Monday, October 04, 2010

A Belated Labor Day Post

Remember Labor Day? Feels like years ago, doesn’t it?

This past Labor Day, we had quite the feast. That’s what happens when any one of my friends invites us all over for a “potluck.” There is always more food and drink to go around and we generally do a fairly good job polishing it all off. That’s just one reason why I love my friends so much.

I also love the idea of a feast. Harkening back to boyfriends of years past, one time I was on the hook for an Easter brunch because my boyfriend-at-the-time, B, and I both decided to spend our Easter locally rather than traveling home to either of our respective Catholic families. Not because we really wanted to celebrate Easter together but because we were too poor to afford plane tickets. Ah, the good old days.

Anyway, between the two of us, I was the cook (and the maid, and the personal assistant, and the book editor, and the laundrywoman, but I digress). I asked B what he wanted for Easter brunch since I thought it would be nice to include some of his family traditions as well as mine (smoked salmon on bagels, bunny biscotti). His response: “I want a FEAST.”

Well, B and I went our separate ways years ago, but the concept of a feast has suck with me. I love a feast. Feasts are hearty and celebratory. They make me think of meat on the bone, of things you eat with your hands, of abundance in every wonderful way.

My contributions to the semi-recent Labor Day Feast were thus: two kinds of kielbasa “bites” with spicy brown mustard (inspired by the MOST delicious appetizer at Holly and Scott's wedding in Pittsburgh) and these delicious figs. Hope you can enjoy them before figs leave us completely for the season.

Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese and Peppered Honey
This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit.
Makes about 20 hors d'oeuvres
1/4 cup honey

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 oz fresh goat cheese
1 tablespoon milk or cream
1 pint fresh figs, tiny stems trimmed, and cut into halves (or quarters, if really large). I prefer Calimyrna (aka Turkish or Green) figs for this recipe, but you can also use Mission or Brown Turkey figs
1. Prepare the honey - combine the honey and black pepper in a small bowl or custard cup and let sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
2. In another small bowl, combine the goat cheese with the milk and blend/mash with a fork until smooth. (Alternatively, you can just use Chavrie goat cheese for this recipe and skip the milk.)
3. Spoon the cheese into a sandwich bag and snip off about 1/8 inch of one bottom corner of the bag. You should be able to pipe the cheese out the bag corner.
4. Lay the figs, cut side up, on a serving platter. Pipe a bit of cheese on top of each cut fig. You're going for a healthy dollop - slightly less than a tablespoon.
5. Once you have piped all the figs with cheese, use a spoon to drizzle the honey over the top of each fig. You should be able to see the honey on the cheese.
6. Serve immediately. This recipe does not keep, as the figs will begin to "weep" and make fig-puddles on the plate. That's just as well, as you will find these are hard to resist.

Festive flags optional.

No comments: