Tuesday, September 25, 2012

To Try Tuesday - Getting Figgy


It seems that every time Mr. Hairy Legs and I go out to dinner he always orders something I wish I had ordered. He has this theory about ordering in a restaurant - always go with fresh fish first, then if you don't like the sound of that go with steak, then chicken, and finally pork.  It sounds unbelievable, but 99% of the time he orders the best dish.  I know it seems a little old-fashioned but I am thinking that for all future dinners I am just going to let him order for me.  It will be a "win" situation for him too since he will then be able to enjoy his meal in peace, rather than having me ask for another bite. 



On a visit to 12th Avenue Grill, one of my favorite restaurants on Oahu, he ordered figs that had been stuffed with cinnamon goat cheese and wrapped with prosciutto, then grilled.  They were delicious and, needless to say, he generously shared them with me.  I had never had figs before, and was taken with how good they were.  I really meant to buy some and try making this recipe, but for some reason I never got around to it.

Costco had figs over the summer and I kept eying them every time I passed by them. I kept thinking that I could try and replicate the dish we had tried.  I did pick up a tray but then I saw a recipe for Vanilla Balsamic Fig Jam on La Dolce Pita and I couldn't resist.  This is such an easy recipe with delicious results.






Vanilla Balsamic Fig Jam

Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb. fresh figs, stemmed and quartered
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon aged Balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of salt

Preparation
  1. In a small pot over medium-low heat, bring the honey to a simmer. 
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and let simmer for 15-20 minutes (stirring occasionally), or until figs have considerably broken down and liquid has reduced a bit. 
  3. Remove the cinnamon stick and let cool completely before serving. 
  4. Jam will thicken upon cooling and makes approximately 3/4 cup.
Original recipe by  La Dolce Pita

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Passion Fruit Curd

My love affair with passionfruit continues.  We had a vine in our backyard when I was younger and I loved grabbing a passionfruit and scooping the pulp over vanilla ice cream.  One of my favorite summer treats when I was growing up was going to get an ice cream cone.  Our corner milk bar always had a choice of three flavors of ice cream - vanilla, chocolate, and passion fruit.  They didn't even bother asking which flavor I wanted as it was always passion fruit.  Later they added strawberry to the roster but it made no difference to my choice.  Having passion fruit as a choice seems strange now that I think back, but it has always been a popular flavor in Australia.





The pulp of a passionfruit has a tart-sweet taste and lots of crunchy black seeds.  It is commonly known here in Hawaii as lilikoi and there are a couple of different varieties - a yellow skinned and a light purple skinned (the purple tends to be slightly sweeter).  It is lilikoi time right now so I suspect there may be a few posts that include them in the near future :) .

Surprisingly, passion fruit can be hard to find here in Oahu, but if you are lucky you can buy it at the Farmers' Market, or sometimes you are fortunate and find a vine growing wild.  When Whole Foods first opened in Kahala they sold it, but unfortunately I haven't seen it there since that time. Lucky for me I was able to find some recently and decided I really wanted to make some passion fruit curd.  I love it on my toast on the morning, but it also makes a wonderful filling for cakes, a delicious topping for ice cream, and can be enjoyed with scones rather than using jam.






Passion Fruit Curd
(Printer Friendly Recipe)

Ingredients
  • 6 large eggs
  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of passion fruit pulp (strained of seeds, whole, or a mix) 

Preparation
  1. Heat the juice, butter and sugar in a heavy based pot until the sugar has dissolved and it reaches boiling point. 
  2. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly for about 4 minutes. At this point I actually strained the mixture into a separate bowl, reserving about 3 tablespoons of the seeds which I added back in - this is optional.  Place back into the pot and allow to cool.
  3. Beat the eggs in a bowl,  add a small amount of the hot juice mixture to temper the eggs (and prevent curdling), making sure you continue to whisk.  Add this mixture back into the pot.
  4. Place the pot back on the heat and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes thick, about 10 minutes. 
  5. Cool the mixture in the pot which allows it to thicken a little more, then transfer to a sterilized jar(s) and store in the refrigerator. 
This recipe makes approximately three 8 oz jars.

Recipe adapted from Drizzle and Dip.