Fig, you Mighty Temptress

Would you like to know what I ate for breakfast this morning? Okay, I'll go ahead and tell you.

Broiled Toast*
with mozzarella, homemade fig jam, toasted pine nuts, and fresh basil

*for all you meat eaters out there, this breakfast would be made complete with a lovely slice of prosciutto sitting on top and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Yes, we made a fresh batch of fig jam yesterday for the Cafe and I couldn't help but sneak a large jar home for our own fridge. I love this jam and I'll find any excuse to put it on top of something. Anything. Sweet or savory: doesn't matter. Funny thing is is that during my morning routine, of breakfast and catching up on my blogging (i.e. reading and writing, and writing and reading and taking photographs and deleting photographs), I happened upon a super-cute Cafe customer's blog only to discover that she had recently made a post about the Little Red Bike Cafe, and more specifically about our fig jam. The very fig jam I was consuming at that moment! She wrote,

"Typically, we visit The Little Red Bike Cafe, or LRBC, for an Alleycat and the most delicious little doughnuts. It’s a tiny coffee shop so the menu is simple and it does not take long for the food to reach the belly once you’ve ordered."

I couldn't help but smile and choke down my toast when I read this next line,

"Not to mention Brian might have a little mini-crush on the wife of the husband/wife-team owners. His crush might actually be on her fig jam, hehe."

Aha! A crush on fig jam? Is that even possible? Hum...Well, yes, I most certainly believe it is. I believe I am living proof. There is something undeniably sensual about the fig; its soft skin, its seemingly blooming pink fruit on the inside, its sweet chewy texture. The fig is one of the most ancient foods, it's history deeply intertwined with our own. It's now grown all over the world from Greece to Mexico, and throughout history from Adam and Eve, and The Prophet Muhammad, to my personal favorite, Theodor Herzl in his depiction of the future Jewish Homeland, we are people who have been captivated, swooned by, and perpetually in awe of the fig. Not that I am in the business of tempting others but if I were, and a big emphasis on the word if, I think a fig would be a good way to go about it.

But because I'm not a Temptress, and anything but, I thought it would be a wise decision to leave the tempting to the fig herself and just go ahead and share our Black Mission Fig Jam recipe with all of you.

LRBC's Homemade Black Mission Fig Jam*
Yields approximately 2 ½ cups jam

1 pound dried black Mission figs, de-stemmed, cut, and quartered
2 ½ cups water
2 ½ cups red wine
2 teaspoons molasses
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon clove

Bring all ingredients to boil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Once mixture boils, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until figs are very soft and jam is thick. Continue to stir occasionally to prevent the jam from sticking, adding more liquid if needed. Once figs are soft, about 45 minutes, puree jam in processor.

*please note, I sized this recipe down from a much, much bigger one that we use for the Cafe so proportions may be slightly off. Play around with it. Have fun. It will be a delicious process, I promise.

As most of you know, we use this jam at the Cafe on our Alleycat Sandwich, which has a fried egg, prosciutto, Beecher's Flagship cheese, caramelized onions, Dijon, and fig jam on Fleur de Lis ciabatta. We've also been known to make a mean grilled cheese with this jam. Other ways you can enjoy this delicious spread?

* bring some along on a picnic and top whole wheat crackers with jam, soft chevre, and prosciutto
*use as a spread to liven up your ham sandwich
*salted buttered toast and fig jam. nuff said.
*treat yourself to breakfast of cheddar biscuits with country ham, fig jam and scallion butter
*fried egg sandwich with blue cheese, fig jam, and bacon soothes any heartache
*be the hostess with the mostess with a brie en croute baked with fig jam and pecans
*refresh your pizza with smoked mozzarella, fig jam, green and gold squash, fresh basil, and olive oil and cracked pepper

Seriously, Dudes.
The Possibilities are Endless...


Anonymous said...

While you're in the habit of reading your customer's blogs...


Velomann said...

That decided it. Trying to decide what the new tree in front will be. A fig it is.

Bromka said...

Today's NY Times article about cycling in PDX is woefully incomplete due to an absence of the LRBC,

Oh well, they can try again next time.