I’ve been a little busy lately- finishing up work and moving my stuff (so much stuff) down to Victoria to settle into another school year. I’m pretty excited about doing something different, though the last four months have been great. School wise, this term I am taking microbiology, cell biology, organic chemistry, and physics. Back to the science loop! Hopefully the brain transition won’t be too drastic, as volunteering in the lab has kept some terms and procedures fresh. Lots of moving though, which left my rats stranded at my parents without me for a couple of days. They welcomed me by jumping like rabbits all over my bed, and grooming my hands like crazy to get me smelling like the pack again. Mitchell was so excited he even developed a new fascination called “chewing zippers of hoodies.” I am trying my best to redirect this habit. New home wise, I am now a resident of Cadboro Bay! For those mildly familiar with Victoria, you will know that as the place with the cement sea monster in the park on the beach. Very close to UVic, it comes with an awesome roommate (who likes most foods, except fruits) who will soon be a food guinea pig for me. Soon I will post a little something about what our pantry looks like and what kind of equipment I’ve deemed essential, for those who are also settling in for the New Year. Meanwhile: end of summer barbeques are occurring in earnest. Maybe you’ve already had yours, or gone to all that you are going to attend, but some are still kicking around, determined to use every ounce of heat left in the tired old sun. I found myself having to make an appy for a friend’s get together not too long ago, so I did what I always do: I brought figs. Since I use dried figs, this is my year round go-to dish. Simple and delicious, this plate only uses four ingredients and takes five minutes to throw together after a quick bake. Perfect for impressing new roommates, creating a buzz at those barbeques, or adding a little excitement to your weekday menu. The very different, and crazy delicious, fresh fig I reserve for stuffing with blue cheese and wrapping with prosciutto, but have a hard time finding figs of non-questionable quality. Does anyone know of a mecca for fresh fig purchase on Vancouver Island? Meanwhile, enjoy these dried ones!
“That” Fig Appy
Nameless for so long, this has become know as “that” fig appy- the warm, delicious, sticky, sweet, tart, Middle Eastern start to a meal. Count on having at least a few figs per person, as these are pretty easy to down!
Soft goat cheese
Reduced balsamic vinegar
Zahtar ( A lovely Middle Eastern spice mixture of sesame seeds, sumac, and thyme- if you cannot find it, try and use your own combination of these three spices or, if you MUST, just thyme and sesame seeds!)
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pull apart dry figs, and find the pointy top (it may be pressed onto the flesh). Check if the top has a hard nub, and use a sharp knife to cut it off. Check all over for any other nubs that may be hard and unpleasant to eat.
2) Arrange figs in a single layer on a baking pan, and place in the oven. Bake them for about 20-25 minutes until slightly golden on the top and warm throughout. If you don’t have a lot of time, turn up the heat a bit and leave them in until they are just warm- won’t be quite as roast-y, but will still be delicious!
3) When the figs are done baking, pull them out and arrange them on your serving platter. Allow them to cool for a few minutes, or get straight to work. Place a small spoonful of goat cheese on each fig (came in a plastic pouch? Cut a hole in the bottom of the pouch and pipe it through onto the figs). Sprinkle very generously with zahtar and drizzle with reduced balsamic.
4) All done! Go impress someone.