July 2014 Fig Focus

Too Hot to Cook!

We’ve got you covered with some tasty recipes that don’t require turning on the oven. It may be too hot to cook, it’s not to hot to enjoy some great tasting California Fig dishes.

Curried Chicken Salad with Figs and Cashews

To ensure that the chicken cooks through, start with cold water in step 1 and don’t use breasts that weigh more than 8 ounces or are thicker than 1 inch. This salad can be served in a sandwich or spooned over leafy greens.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 4
 (6- to 8-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, no more than 1-inch thick, trimmed
  • 1 
teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1
 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/8
 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 
cup mayonnaise
  • 2 
tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 
teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 
celery ribs, minced
  • 1 
shallot, minced
  • 1 cup (6 oz.) Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs, stemmed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 
cup raw cashews, toasted and chopped coarse
  • 2 
tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Dissolve 2 tablespoons salt in 6 cups cold water in Dutch oven. Submerge chicken in water. Heat pot over medium heat until water registers 170°F. Turn off heat, cover pot, and let stand until chicken registers 165°F, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer chicken to paper towel–lined tray. Refrigerate until chicken is cool, about 30 minutes. While chicken cools, microwave vegetable oil, curry powder, and cayenne, uncovered, until oil is hot, about 30 seconds. Whisk mayonnaise, lime juice, ginger, and curry mixture together in large bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and cut into ½-inch pieces. Transfer chicken to bowl with mayonnaise mixture. Add celery, shallot, figs, cashews, and cilantro; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. (Salad can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

Fruit Salsa with Figs, Pineapple and Mango

Serve with tortilla or pita chips or grilled chicken or fish.

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cups diced Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh mango, peach or nectarine
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 1/2 to 1 jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or chopped almonds

Combine all ingredients except nuts in medium bowl. Cover and chill for about 1 hour. Stir in nuts just before serving with grilled chicken or turkey.

No Bake Rocky Road Bars with Figs

Try not to crush the graham crackers into crumbs, but rather break them into large pieces. Peanuts can be substituted for the almonds.

Makes 16 servings

  • 6 whole graham crackers, broken into 1-in. pieces
  • 2
 1/2 cups lightly packed (6 1/4 oz.) mini-marshmallows
  • 1 cup (6 oz.) Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs, stemmed and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup (5 oz.) whole skin-on almonds, toasted and chopped coarse
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate chopped coarse
  • 2 
tablespoons light corn syrup

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a foil sling and grease the foil. Toss the graham cracker pieces, 1 cup of the marshmallows, figs, and the almonds together in a large bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the remaining 1 ½ cups marshmallows and cook, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chocolate and corn syrup and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Working quickly, pour the chocolate mixture over the graham cracker mixture and fold gently until evenly coated. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking pan and press evenly into the pan with a greased spatula. Refrigerate the bars until firm, about 2 hours. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil sling, cut into squares, and serve.

To Make Ahead
The bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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

So far we’ve taken to heart the Super Three, Gone Fishing and picked up some tips on Drinking More Water. Now, it’s time to listen.

Being a good listener enriches your life and the lives of those around you. Listening is not the same as hearing. Hearing is easy; listening is much harder. Here are some tips to make you a better listener:

  • You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. It’s more beneficial to listen than to talk.
  • Focus all your senses on what the person is saying. Don’t think about what you want to say.
  • Remove distractions—turn off your cell phone!
  • Don’t interrupt. Resist the temptation to share your experiences. Be patient.
  • Use your body language to show you are listening and engaged. Lean forward, nod, look the person straight in the eye.

It’s summer and the kids are home. Are they listening to you? More importantly, are you listening to them? Showing your kids that you listen to them is more likely to result in them listening to you. Be around a lot so you have the opportunity to chat; in the car and on a walk are great opportunities. Ask them what they think and really listen to what they say. Engage them by asking open-ended questions, ones that can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no”.

Practice and learn to be a good listener—the benefits are well worth the effort

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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