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Posted on Jul 9, 2015 |

Fresh Fig Appetizers with Goat Cheese

Fresh Fig Appetizers with Goat Cheese

Figs -- which grew in the Garden of Eden -- make great summer appetizers.

Figs — which grew in the Garden of Eden — make great summer appetizers.

About figs

My friend Jacob Castle brought me a big bag of fresh figs from his Florida tree. I made some fig jam and also some wonderful appetizers. I’m sharing one of the jam recipes here (easy, using dried figs) and the other is on my Abouteating.com site using fresh figs, raspberries, oranges and ginger. It’s called “Frog” Jam!

figs squareWe know figs are mentioned in the Bible, starting with the creation in Genesis: 3:7. There was a fig tree in the Garden of Eden.  The passage talks about how Adam and Eve became aware of their nakedness and were embarrassed after they had eaten the forbidden fruit. So they strung fig leaves together to cover themselves around the hips. Figs are the most mentioned fruit in the Bible – over 50 times. You’ll also see figs mentioned in Matthew, Luke, Jeremiah and Revelation.

The fig represented peace and prosperity and was cultivated around 5,000 BC!   Virtually everybody in Bible days was familiar with this fruit.  During the first Olympics in Greece, athletes were given figs to eat and also to wear as a laurel crown.

Figs are good for you! They have lots of fiber and potassium which helps our digestive and cardiovascular system.   And as an herbalist, I am intrigued by the fact that  research has shown fig leaves have  insulin lowering properties – there’s a liquid extract that’s made from the leaves. There’s nothing like the sweet, chewy taste of a fresh fig!

Wonderful Fresh Fig Appetizers with Goat Cheese

  • Fresh figs, cut in half
  • Herbed goat cheese (if you can’t find herbed goat cheese, use regular)
  • Whole almonds
  • Honey and Balsamic vinegar

Preheat broiler on high. Put fig halves, cut side up, on sprayed baking sheet. Divide a bit of goat cheese among them and push one almond into the cheese on each half. Broil just until cheese is soft, about 2 minutes or so. Let cool a few minutes, and drizzle with a tiny bit of honey and balsamic vinegar.

Fig & Gorgonzola Crostini

  • French bread baguette, sliced and toasted
  • Dried fig jam (recipe follows) or store bought
  • Crumbled goat cheese or gorgonzola/blue cheese
  • Finely chopped walnuts

Preheat broiler.

Top each bread slice with some fig mixture and goat cheese. Arrange crostini on a sprayed baking sheet; sprinkle with walnuts. Broil 2 minutes or until nuts begin to brown. Serve warm.

Gilding the lily: Drizzle on a bit of honey before serving.

Dried Fig Jam

Combine in a pan, bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer and simmer until figs are tender, about 10 minutes or so. Uncover and cook until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes or so:

  • 1 1/4 cups chopped dried Mission or other figs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped orange sections
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Nader Heikenfeld writes a weekly syndicated column and blog for the Community Press, appears every Thursday on the Son Rise Morning Show, and is the author of several cookbooks. An adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, she is Certified Culinary Professional and Certified Modern Herbalist,  the Culinary Professional for Jungle Jim’s Eastgate, and a media personality with a cable show and YouTube videos. In 2014 she was inducted into the Escoffier Hall of Fame. She lives “in the sticks” outside Batavia, Ohio with her family, where they heat with wood, raise chickens for eggs, and grow their own produce and herbs. You’ll find all her previous recipes featured on The Catholic Beat here.

Rita’s Bible Foods segment airs on the Son Rise Morning Show every Thursday morning at 7:22 am (rebroadcast Friday at 6:02 am). Tune in to hear her discuss the history behind each recipe and the scripture verses that inspired it. And of course, for cooking tips!

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