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Plat du Jour: Monday September 24, 2012: Five Fig Ideas and Obama the Eater

Much attention has been lavished upon President Obama and the White House’s home brewing unit…the most highly coveted beer now in the world, easily over Pliny the Elder. I only had to wait five hours in line last year for the latter. I’m doubting I’ll be tasting the White House beer…you never know though, because today Barbara Walters received some of the beer from the President.

Recently I’ve been following the blog Obama Foodorama daily, an excellent concept that calls itself “blog of record about White House food initiatives, from policy to pie.” Much of the excitement from the blog, which serves as the public of the digital archive of record for the Obama Administration’s food and nutrition initiatives, comes from reading and learning what the President actually is served at formal functions and what he eats to…just eat. Often recipes are included from the White House chefs.

It’s an important and fascinating resource. Make sure to visit often!

With September coming to a close in a week, it still might be tomato season, but let’s now focus on another bountiful September produce delight: figs. Of course figs are excellent plain. How about a few other fig ideas? And yes, eat the fig skin and look for figs that are just barely starting to be soft. Use the same guidelines for ripeness with figs as you might with peaches and plums.

As complimentary as melon is to prosciutto, melon has nothing on figs in this pairing for a light late Summer, early Fall starter. A year ago Gjelina, an ultra seasonal restaurant in Venice Beach, CA, opened my eyes to this concept with figs from some obscure little backyard nearby. It’s even better with some honey and chevre. Then again, what isn’t?

With late season peaches, figs are excellent grilled on a grate and thrown into salads or to accompany steak or fish. Save the stewed figs with hearty duck or lamb shank dishes for when the temperature dips below 40 as a high.

Usually blueberries, apricots, and strawberries get the headlines for jam. Don’t pass up the opportunity now to make fig jam for today and to last through the winter if you’re a jam maker.

Having always been a fan of the commercial fig newtons, I just sampled an excellent artisan fig newton at the Downtown Bakery in Healdsburg, CA. Serious Eats has you covered to make fig newtons at home...maybe just called fig cookies?

Last night I took a stab at roasting figs with honey and orange. It’s a simple pairing that works beautifully.  I complimented the honey in the sauce with a honey lavender ice cream and added some crunch from a granola studded with coconut, toffee peanuts, banana chips, and chocolate chips. All the good things in life. Figs also roast very well in sweet wine sauces, especially Port. Somehow, that seems more for December as well.

Now get reading and cooking some figs on this final Monday of September! On that note, are you ready for some football?

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