Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know that today is election day in the U.S.? I seriously doubt it. And, as I’ve said many times before, even though it’s not my election, I am involved. Engaged. And worried. There’s a lot at stake, not just for Americans, but for the whole world.
And regardless of who wins, there will be an impact on Canada. There always is. After all, we’re not only neighbours, we’re trading partners. We depend on each other, although sometimes I think politicians forget that. Another story, for another time.
Anyway, I’ve decided I need a distraction. It is going to be a long wait, I think, until we know who’ll be in the White House for the next four years. We’ll probably be up quite late tonight, biting our nails. A trip to the grocery store, yesterday, inspired me.
I’m going to distract myself with food. Figs, in particular. Fresh figs.
There’s a relatively short season for them. In fact, I’m surprised I managed to find some. Not that I was looking, mind you. But there they were. One more little package of four, black figs. They range in colour from black, to deep, dark purple, to pale green. Personally, I prefer the black or dark purple.
They’re all delicious, though.
To begin with, I love how they look. They’re round. Full. Voluptuous. Quite sexy, actually. And I love the contrast between the outside and inside. The pale green ones have pink flesh on the inside, while the darker figs have flesh that is almost red.
You’ve got to eat them pretty quickly, though. They are very delicate and don’t keep well. Best not refrigerated.
If you’ve never had any, they are quite sweet. But a bit musty at the same time. Very earthy. Succulent. Luscious. Sometimes they excrete a bit of syrup. When they do, I like them with plain yoghurt, the thicker the better. Greek yoghurt, actually. I also love them with prosciutto (which turned out to be yesterday’s lunch). Great contrast between the chewiness and saltiness of the ham and the silkiness and sweetness of the figs. They look wonderful just casually piled on a platter, together. To be gathered up, with your fingers, and eaten together. How decadent! How delish!
Another great way to serve them, is with Stilton, or any blue cheese. I cut the figs in half, top with a bit of the cheese and put them under the broiler, until the cheese melts and the figs are warm. A very good and simple hors d-oeuvre. Or just plain, with pieces of fresh parmigiano-reggiano. The cheese is fabulous with some honey drizzled on it, by the way. They’re even good in salad. Arugula, radicchio, fresh figs, blue cheese, toasted pecans and a little balsamic. I’m getting hungry all over again.
As a dessert, they pair really well with nuts and all aged cheeses. Enjoyed with a lovely glass (or two) of ten or fifteen year old port.
Just in case you’re also hungry for a little information about figs, I can serve some of that up, as well. Fig trees, which are grown in temperate climates, can grow as high as thirty-three feet. They’ve been cultivated since ancient times, and mature trees can provide a lot of shade. Good to lay under, in the hot, summer sun, in other words. The edible fig is one of the first plants to be cultivated by humans, dating back to about 9400 – 9200 BC. This predates the domestication of wheat, barley and legumes, which means that they might be the first known instance of agriculture.
Figs are also good for you. They’re one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fibre. Once dried, they are richest in fibre, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium and vitamin K. They are also a good, natural laxative and contain many antioxidants. And, lest we forget, fig leaves are a great cover-up. Adam and Eve did, after all, cover themselves with fig leaves after they ate that forbidden fruit.
Okay. That’s it. I’m going to pick up some figs on my way home tonight. If I can’t find fresh ones, I’ll get dried. Either way, it will be preferable to biting my nails while I’m waiting for the results to come in.
Finally. It’s been a long campaign.