May 2014 Fig Focus

Valley Fig Growers

Mother’s Day—May 11

Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May, is a day dedicated to honoring and recognizing the sacrifices and accomplishments of mothers. The top events and things to do on Mother’s Day include treating mom to brunch or dinner and giving flowers (hint, hint).

Instead of going out to brunch or dinner, take the time to make a special meal at home for mom. Here are two tasty ideas—featuring figs, of course.

French Quiche with Leeks, Figs and Goat Cheese

This recipe works with either fresh or frozen peaches. Substitute 2 cups frozen peaches for fresh. Makes 6.

Filling

  • 4 ounces bacon (about 4 slices), halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into ½-in. pieces
  • 1 ¼ pounds thinly sliced leeks (about 4 med., white and light-green parts only)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 ½ teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs (about 6 oz.)

Custard and Pie Crust

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 Pillsbury Ready to Roll Pie Crust

FOR THE CRUST: Roll dough out into 12-in. circle. Move dough to 9-in. pie plate, gently pressing into corners to secure and fluting edges as desired. To prevent shrinkage, refrigerate dough for 20 minutes, and then transfer to freezer for 10 minutes. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 375°. Spray two 12-in. square pieces of foil lightly with cooking spray and arrange, greased-side down, in chilled pie shell. Top with pie weights and fold excess foil over edges of dough. Bake for 20 minutes until surface of dough no longer looks wet. Carefully remove hot weights and foil and continue to bake (uncovered) until just golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before proceeding with recipe. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.

FOR THE FILLING: Cook bacon in 12-in. nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain bacon through mesh strainer set over small bowl; transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Return 2 teaspoons bacon fat to skillet, heat over med-low heat until shimmering. Add leeks, garlic, and salt and cook, covered, until tender, about 6 minutes. Uncover and cook until bottom of pan is dry, about 3 minutes. Transfer leek mixture to bowl and let cool 5 minutes. Toss with thyme and flour until combined.

FOR THE CUSTARD: Whisk eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Stir in leek mixture, dried figs and cheese and stir to combine. Fill pie shell. Sprinkle with reserved bacon. Bake until crust is golden brown and center of quiche is just set, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. Serve. Serves 8.

Recipe compliments of Cook’s Country. Valley Fig Growers is a proud sponsor of Cook’s Country TV.

Warm Chocolate Fig Cakes

What Mom can resist a chocolate dessert made just for her?

  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon 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 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350°. 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. 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.

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

Last month, you went fishing. This month it’s time to get walking.

Walking

Being active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s especially important to keep active as you grow older. One activity that’s easy to do is walking.

Walking at a comfortable speed improves heart-lung function and is good for general fitness. It’s safe, inexpensive and convenient, and can be enjoyed on your own or with friends. The result—you feel better, sleep better and are more relaxed.

Make Walking Habit Forming

  • Schedule a time to walk, like you would an appointment. Make it a priority.
  • Get a buddy. Maybe it’s someone you check in with online. Or, how about the four-legged kind that loves to go for walks. Don’t have a dog? Borrow one from a neighbor.
  • Add some fun. Listen to a romance novel while you walk.
  • Keep track. Get a pedometer. Keep track on paper or online. Record your steps or miles—or both.
  • Reward yourself. Choose your rewards wisely; food is not the best reward. Set a goal and when you reach that goal, enjoy a reward. How many miles is it to your favorite beach or vacation spot. Keep track of your miles and when your miles equal the distance to the beach—go there! Want to be in Monterey by August? Get walking.
  • Make it convenient. Walk first thing in the morning before you get involved in the day or on the way home from work.

Spring in the Orchards of Valley Fig Growers

California’s Central Valley is experiencing some of the nicest weather fig growers have ever seen. Nice weather leads to optimal growing conditions and early shipping of fresh figs. Harvest of Black Missions should begin around April 27, with Brown Turkeys following around May 1 and Sierras about May 5. As the fresh crop goes, so goes the dried fig harvest. We’re anticipating an early harvest of dried figs as well

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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