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Thursday, October 31, 2013

More Sights and Frights of Halloween

My "Sorting" Hat
I propped my Halloween Witch hat up on top of my bookshelf, to get it out of the way. After I saw how cool it looked, I snapped a photo and then ran it through a few photo apps to alter the appearance.  Loving this image!  The other photos are all things I took during the season - out at a class trip with Nate and his school; scenes from the neighborhood, some of my favorite pumpkin beer.  It really is the most beautiful time of year.  The light and the colours are perfect for photos and moods!

Lil Pumpkins


Directions!

Ablaze


The eyes have it!
Flowers in the pumpkin patch

Sweet little dumplings


Green Veins

Orange Perspective




In the Patch
Pumpkin Ale of the Season

Carry on wayward son...


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wednesday Walkabout: Halloween in Rittenhouse Square


The Devil Made Him Do It - that old goat!
This is a true Wednesday Walkabout.  I actually had another post set to go for today's photo essay, and then I took a quick walk through Rittenhouse Square on my way to the bank, and lo and behold, a photo opportunity!  I may post the other photos as a separate post, but these three finds deserve their own post!  The statues in the Square often are adorned with funny things however, I've never seen all three decorated at the same time.  Clearly the work of one cheeky monkey!  I've posted these in the order in which I found them.  The goat was my first find, and I think, the most clever.  Realizing that the Lady of the Square may also have something on her, I took a peek and sure enough, she's all decked out for All Hallow's Eve.

She's adorned. Looks like a cake topper!
I'll have to add this photo to my collection of Lady of the Square photos.  She's got the pumpkin bucket, and at her feet is a sign that says pumpkin patch and a door hanger, three dimensional Mummy coming out of a haunted graveyard scene. Some orange Halloween "grass" is also there.

Pride of the Den.
 This was a harder photo to capture.  At the lion's feet is a lion mask, and in the center, a tiny pumpkin basket.  I loved the big pumpkin with a witch hat at the back.  I wonder how long any of these decorations will last? Most likely they'll be gone by night.  Glad I happened out when I did - gave me a true photo series taken on the day on which I post!  Happy Halloween - what will you be doing for your trick or treating?
 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wednesday Walkabout: Walking Around Philadelphia

A new play - a titular title. I took the photo to post on a friend's Facebook page.
I've been so busy posting recipes that I haven't posted my Wednesday photo series.  I figured that I won't be doing it every Wednesday, but I'd like to have it in my "back pocket" for Wednesdays each month.  I have plenty of photos and ideas! Too many posts to do in any given week!  Straying slightly from my usual route - Rittenhouse Square, I found a few inspiring photos in other parts of the city as I traveled over to Market Street on a recent work errand.  

The above photo was at a bus shelter on Chestnut Street.  I cannot believe SEPTA went for it - but money will buy you just about anything or any space, within reason or in a big city.  I don't know anything about this play and in all likelihood, I won't see it. Not because I don't want to (though I don't) but because I just don't have the time or ability to go see theater these days. Having a four year old will do that to a body... I took the photo for it's shock value and for a friend.  I have a feeling my photo is the best thing about this production...

Forgotten
It was a cloudy over-cast morning when I spotted this magenta rose on an old marble step.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to capture the mood or get a photo that was view-worthy.  I think I did a nice job nevertheless.  Boosting the color and changing the focus made this photo as moody as I wanted.  I love that the newspaper is in the background.

Stickman Walker
A newer (to me) Stickman or Robot Tile.  I love the very 1980's Space Invaders shape of him, along with the black and white of the street as the background.  Stickman tiles aren't popping up as frequently these days.  Whatever artists are making these must be doing their work in other areas or cities.  I've only found 2 new versions of the tiles in the past year.  

St. Bernard Brothers
There's way more to this photo than I could truly capture.  Seeing two (2!) St. Bernard dogs leashed on a major street in Philly in the business district is unusual.  That they are just laying about was intriguing.  So I took a photo.  It was after I snapped the photo that I realized the dogs are owned by a man who has been standing on the corner of 18th and Market Street for over a year, with a sign, asking for a job, not a hand-out.  I didn't feel right about taking his photo.  No need to take advantage of his situation for my personal photo essay.  Besides, I'm sure there are lots of photos of him out there, in addition to many news stories about what he's doing and why.  I remember reading about his story, that he's been unemployed for a few years now; he lives out of his car with the dogs; that he dresses very nicely and stands out on the street every day handing out his resume.  When I saw the guy, he was smoking a cigar and talking to a young woman.  He struck me as a non-well-off Donald Trump type - a knock-off version of The Donald, in a business suit with a shock of blonde hair and a sort-of squinty eye smirk.  
I hope he takes good care of the dogs, and of himself.  No idea why he's still unemployed.  Somewhere in his story, there's a made for tv movie of the week...
2 cents in the gutter ain't worth a dime these days
And as I crossed the street from the dogs and Mr. Trump, I saw two shiny pennies in the gutter.  The lines, the shadows, the fall leaves - all made for a gritty photo.  The ending to a gritty photo walkabout day.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Apple and Pear Rustic Tart aka Crostadas


While apples and pears are hitting their peak in the markets - Farmers' Markets preferably, get thee to buying some now! And then put your pie dough making skills to the test and make a few rustic style tarts using the best of the season's fruits.  I made these apple and pear tarts/tartlets for an Autumn Harvest Dinner Party class I taught a few weeks back.  Thought I'd share the recipe with you as these are easy to make and so worth the effort.  If making pie dough is too much to take on, but honestly, it is easy, the trick is to be as gentle as you can with the dough and barely work it; let it rest and then roll it out.  You can use a store bought dough.  I've even seen dough in Trader Joe's in the frozen section.  Since the tarts are rustic there's no fussing with a double crust or trying to get the dough to look all pretty in the pie pan.  


Apple and Pear Rustic Tarts Pie Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter - cut into cubes and chilled
  • 1/4 Cup to 1/2 Cup Ice Cold Water
  • 1 Large Ripe Pear - peeled, cored and cut into thin slices 1/4 of inch thick or thinner
  • 2 Apples - such as Ginger Gold and Golden Delicious (1 Sweet/1 Tart) - peeled, cored and cut into thin slices - 1/8 inch thick or thinner
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar PLUS 1 Tablespoon of Sugar for Sprinkling
  • 1 Dash of Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter - cut into small pieces
Directions for Pie Dough:
  1. In a food processor fitted with the dough blade - pulse the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor until combined.  
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal and there are pea-sized pieces of flour and butter combined.  
  3. Slowly add in the ice-cold water, a few drops at at time; pulse until moist clumps form.  If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more ice cold water.  
  4. Gently gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk.  Wrap the disk in plastic and chill at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Dough disk can be frozen for 3 months, tightly wrapped in several layers of plastic wrap.
Directions For filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Position rack in center of oven.  Prepare a sheet tray  by lining it with parchment paper or a Silpat. Set aside.
  2. Roll our the dough on a well-floured surface until it is about a 12 inches in diameter - the dough does not need to be a perfect circle - the tart will be rough and rustic.  Carefully roll dough onto the rolling pin and transfer the dough to the prepared sheet tray.  Chill the rolled dough in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
  3. Peel, core and cut the pear and apples into thin slices.  Add the slices to cold water along with the juice of 1 lemon. Set aside.
  4. Remove the pears and apples from the lemon water, shaking off as much water as possible.  Add them to a mixing bowl along with the 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, stirring to combine.
  5. Take the rolled out disk of dough from the refrigerator; work from the center and carefully layer the apple and pear slices onto the pie dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border from the edge.  Continue layering the fruit from the center of the dough to the outer area until all the slices are used or the pie dough is full. Carefully fold up the edges of the dough to form a crust.  
  6. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar on top of the fruit & pie dough crust.
  7. Dot the fruit with the tablespoon of cut-up butter over the fruit slices.
  8. Bake the tart for 28-33 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling.
  9. Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before serving. Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream or a slice of sharp cheddar cheese. Serves 6 -8.


Use a variety of apples and pears - such as Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples and Red Bartlett Pears
Peel, Core and Cut the Apples and Pears into thin slices.  Keep the slices in lemon water to keep them from browning.  The juice from the lemon will add a bit of tang/tart to the fruit.
Thin slices - about an 1/8 of an inch thick - too thick and the the fruit won't cook down properly
Keeping the apples and pears in lemon water keeps them from turning brown. You can peel and slice the fruit and keep it in the water for up to 2 days if needed.
When making the pie dough, you can use a food processor to bring the dough together.  Having all of your ingredients cold will help to make a more tender dough.  Cold flour, cold butter, ice cold water.
Cut the butter into the flour, sugar and salt until the mixture resembles coarse meal and small peas.
Add in ice water, a few tablespoons at a time, just until the dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the food processor. Some parts of the dough can be a bit crumbly.
Gently pull the dough together into a ball but don't over work it trying to get all the flour and butter to stick together.  As the dough rests and chills in the refrigerator, the dough and loose flour will seem to "magically" come together.
Cut the dough into two pieces, then wrap it in plastic wrap, wax or parchment paper.  Shape the dough into a disk and flatten slightly.  Refrigerate the dough for at leaf 30 minutes or up to two days.  The dough can be frozen too, up to 2 months, until ready to be use.
When the dough has chilled, at least 30 minutes, take it out of the refrigerator and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface, into a rough circle, about 10 inches in diameter.
Working on a Silpat or baking mat will make it easier to roll the dough out without having to use a lot of extra flour on the work surface.
After the pie dough has been filled with the fruit, roughly fold up the edges to form a crust.  If desired, dot the surface of the pie tart with butter.  This is optional.  Also - sprinkle the tart and the dough with sugar and cinnamon.  Bake as directed.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Apple Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Maple Syrup

Making homemade cranberry sauce is so easy, I don't know why we all don't do it instead of buying that gawd-awful high fructose corn syrup laden crap in a can.  Truly.  It takes all of 15 minutes to make a decent and 3 ingredient cranberry sauce, and maybe 5 minutes longer to make a "gourmet" version!  For my Autumn Brunch class this past Sunday at The American Table - I made whole wheat pumpkin pancakes and the Cranberry Maple Syrup that I created for that Talk Philly Live Thanksgiving Left-over television segment I filmed last year.  The recipe for the syrup is online, but I never put it on the blog.  I have my cranberry apple ginger compote here, but that's about it.  Time to remedy both over-sights!

By the way, homemade cranberry sauce can be canned very easily. Cook it, heat it and get your  jars ready.  Then ladle hot sauce into hot jars and process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes per pint jar. Consult the Bell Canning Website for more details!

Home-made Cranberry Sauce with Oranges, Apples and Cinnamon Ingredients:
  • 1 Bag Fresh Cranberries (About 16 ounces) - washed and picked over
  • Zest and Segments of 1 Orange (Zest the orange first, then "supreme" the segments
  • 1 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious Apple - Peeled, corded and shredded
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Cold water
  • 1 3 or 4 Quart Sauce Pot
Directions:
  1. Wash and pick over the fresh cranberries, discard any that are bad. Put the cranberries into a sauce pot and set aside.
  2. Zest the orange. Then remove the skin and pith from the orange.  Carefully, with a paring knife, segment the orange, removing the sections from the membrane.  Work over a small bowl to catch the juices.  Put the zest, juices and orange segments into the sauce pot with the cranberries.
  3. Peel, core and coarsely grate an apple.  Add the grated apple to the cranberries.
  4. Add in the cinnamon stick, the sugar and the water to the pot.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, stir to combine and help the sugar to dissolve.  Reduce heat and simmer until all the cranberries "pop" and cook down, about 15 minutes.  
  6. As the cranberries break down, they will release their pectin, which will thicken the sauce as it cools.  If you want a smoother sauce, you can a) use a handheld potato masher and smash the fruit down, or puree it in a blender or food processor. Remove the cinnamon stick!
  7. If keeping chunky, remover the cinnamon stick and cool at room temperature for about 1/2 an hour then cool in the refrigerator for several hours or longer. Will keep for up to 1 week, covered.

Cranberry and Maple Syrup Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Cranberry Sauce – Jellied or Whole Berry (canned or homemade!)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, or Light Butter or Margarine
  • Pinch of Salt
Directions:
  1. Combine all the ingredients together into a heat-safe or microwave-safe bowl. Whisk together until the ingredients are smooth or thoroughly combined.
  2. Heat mixture for 2 minutes in a microwave or in a sauce pot just until just before the mixture comes to a boil. Whisk again to combine. Serve hot over pancakes or waffles.
  3. Makes 1 and 1/4 cup of sauce. Will hold for 1 week in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.  Heat before re-serving and to emulsify the butter.  
  4. Serve over pancakes, waffles, pound cake or in oatmeal!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Roasted Vegetables and Fontina Strata

Another round of cooking classes under my belt.  Just completed the second of my Autumn Harvest series - Autumn Brunch.  The recipes in this class featured my whole wheat pumpkin pancakes; the cranberry maple syrup recipe I made for the Talk Philly Live television segment last year; the recipe for this strata and an apple cake recipe, that I will post in the next few days.  

Getting right to the point, here's my "blueprint" recipe for this savory bread pudding.  Utilizing a custard style base (eggs/milk/seasonings) I created layers of flavor and layers in the bread pudding.  A strata is a an egg and bread baked breakfast or brunch casserole.  It's a blueprint recipe because you can swap out the roasted veggies for whatever you have on hand - spinach, mushrooms and onions; shredded and sautéed zucchini and squash; sausages and peppers.  You can use whatever melting-style cheeses you want, full or low-fat. By this I recommd, a Swiss Style cheese, or Havarti, Cheddar, or Combination of Mozzarella and Shredded Parmesan. I made this with a French style baguette.  An hearty loaf bread or Italian will work. Fresh or day old.  Whole, low or non-fat milk.  The variations are endless.

Roasted Vegetables Ingredients:
  • 1 Large Onion - Large Dice
  • 2 Bell Peppers - 1 Red/1 Green - cut into julienne
  • 1 Medium/Large Zucchini - Large Dice
  • 1 Medium/Large Yellow Squash - Large Dice
  • 2 Garlic Cloves - Minced
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt and 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Strata Ingredients:
  • 2 Cups Roasted Vegetables
  • Butter, Cooking Spray or Olive Oil for Baking Dish
  • 1 16 Ounce Loaf French or Italian Bread (day old is fine) cut into 1-inch cubes (about 7 cups of cubed bread total)
  • 2 Cups Coarsely Grated Fontina Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 4 Large Eggs - whisked
  • 2 Cups Milk (Whole/Low-Fat or Skim)
  • Dash Cayenne Pepper or 2-4 Dashes Hot Sauce
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt 
  • 2-3 Grinds Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  1. Roast the Vegetables: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Wash and cut vegetables. In a large bowl, toss all the vegetables with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place the vegetables onto a sheet tray lined with a Silpat or parchment paper, or use a roasting pan.  Roast for 45-50 minutes, stirring the vegetables occasionally.  Remove the vegetables when they are nicely browned and caramelized, and all the water they released has evaporated.  Cool enough before handling.
  3. Assemble the Strata:
  4. Butter, spray or lightly oil a shallow  4 1/2 quart baking/casserole dish.  Arrange half of the bred cubes into the baking dish.  Spread half the roasted vegetable mixture over the bread, then sprinkle half of grated Fontina and some of the Parmesan Cheeses over this layer.
  5. Repeat the layering of bread, vegetables and cheese until they are all used.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cayenne/hot sauce, mustard, salt and pepper.  Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread and vegetables in the baking dish.  Press the strata down in the pan and chill it, covered, 4 hours to overnight.
  7. Bake the Strata:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  8. or if the oven’s been on from roasting the vegetables, reduce the heat down to 375.
  9. Prior to baking, let the strata stand out at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.
  10. Bake the strata in the middle of the oven with a rack position into the center. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the strata is puffed, golden and cooked through. 
  11. Serve hot, warm or cold.  Serves 8 or more. Will hold for 1 day uncooked; once cooked, strata will hold, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
This recipe is essentially a savory bread pudding - set with a custard.  To set the liquid, in this recipe, it takes 2 eggs per cup of milk for the milk to set.


Roast the vegetables - use more than you think you should - they cook down a lot during the roasting process.
Cut the bread into cubes.  Large is fine, but not huge, and not small tiny pieces.

Layer the vegetables on top of the first layer of bread, then spread 1/2 of the cheeses over the vegetables and bread.  Continue the layers of bread and roasted vegetables, ending with a layer of cheese.
Whisk the eggs then whisk in the milk, Dijon Mustard, salt, and pepper. This is your custard - you want to have this flavored.  It's the binder of the bread pudding and is essential to the building blocks of flavor.
Pour in the custard, soaking the bread thoroughly.  Press the bread down to make sure it is all submerged in the custard.
Refrigerate the bread pudding/strata for several hours to overnight so that the flavors meld and the bread soaks up all the eggs.  By doing this, the structure of the bread will break down and the pieces of bread will almost remeld/remold together.  The longer this soaks, the better the structure of the strata will be when is baked.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Follow Friday - Meet New Friends, Writers, Bloggers


A group of my fellow blogging, tweeting, and Facebook Friends, formally known as The Blogstress Network, have decided that we need to spread the word around social media about one another.  I've written posts before about my girlfriends, most recently in a post about my best day of my Summer Beach Vacation, at a gathering at my friend, Barbara's house in Ocean City (the post is at this link).

Barbara's blog, Zero to Sixty and beyond, is a touching, personal exploration of her life story - sometimes heart breaking, chilling and always written with a deft hand and a fare amount of humor to get her (and the reader) through the darker times.  I met Barbara via my friend, Michele, my best neighbor friend from South Philly (I don't miss much about living in South Philly on my old street, but I sure do miss Michele and our evening walks with our dogs…) Anyway, Michele and Barbara are  friends from way back - there story is heartwarming and heart breaking - as it involves Michele's late husband, Fabrizio and how he and she met at Barbara's annual Super Bowl Party.  


Cut to 2003, and I meet Michele and Fabrizio when they moved in two doors down from my row house at 8th and Moore Street.  Over the years of walking our dogs each night, Michele and I talk about our lives, friends, and how we came to both live on Moore Street.  Along the way, I hear a lot of funny stories about Barbara.  Eventually, I get to meet Barbara.  We hang out; she starts blogging; she creates a network for women bloggers. I get involved and we form our own friendship. It takes a while, as I wanted to be mindful of the friendship of Michele and Barbara.  I didn't want to be the disruptive third wheel in their friendship.

Wow - 10 years has gone by.  I have a son, who's about to turn 4 years old in a week.  We moved out of South Philly just about 2 years ago now, as did Michele and Fabrizio.  We've experienced tremendous losses of important loved ones.  We have gotten older, a bit more grey (but it'll never show…) and we are all still tightly bound to each other, despite the distances, the time, our busy lives.  A friend, Scott, said to me the other day that even though we "see each other's lives on social media, we don't actually talk or connect." I think that in spite of the false intimacy of Facebook, this group of women bloggers does connect in person and in real life.  Not enough but we do more than just "poke" each other.  Which all all takes me back to writing about Barbara, her blog and the network of other bloggers she's fostered like the good mother that she is…See if you stayed with me long enough, I knew I could take it back on track.

Read her blog. Zero to 60 and Beyond Follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/Zero.60.Beyond   Make new acquaintances. And for the love of Pete, Mike and whatever G@D you follow, go write a real email or actually pen to paper card to someone today.  That is all.  Thanks!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2 Recipes: Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds and Figs stuffed with Bleu Cheese

A few more recipes from my Autumn Harvest Dinner Party to share here.  I started out my cooking class with a salad featuring some lettuces and flavors of the season.  Figs, cheeses, and pumpkin seeds.  These sweet and spicy seeds will also work well using Pecans, Almonds, Walnuts or Cashews (individually or mixed together).  

Years ago, my bestie, Rachel, and I devised a recipe based on a Martha Stewart mixed nut recipe.  It was delicious but messy and fattening.  We came up with a spice blend that still works for me but the technique was terrible - frying the nuts in a ton of oil.  My kitchen was a mess, it smelled like grease and sugar and spice for weeks in the house and I think I wasted (not just calories) but a fair amount of sugar and spices in the frying oil.  Ugh.  Cut forward to a few healthy years - to omit the unnecessary fat, I figured out you could roast the nuts (or seeds) in the oven at a high heat and keep this sweet and spicy treat in a more reasonable healthy area…

I make a sweet, spicy, sugary and salty blend, and I rinse the seeds or nuts under cold water to give them something for the spice blend to adhere.  Then I toss the nuts or seeds in a bowl with most of the spice blend, reserving a few tablespoons for later; spread the mixture onto a prepared sheet tray and bake.  Easy, less mess and way less calories.  These make for a great snack, a topping for salads, a crust on salmon or tilapia or chicken, or as a great food swap item!

Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon 
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Cumin
  • Pinch Cayenne Pepper
  • Pinch of Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Mix the the sugar, salt, cinnamon, paprika, cumin and and freshly ground black pepper together in a small mixing bowl.  Set 2 tablespoons of the sugar mixture aside.
  3. Use a colander or strainer and rinse the pumpkin seeds under cold water and shake off as much water as possible. Toss the seeds in a mixing bowl with the sugar mixture.
  4. Spread the seasoned pumpkin seeds onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.  Bake for 10 minutes and then stir the seeds.  Bake for another 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the pumpkin seeds from the oven & sprinkle with the reserved 2 tablespoons of seasoned sugar.  As the seeds cool, they will crisp.  Break apart them apart - the mixture will resemble a nut brittle.  Serve at room temperature.  Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.


Figs Stuffed with Bleu Cheese and Topped with Spicy Seeds and Drizzled with Honey


These are an old recipe I found in a Donna Hay magazine. I've been using it for years as a go to hors d'oeuvres because it is so easy to put together and has such great impact.  Since figs are still in season, I suggest using fresh figs right now.  It will work with dried figs as long as they are supple and moist. If the figs are too dry it's like eating shoe leather.  

Ingredients:
  • 6 Fresh Figs - washed, stems removed and cut in half
  • 2 Tablespoons Crumbled Bleu Cheese of Choice - Gorgonzola, May Tag Blue, etc.
  • 12 Nuts of Choice (Walnut Halves, Pecan Halves, Whole Almonds, Whole Cashews) or 2 Tablespoons of Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
  • Honey - for Drizzling (Tuppelo, Lavender or Truffle infused honey are excellent choices!)
Directions:
  1. Wash, de-stem and cut the fresh figs in half.
  2. Take a small piece of bleu cheese and stuff it into the fresh fig half. Continue doing this until all the figs are stuffed with the cheese. You only want to put in as much cheese as the fig will hold, a bite sized piece.
  3. Top the cheese filled fig with either a nut half (or whole almond) or a sprinkle of the sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds (about 4-5 seeds).
  4. Drizzle the stuffed figs with a bit of honey.  Serve immediately at room temperature.  
  5. Figs can be stuffed ahead of time and refrigerated - but drizzle honey on them right before serving. Makes 1 dozen - and will serve 6 people (2 halves per person).