Happy Hour: Figs, Cheese, Sherry

Happy Hour: Figs, Cheese, Sherry

International Happy Hour
Mission Figs/Cambozola/Oloroso Sherry

Fresh figs from California, creamy cheese from Germany, and semi-sweet sherry from Spain together create an amazing food synergy. They enhance each other in this simple yet stellar international happy hour fare.

Our cherished dark purple California figs were brought to the New World in the 1500s and got their name from the Franciscan missionaries who brought them up from Mexico and planted them in the mission gardens along the Pacific coast in the late 1700s.

  • Black Mission Figs have a honeyed-earthy-fruity flavor and creamy lusciousness. They are available fresh from mid-May through November.
  • Cambozola is German cow’s milk cheese reminiscent of a combination of French Brie and Italian Gorgonzola…triple creamy with that distinctive bleu cheese flavor.
  • Oloroso Sherry from Jerez, Spain has wonderful aromas of nuts, vanilla and caramel plus rich nutty semi-sweet creamy flavors. Oloroso sherries offer a terrific balance between sweet and dry.
  • A chewy rustic bread brushed with good olive oil is key, be sure to grill the bread over an open flame rather than toast it, that smoky char adds an important element to the combination.
  • Fresh thyme sprigs add another earthy layer.

Enjoy figs warmed in adorable cast iron pans with bubbling cambozola on grilled bread with a nip of oloroso sherry for a rich, savory, smoky, and sweet happy hour. Cheers to Fall!

Fresh Figs and Melted Cambozola Recipe

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Figs and Sabayon à la Julia Child

Figs and Sabayon à la Julia Child

Celebrating Julia Child’s Birthday
with
Macerated Fresh Black Mission Figs and Marsala/French Vermouth Sabayon
Roasted Hazelnuts, Maldon Sea Salt, Borage

It has been a tradition since the beginning of Taste With The Eyes in 2007, to celebrate and honor Julia Child in the month of August. She passed away eleven years ago today, and her 103rd birthday would have been on Saturday.

With the happy confluence of the call for chilled desserts by my friends at the Food Network, the need for an elegant dessert course for my virtual restaurant – The Borage & Basil Bistro, and the annual tribute to our beloved Chef – it is my sweet pleasure to share Figs and Sabayon à la Julia Child.

Julia Child Tributes

Travel back in time and enjoy French food and revel in its perfection as Julia describes her very first meal in France in 1948. (here)

Sneak into Julia’s kitchen to watch her make the authentic Caesar Salad and Salmon in Papillote in her usual charming and un-fussy manner. (here)

Join Julia and her friends in a beautiful courtyard, seated at a little white table beneath a leafy trellis for a splendid lunch, while they uncover the secret of loup de mer. (here)

Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child
Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child

Julia Child
August 15, 1912 – August 13, 2004

“…A careful approach will result in a magnificent burst of flavor, a thoroughly satisfying meal, perhaps even a life changing experience. Such was the case with the Sole Meunière I ate at La Couronne on my first day in France, in November 1948. It was an epiphany. In all the years since that succulent meal, I have yet to lose the feelings of wonder and excitement that it inspired in me. I can still almost taste it. And thinking back on it now reminds me that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite – toujours bon appetit!“

  -Julia Child, My Life In France

Figs and Sabayon à la Julia Child Recipe

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Lemon Ricotta Pasta Salad with Figs and Mint

Lemon Ricotta Pasta Salad with Figs and Mint
Lemon Ricotta Pasta Salad
with
Figs, Mint, Macadamia Nuts

Light, lemony, and refreshing. Perfect for a picnic side dish or a lunch on the veranda served with a chilled glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Nuts and fruit, lemon and mint – pair with crema di ricotta to make a pasta salad just meant to be enjoyed on a warm day in brilliant sunshine.

Fresh figs have two seasons in California – the first two weeks in June, then the second season runs August through October. If fresh figs are available, by all means try them in this salad – but if not, dried figs work just as well.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta Salad Recipe

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Palate Pleaser: Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary

Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary

Palate Pleaser: Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary

Fresh ripe California Black Mission Figs are frozen overnight then run through my trusty vintage Champion Juicer. The result is pure fig, but you would swear it is gelato. The texture is extraordinarily creamy and custardy. I add a whisper of rose water to add to the mystery. Then the frozen fig is topped with salty marcona almonds, fresh piney rosemary, sweet rose crystals and a slice of fresh California Kadota fig. Petite glasses of this palate pleaser are presented on a platter lined with fresh fig leaves and rose petals.

Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary Recipe

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Pappardelle ~ Apple, Fig, Pistachio, Mint, Saffron Cream

Pappardelle with Saffron Cream
Apple, Fig, Pistachio, Mint

  • Our 5 Star Makeover Cooking Club is featuring apples for the fabulous September event.
  • My family and friends are celebrating the Jewish New Year 5773. And I’m thinking about noodle kugel. Kugel is a sweet Jewish casserole. I bake mine with egg noodles, golden raisins, cottage cheese, cinnamon, and apples. I was also thinking about my saffron matzoh balls…
  • My little guy Wilson needed some tests. When I dropped him off, his awesome veterinarian gave me a big basket of fresh figs from her garden.

These three events cosmically intertwined. Apples & figs collided with noodles & saffron. And the result was a delightful vegetarian pasta with a luxurious saffron cream sauce. It was an exotic marriage of sweet & savory, creamy & crunchy. The colors were glorious ~ golden yellow saffron, pale green granny smith apples, pink salmon-hued figs, and bright green mint.

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please come for tea & sherry

tea sherry party

Home-Grown Fresh Lemon Verbena Tea
Bodega Dios Baco Oloroso Sherry
Mini Sherry Tea Cakes with Marcona Almond & Rosemary
Roasted Black Figs, Honey, Fig Balsamic Syrup, Black Pepper, Sea Salt
Cream Sherry Glaze

sherry tea cakes, beautiful high tea image

“You are formally invited to a virtual British afternoon tea party that will take during the week of August 27th! We thought it would be great to follow up our Greek adventures, the original place of Olympics, with a British-inspired culinary theme, the location of this year’s summer Olympics.

Bring a gourmet sweet or savory treat – either a makeover of a classic or your own unique creation. Some general items on a traditional tea menu include: sandwiches, sausage rolls, Victoria sponge, cakes, and scones.”

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