Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Cabernet Fig Jam Equation.

Bread + Cheese + Wine + Figs + Basil + Cracked Pepper = 

The Perfect Bite.

I know.

I'm good at math. 

I'm not bragging. If I were bragging I would say I'm GREAT at math.  I'm just saying I'm good at it. And I like it. Part of the challenge of this whole "explore my creative side" has been letting go of my 'math' side.

Because everyone knows the best part of math is the fact that there is always a right answer.

Or a wrong answer. Right or Wrong.

Not a little bit right. Not sorta right. Not almost right. Just right. or Wrong. Period.

And that's what this little bite was. Perfectly Right.  


We just came back from a few days at my in-laws where, in ADDITION to their 48 tomato plants, monstrosity of a lettuce factory, multiple 12 feet tall bean poles, rows of sweet walla wallas, there are 3 crazy producing fig trees.

At her insistence (and maybe my hint dropping for 71.5 hours) I took home a bucket of fresh figs. I promised myself no matter what, these would not go to spoil.

This morning when I checked on the figs, they looked at me as if to say "you have six hours to come up with something, or else we spoil".
Figs are not for Mr. sixtyone45 or Little everyone. And I get it. 
The texture of a fresh fig can be a bit slippery on the palette but the sweetness and freshness they scream is undeniable. I just wasn't sure what to make with them.  I had already attempted homemade fig newtons once before. They were a hit but a LOT of work. (thank YOU mr. christie) And I knew I didn't want to make Jam. It just seemed like the obvious solution. And as a math girl I say...beware of the obvious solution. 
Enter google.
So it turns out, there is a LOT you can do with fresh figs. Roast them with honey. Wrap them with prosciutto. Slice them on a pizza. Saute them in balsamic. Stuff them with luscious cheeses. (still not sure how they did that) It was a bit overwhelming and intimidating so I poured myself a glass of wine and decided....
... I'm just gonna make jam.
Not ANY jam mind you. Because something else that made it home with us from our in-law trip was several cases of our house wine.  Nonno Sixtyone45 imports grapes every year to crush and ferment his own heavenly nectar from the gods, and this year Mr. and I decided to officially get in on the action. 
And thus the Cabernet Fig Jam was born....


Its a very simple recipe with no pectin or thickening agent. The photos here represent the last little bit that I did not have room in the jars for.  It was thick, but not jam thick. I do hope it sets up over time, after being processed.

I used a ring mold to cut out some grainy, seedy (like sunflower, not like sketchy) bread I had. Then a dollop of creamy blue cheese.  The jam comes next. Add a sliver of fresh basil from the garden (which is doing fantastically after I learned it does not like living next to tomatoes) and top it off with some cracked pepper.

So although in the end, I went with the obvious solution and made the jam...


...I have no doubt it is the right answer.

Cabernet Fig Jam

2 pounds of fresh figs
1/2 sugar
1/3 cup red wine
2 T. Lemon Juice
1/4 cup water

1.  Chop up the figs into small bite size pieces. Bigger or smaller depending on how chunky you prefer your jam.

2.  In a large bowl, toss the chopped figs with the sugar and lemon juice. Let stand for one hour.

3.  Transfer the fig mixture to a medium saucepan and add the wine and water.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar, and also to ensure the sugar does not burn.

4. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

5. Transfer mixture to jars and process for 30 minutes. 

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