Roasted figs with tangerin in honey nut sauce

Juicy, delicious and sweet roasted figs dessert – something to impress anyone with

delicous roasted fig with nuts

roasted figs with honey and tangerine nut sauce

That recipe takes me to one of the most unusual ingredients I use in my kitchen: figs. I used to think that cooking with figs requires special skill and imagination. Fig was something my dad introduced to us as kids. He would buy fresh figs in season and we would indulge on it and enjoy their sweetness and unique “seedy” texture, but that’s all I knew about figs. I never had it cooked or roasted. Until recently. Now my trips to Paris have taught me a thing or two about figs, to start with:

Fig is delicious when baked on anything or on its own
It oozes with juice when cut while warm.
You can stuff it with your favorites
You don’t have to be a skilled cook
It’s a unique fruit to draw with pencil, when cut open

Speaking of drawings, before you read the recipe please allow me, I need to say this: did you know I speak four different languages fluently? sure you’d think ‘hey I know people who speak seven’, but that’s not what I mean. Language is about communicating your non-verbal inner passion. My inner languages are designing, cooking and painting and illustrating. Not necessarily in that order but you get the idea. And one of the reason I’m drawn to cooking is that as an artist it’s my ever-growing passion to arts. Cooking is not only to satisfy our hunger, to me it’s also a process of images unfold in my mind, a process that illuminates my soul. It’s a whole other life in the kitchen but with my other inner languages it goes hand in hand. When I cook I’m connected with the very essence of my creative being. It makes people sometimes ask me something like ‘why do you bother so much in the kitchen?”. It’s hard to explain and depends on who asks me, sometimes I don’t even bother to respond.

So I had a decadent dessert of fig on pastry in Paris (if I could only spend one night in that pastry shop). Not only that I wanted seconds but the dessert looked like a piece of art, like a beautiful gift made only for me. Oh these French…I decided to make my own at home. I changed some ingredients, eliminated the dough and came up with a delicious, sweet and nutty and of course different from anything I had made before.

delicious dessert of roasted figs in honey nut sauce

Ingredients

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Fresh ripe medium size figs, with stems

1 tangerine, washed, sliced and cut to small pieces
1/2 c. fresh roasted walnuts, roughly chopped
3 tbsp honey
3 cloves
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (the best you can effort)
4 tbsp tap water

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Preheat oven to 400. Clean figs but not under running water use wet paper towel instead, dry them and cut them slightly open on top with a sharp knife (see image). In a small pan combine sugar, honey, cloves, vinegar, water and nuts. When bubbly turn to low and cook for just a few minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Pay attention not to burn it. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit. Discard cloves and add the vanilla paste and the tangerine pieces . Stir. In a small shallow baking dish place figs close to each other, gently push fig open and fill each with the nuts mixture and spoon over the honey sauce. Cover loosely with foil and bake figs for 7 min. Remove foil, baste the figs with the sauce and roast uncover for another 5-7 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Place a couple of stuffed figs on your most beautiful china and drizzle with the sauce, garnish with thin slices of tangerine.

Now, you are ready to impress your guests.
And yourself too.

Bon Appetite

Perfect pears baked with rosemary sprig in white balsamic reduction

baked pears with rosemary and white balsamic reduction

Believe me when I say that I will bath myself in a rosemary water-bath, covered with real rosemary sprigs until my nose can no longer function. There is nothing more sensual and aromatic than having rosemary (sprig or anything that smells like one), laid around the house somewhere. I have one in my linen spray bottle, in my olive oil, oil message bottles, my aroma therapy plug-ins, laundry room, drawer liners, shoe closet…you get the idea. And no, it doesn’t overpower. It’s a beautiful herb, relaxing and oh so calming…

A bit of history – remember my Perfect pear recipe I posted a while back? it’s one of our favorite dessert and I make it quite often, but lately I’ve experimented with pears and came up with another delicious and simple to make recipe you are going to love (i hope). So the story goes that Friday  was a beautiful sunny day. But everything else was a big mess in my house. Pieces of bricks laid around the first floor, a heavy reminder that my mini project remodel is became super mini. Living room walls peeled off of an expensive wallpaper only to have them finished with yet another expensive look. My dusty new furniture covered with a cheap dustier plastic sheet, walls poked with large holes a reminiscent of where the T.V. used to hang and where a new one is going to be. It felt half depressing (the other half kept whispering in my ears to stay calm, this too shall be over soon.) I wanted to leave everything and get a hotel room. But then, when i turned around and looked into my messy kitchen the thought of baking something sweet, even in a middle of a mess, comforted me. So I made it. The house smelled amazing. The first bite of a warm sweet fruit made me forget what i had felt before. The closer the following bites got to my lips and right under my nose, the more I fell in love with life’s simple luxuries, even in a middle of a chaos. Chaos that inspired me to create and bring a moment of joy not only to myself but to my family that night.

You don’t have to have a reason to feel that sweet sense of comfort. Feeling down or up and want to make someone else happy too? treat that person or yourself to this beautiful heart warming dessert. My mom’s motto is that good food solves many of life’s issues. I believe her. After all, with such a vast life experience like she has – who am I to argue.

pears baked in white balsamic reduction

baked pears with rosemary and white balsamic reduction

If you love pears and I’m hoping that you do, then this is one of the best perfect pears recipe you will ever make. And if you love the beautiful aroma of a simple rosemary sprig and how it can enhance this dish in contrast to the sweetness of the sugar and the white balsamic syrup – I salute you.

it’s super easy….super comfort….few ingredients you can customize to your liking…super flavorful and beautiful………you don’t need another reason do you?

baked pears with white balsamic reduction

delicious baked pears in white balsamic reductionHow did rosemary sprig fit in the picture? just before baking the pears i popped my head in the fridge looking for something interesting to add. I found a couple of rosemary sprigs i almost forgot about and threw one in. It became the star.

I served the pears warm with vanilla ice-cream and here is what I heard them saying: “…mmm what is it?…wow, oh…this is so good what did you say it was again?…oh man this is delicious i don’t care what you put in it… oh Sigal it’s delicious what’s that name again…it has this…what’s in there?…” – I told you – rosemary.

Ingredients:

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5 nicely ripe pears, peeled and cored
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 cardamom cloves
1 rosemary sprig
**1/2 c. white balsamic reduction (see recipe)
juice of one lemon

for the balsamic reduction:
1 part water
1 part white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp white sugar
** i use 1 cup ratio of water and vinegar

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Preheat oven to 350. Cut pears in half and place in a large bowl with lemon juice. Set aside.
Prepare the white balsamic reduction – this is the moment when you need to watch the syrup with both eyes (yes both), because it cooks quickly: in a medium sauce pan on medium heat combine water, white balsamic and white sugar. Just when starting to boil reduce heat to medium/low, gently stir and simmer uncovered until syrup becomes thick and about 75% of the vinegar is evaporated. You are your best judge so keep a watchful eye, it will tell you when the syrup is ready. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a medium baking dish (i prefer to use glass) arrange the pears cut side down. Pour the balsamic syrup over the pears and sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon. Tuck the rosemary sprig between the pears and throw in the cardamon cloves. Give a gentle shake, cover with foil and bake about 35 minutes.Make sure there is still liquid left when done. Optional: While baking I uncovered the pan and with a large spoon drizzled some of the syrup from the pan on the pears. Covered and baked until it was ready.

perfect baked pears with rosemary and balsamic reduction

It was a mind-blowing flavorful experience honestly…but that didn’t stop me from taking a hotel room that night 😉

bon appetit

Watercress and goat cheese summer salad

“Salad is never more appetizing than when served in a large wooden bowl

Dorothy Draper

..as long as it’s mixed with some eye-catching ingredients too.

hello chefs,

Salad can be unglamorous and boring even if it’s healthy, don’t you think?

My family thinks I’m boring because I eat mainly salads. Well, i like salads because it’s the only food that doesn’t make me fall asleep.

Some of my close friends are not so…how shall I say it delicately…creative when it comes to salads. They don’t even think it’s food. I just hope they don’t read this.

So when you want to prepare something to eat but without a lot of effort, something that tastes like you spent the afternoon shopping in an upscale market, what can be better than a good healthy contrasting delicious colorful crunchy fresh salad? if you’re asking me…well, a lot of things like chilling under the Tuscan sun, shopping in Paris, flying first class but…let’s just stick with the salad now shall we.

Do you love watercress? if you’ve never had it why don’t you give it a try. It’s a herb widely used in Europe and rich in vitamin C and iron. But aside from its benefits I love the tangy taste, especially when I combine it with other fresh greens, or soups. watercress summer salad

Jazz up your salad with watercress and the addition of fresh sliced strawberries helps to make the salad colorful and refreshing. Nothing says summer more than red juicy berries right? This salad might even surprise the kids. Look, with kids it’s straight forward: either they will hate it or be all over it. It happens to me all the time. First they say no, then they taste, than it’s gone, than I make another one. 🙂

watercress goatcheese summer salad

A good salad starts with basic lettuce then you add whatever you like, build it up in layers, it’s like art class. The “fuller” the salad the more “dinner” appeal it gets. Then, complaints that “there is nothing to eat in this house” magically disappear. It’s fun to make and eat and so colorful to look at you’d even want to take pictures of it.

Shall we:

ingredients

2 cups Romaine lettuce (washed, dried and roughly cut)
bunch watercress, remove tough stems (washed and dried)
sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
4 small radishes, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts (drained and roughly cut)
1 tsp each toasted white and black sesame seeds (use both or either)
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
3 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried orange zest
(store-bought or you can make it yourself)

The dressing: in a bowl combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and paper. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
Assembly: in a large platter place Romaine lettuce mixed with watercress, radishes and artichoke hearts. Top with crumbled goat cheese and garnish with strawberries. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and dried orange zest. Drizzle the dressing on top and all around the salad.

Serve with toasted french or country bread (optional).

watercress goat cheese summer salad

This juicy salad can turn any blah moment to a special one. It’s very light and refreshing…almost like taking a cool shower on a hot summer day

…or maybe not.

But it’s a good as it sounds.

Bon appetit