Fig Heaven

By September 5, 2015Food

Abbondanza! That’s what we have this time of year- ripe succulent tomatoes, zucchini…and figs! You wait all year for August and September, then you fig-out. I can eat a dozen at a time and sometimes you can’t wait too long because they ripen quickly and who wants to eat a rotten fig.

I know there are dozens of fig varieties; in fact on one of our tours in Southern France we visited a fig farm where every variety known to man is cultivated. But I’m pretty basic: there are two kinds- white and  black. I’ll take either one, but if pressed for my favorite, I’d say go with the black figs.

In fact I have a Proustian moment every time I bite into one. I have flashbacks to my youth where my father had a 12′ tall fig tree in our back yard. We’d have to cover it or bury it to get through the harsh New England winter. But I would love going out with my grandmother who would hold the step ladder as I tried to reach each and every fig from the top step. (It’s not recommended to do this since it’s kind of dangerous.)

Come October, I get fig withdrawal and have to wait until the following year. I suppose I could make fig jam but there’s nothing like a fresh fig to make you see stars.  Lavera, one of my faithful tour alumni, suggests I try to make fig wine. I did find several recipes for making fig wine and if somebody makes it, I’ll be over. But it’s too complicated for my style.

Then there’s a fig vodka that I’ve tried and it’s not bad. The producer, Figenza, also has dozens of cocktail recipes, including one for each month. I’ve included below the cocktail recipe for September: Morimoto.

And since this is also zucchini season, in honor of my neighbor Betty Boop, I’ve included some of her favorite zucchini bread recipes.

Fig Vodka

Or if I’m really impatient, I could go to South America in February when it’s their fig season.

I don’t think I’m eccentric to go to such extremes, but I really am in rapture every time I bite into a ripe, sweet fig.

The Morimoto Cocktail Recipe

(Featured as a signature cocktail served by Chef Morimoto on Iron Chef America)
– 3 oz. Figenza Fig Vodka
– 1 1/2 oz. Sake
– 1/2 oz. Lime Juice
Shake it well and serve in a martini glass.



Betty Boop’s Zucchini Bread.
(makes 3 loaves)

4 cups coarsely shredded Zucchini
4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
4 eggs beaten
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
Grate or shred zucchini over a paper towel or wring in a kitchen towel to remove excess water.

Preheat oven to 325.  Thoroughly spray three loaf pans with a non stick spray.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix in oil, shredded zucchini and eggs until thoroughly combined.  Pour equal amounts into three loaf pans.
Bake for 50 minutes- 1 hour or until a knife comes out clean.
For a special treat or quick breakfast snack, toast slices of this fragrant quick bread and enjoy with apple butter, yum!

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