Garden Fresh Fig Coffee Cake

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I never dreamed that I would ever be able to grow fresh figs until this move to southeast Pennsylvania. The climate here is warmer and the growing season longer. With a little winter protection my fig trees have thrived. As grocery produce goes they are a pricey commodity, so it’s a great example of why tending a small backyard garden is worth it. Here we are on the edge of November and these fresh figs are ripening fast and furious.

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Once picked figs don’t last long. They are quite perishable. We love them sliced and caramelized in butter with goat cheese and balsamic glaze, but we can only eat so many that way. Simmering a large pot of figs with honey and orange yielded two nice jars of jam. Still so many figs, so I baked a fresh fig cake recipe that I present today.

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This is a dense fruit cake filled with toasted pecans, chopped dates, dried cranberries and the fresh figs. It’s flavored with cardamom, citrus zest and a little orange liqueur. It is a moist cake that is delicious for breakfast topped with plain Greek yogurt or can be served as an elegant after dinner dessert topped with whipped cream.

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Garden Fresh Fig Cake

1 cup dried sweetened cranberries

1/2 cup pitted dates, quartered

2 tablespoons orange liqueur or orange juice

3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups canola

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

3 eggs

1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

1 cup chopped toasted pecans

 

12 ripe figs, quartered

Heat oven to 350F. Spray a coffee cake pan with no-stick baking spray. In small bowl, toss cranberries, dates and orange liqueur or juice; reserve. In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cardamom; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat sugar, oil and orange zest on high speed for 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; blend well. With mixer on low speed gradually add flour mixture blending just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in pecans and reserved dried fruit mixture. Spread half the batter evenly over bottom of pan. Evenly space half the figs on the batter. Spread remaining batter over figs. Top with remaining figs. Bake for 70 to 80 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto a plate and then invert again on to a cooling rack. I prefer the fig side up.

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I prefer to flip this over and serve it fig side up

 

Spirited Butternut Pecan Cookies

IMG_8091Today’s recipe is brought to you by NOT the great pumpkin, but the butternut squash. It’s not that I am not tempted to share some great pumpkin idea, but if your inbox is anything like mine you have been completely inundated with pumpkin recipes. Besides that I did not plant sugar pumpkins this year. I like to rotate my crops and the butternut squash did not disappoint.

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There is nothing like a fresh picked butternut squash. The biggest difference from store bought? The tender skin! There is no battle slicing through it nor the fear of chopping off a finger. Most of the dozen or so I got from just 1 seed grew quite large, but my final pick was a wee 5-inches.

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Chopped, cooked and smashed this little beauty yielded just 1/2 cup of butternut squash puree. It was more than enough for this cookie recipe that I wanted to test out.

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Yes! It is a spirited cookie. I guess you could say a certain Sailor inspired this one. He has been around a lot lately. The recipe also calls for a few other complimentary flavors like vanilla bean paste, pumpkin pie spice, toasty pecans and demerera sugar. The cookie bakes up soft, but not cake-like, on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside from the sprinkle of sugar.

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Here is a tip. If you are roasting or boiling up a butternut squash for dinner set aside 1/4 cupful for these cookies before adding any seasoning. You will be glad you did.

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Spirited Butternut Pecan Cookies

  • Servings: 3 dozen cookies
  • Print

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

¼ cup mashed butternut squash

1 tablespoon Jack Daniel’s whiskey

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

2 tablespoons demerera or turbinado sugar

36 pecan halves

Heat oven to350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In medium bowl, whisk flour, spice, baking soda and salt; set aside. In large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar for 5 minutes or until light and well mixed. Add egg yolk; blend well. Add squash, whiskey and vanilla bean paste; blend well. Add flour mixture; stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until well blended. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon drop cookie batter onto prepared baking sheet. Press 1 pecan into center of each cookie. Sprinkle each with a pinch of demera sugar. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown around edges.

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Have a great week from my real favorite pumpkin

Super Shopping & Soup Pot Give Away

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Here is some exciting news for all my foodie fanatic friends at least those who love to cook and bake. Mark your calendar for Delaware’s Annual Mega Warehouse Sale of Kitchen Products. They have given me an exclusive look at this beautiful stock pot and generously giving one away to one lucky reader. More about that later.

Scheduled for October 27 – 28, 2017  See what you can look forward to.

Consumers and professional chefs are invited to the annual mega warehouse sale of home and kitchen products in New Castle, DE on Friday, October 27 and Saturday October 28. This year’s event includes exclusive products not available at prior warehouse sales or anywhere else in the United States. Products purchased at the sale are tax free.

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Thousands of people converge on the industrial complex in the first state each year for bargains and factory seconds from premium European brands: Emile Henry, Duralex, Lékué, Mauviel, Rösle and Novis Vita Juicer. Shoppers will be able to pick up holiday gifts for everyone on their gift lists including products for professional and amateur cooks and bakers, serious grillers, healthy eaters, movie night fanatics and even news year’s revelers.

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Cooking enthusiasts will have the opportunity to buy the stainless-steel BBQ tools, the French ceramic lasagna baker, the copper stewpot, the centrifugal juicer and hundreds of other kitchen products they’ve been coveting for years. The two-day sale on Friday, October 27 and Saturday October 28 is in the Centerpoint Business Complex Park in New Castle at 802 Centerpoint Blvd. Follow signs from Route 273 to the warehouse. Doors open at 3:00PM on Friday and 9:00AM on Saturday. Cash and credit cards will be accepted. For additional information on the sale, please call 302-326-4800.

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The Annual Stock up for Seniors Meals on Wheels Delaware fundraiser is scheduled for Thursday, October 26 from 6:30 till 9pm, the night before the sale opens to the general public. Visit www.mealsonwheelsde.org to purchase tickets to the fundraiser. Ticket sales as well as 5% of the proceeds from the warehouse sale will benefit Meals On Wheels Delaware.

For cooks who don’t know these brands, here are a few facts: Emile Henry colorful, all natural, heirloom quality ovenware and tableware is made from Burgundian clay in the French town of Marcigny. Mauviel 1830 is one of the only copper cookware manufacturers left in the world today and makes all of its products in Normandy, France. Rösle’s award winning, German designed kitchens tools are backed by a lifetime warranty. Duralex is the French manufacturer of the renowned French Picardie drinking glasses and Lys glass bowls. Lékué is a Spanish manufacturer of platinum silicone cooking tools and bakeware designed for healthy cooking. Novis offers a Swiss designed, multifunctional, powerful juicer in a range colors.

  Warehouse Sale 2017

Products from all six brands are sold in premier kitchen stores and online catalogs and have been featured in hundreds of articles and shows in the national media including the Today’s Show, Good Morning America, Food Network, Cooks Illustrated, Fine Cooking, New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, The Oprah Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping Magazine and the Los Angeles Times.

Duralex, Emile Henry, Lékué, Mauviel, Novis, Rösle

802 Centerpoint Blvd., New Castle, DE 19720

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And now for the give away of this lovely Emile Henry ceramic soup pot/tureen. Don’t you love a piece that does double duty cook and serve? I think you will not only love it for its good looks, but also for its ability to efficiently conduct heat using lower temperatures. Made of natural materials with a non-porous glaze no oil is needed to prevent sticking to the pot and allows for gentle healthy cooking of soups, stews, chili and anything that one likes to braise. Beautifully insulated it also kept my soup warm for a good three hours sitting off the heat (perfect for a holiday open house event). Unlike metal pots clean up is a snap with no burnt on crusts to scrub. If you would like to win this amazing stock pot please go over to my Instagram (follow me) and leave a comment tagging a friend on the soup photo. For an extra entry leave a comment here with your favorite soup.

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Here is one of my favorite soups using fresh butternut squash and Thai basil picked from my garden today. Using the Emile Henry stock pot eliminated the need for oil, but if you are using a metal pan add a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil to cook the curry paste and onions. If you like your soup spicy then certainly kick up the amount of curry paste.

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Thai Style Coconut Chicken Soup with Butternut Squash

1 to 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk

3 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced

1-tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 cups thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken

garnish: chopped green onions and Thai basil leaves

Heat stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and red curry paste; cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until fragrant and onions are softened. Add the coconut milk, broth and brown sugar; increase heat and bring to the boil. Add the squash, lime juice and chicken and cook for 8–10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the squash is tender. Top the soup with the green onion and basil leaves to serve. Serves 4–6.

 

I will randomly choose a winner in 2 weeks. Good luck and happy shopping.

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