serves 10 TO 12

INGREDIENTS

1 (11- or 12-ounce) log 
goat cheese

3 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1 cup (6 ounces) Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs, stemmed and minced

Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Process the goat cheese, milk, chives, olive oil and thyme in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in figs, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crackers or a thinly sliced baguette.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Throughout history, many foods and drinks have had a reputation for making romance more pleasurable. California figs and chocolate sensuously avail themselves to the cook in Warm Chocolate Fig Cakes.

Warm Chocolate and Fig Cakes

Makes 8 individual cakes

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs, chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped hazelnuts or pecans

2/3 cup butter

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

2 large eggs

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter eight 3/4 cup custard cups or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place cups on baking sheet. Sprinkle figs and nuts in bottom of cups, dividing evenly. Heat butter, chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate in small saucepan over low heat or in microwave until smoothly melted; set aside to cool slightly. Beat eggs, egg yolks and sugar on high speed of electric mixer until mixture is very thick, like meringue, about 3 minutes. Fold in chocolate mixture, gently but thoroughly. Fold in flour.

2. Spoon batter into prepared dishes, filling almost full. Bake in center of oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until puffed and set around edges. Cool 5 minutes. Run knife around edge of dish and invert cake onto serving plate. Serve immediately. Delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Five Fabulous Fig Facts

1. Figs are one of the earliest fruits cultivated by man. Today, the United States, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Spain are the primary producing nations of dried figs.

2. In California, four principal varieties of figs are grown: the amber colored Calimyrna; the dark, purplish colored Mission; the Adriatic and the Kadota. California grows many varieties of figs, but the two most common are the golden Calimyrna and the dark purple Mission.

3. For most recipes you can use either golden Calimyrna Figs or dark purple Mission Figs. Calimyrnas tend to be larger, so if you are stuffing figs, we suggest you use these. Mission Figs tend to be a bit smaller and are great for recipes that call for sliced, chopped or diced figs. You can also stuff the Mission Figs, but it is not as easy. Keep the color of the figs in mind when you are choosing your recipes. Would you like to see a dark colored fig or would a light golden fig look better?

4. The dark purple fig is the Mission Fig. Mission Figs are known for their distinctive sweet flavor and deep purple color. The seeds tend to be tinier than in other varieties and the skin is thinner.

5. The golden, amber-colored Calimyrna Fig is know for it sweet, slightly nutty flavor. The seeds in the Calimyrna tend to be a little more robust and the skin a little chewier.

2012 Top Food Trends

One of our favorite annual food shows just took place in San Francisco. If you missed the 37th Winter Fancy Food Show, here are the trends that have been identified by the show’s owner, the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade.

  • Innovative salad ingredients and seasonings.
  • Healthy and all-natural cocktail mixers.
  • Pickled fruits and vegetables.
  • Fig and date flavors. Be a Trendsetter and Enjoy the taste of good health with California Figs!

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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