Thursday, August 14, 2008

a fig in her ear...

tee hee.

what other blog out there makes references to george feydeau (j'adore farce), will smith, joss whedon, shakespeare, edgar allen poe, nina simone, hellboy, china mieville, jet li, and dickens when talking about food? naturally, these are just a few of my references in the odd ball posting mix that make up my random thoughts about food.

yet, sneaking in a reference here and there makes me snicker to myself while i type.....and it is my hope that you, dear heart, while you are reading these words...that maybe you'll be snickering too. maybe it is the ex-english major self maki
ng an appearance for a moment. or maybe it is because this blog reveals a bit more than just food...depending on what meta messages you can identify.

well, as you saw yesterday with my roasted figs with ricotta salata....i'm really into fresh figs at the moment. i decided to make a small batch of fresh fig conserve the other day that came out wonderfully. i didn't even add any habanero. no worries, i wasn't even tempted to add it.

making small batches of conserve is quite satisfying as it involves no canning. unfortunately, i'm not great with giving out recipes because...well...that isn't really how i cook. i go by look, taste, and feel.

yes, i know that is frustrating. many of you have frowned at me quite a bit after finding that one out. i bet you are frowning right now.

yet, i am much better at "showing you". so that is what i am going to do today.

first i quartered the fresh figs and put them in a small heavy sauce pan


then i squirt about...hmmmm.....maybe two or three tablespoons? of agave into the pot. then (here is the important part) i put it on the stove and crank the fire up to high. this is very important.


did i mention how important the heat is? making the small batch of conserve is all about having the high heat. something about the high heat releasing the pectin in the fruit..making it gel. the high heat also evaporates the water from the fruit. i also don't walk away. i stand there carefully stirring as it bubbles away....


you can see the conserve begin to change color and thicken. once it thickens to the point where it coats the back of a spoon....kinda like a chocolate syrup kind of thick...then it is ready to be removed from the pan to cool.

here is a close up shot.... see the thickness and the color....

at this point, i'll immediately put some on toast......yum...warm conserves


in this case, it was a slice of toasted cinnamon challah from semifreddi's. then, i'll put the rest aside for it to cool. once it has cooled, it goes into the fridge. it will thicken even more in the fridge and is great on cake, toast, morning buns, and yogurt. i think i may even try it on some oatmeal this week.

people that have tried my conserves are pretty shocked to find out that i don't have to use regular sugar. i used to make things primarily with sugar until a member of the family was put on a no processed white sugar restriction....which definitely motivated me to figure something out. a life without fruity sweetness? i think not.

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