Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Southern Cuisine - August

 

August 1, 2020 | View PDF

Our economy depends on cash flow. Our farmers, ranchers and other small businesses need as much help as we can afford. Buy local and help your fellow Alabamians. Also, don’t forget to donate to your local food bank whenever possible!

 

It was 95 degrees with the heat index of 106. If the virus doesn’t get you, the heat will. I finished my outdoor chores before 11:00, and I started on my indoor chores. Those chores could be anything: fixing a leak in the bathroom and/or kitchen, fixing the door knobs so they don’t come off the doors when you shut them, changing the filters on the air conditioners, and figuring out how to re-wire the fan in the kitchen so the switch in the Great Hall doesn’t turn it on or off and re-wire the switch in the sunroom so it doesn’t turn on or off the light on the fan in the kitchen. It is fun living in a 190 year-old home.

 

I don’t go grocery shopping like I used to. Before, I would go up and down every aisle in the store and see if there is something new that I should try. Now I make a hard list, no changes, and no additions. I am in and out, and if I forgot something or see a new brightly covered container of some supposedly delicious, exotic, gourmet, limited-time-only sustenance, well that is too bad! If I go to a farmers market then there is no list. I buy what is in season, fresh and jumps out at me saying, “Take me, take me!”

 

My go-to foodstuff at this time comes from my garden, my orchard and my beehives. So today’s recipes list an item from each. We will use figs from my orchard, tomatoes and rosemary from my garden, and honey from my beehives. One of the recipes will be served warm. The galette can be served cold or served warm with ice cream on top. The dressing usually goes on a cold salad.

There are not many recipes that combine tomatoes and figs and beans. I think that this will be a good side for chicken or fish.

 

 

Herbed Parmesan Beans with Cherry Tomatoes & Figs

 

Serves 3-4

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups canned white beans, drained & rinsed

1 sprig of rosemary

1 sprig of thyme

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved, if you have a lot of tomatoes, like I do, add more.

1 Tbsp of finely chopped parsley

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper

Dried red pepper flakes (optional but does add a nice kick to dish)

4-5 figs, stems cut off & sliced

 

METHOD:

1. Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to large skillet along with rosemary, thyme & garlic. Heat over high heat & cook for a few minutes until oil becomes fragrant.

2. Stir in beans & lower temperature to medium-high. Warm, without stirring for a few minutes, then give beans a nice stir. Cook for another 5 minutes, without stirring. Beans are already cooked, you are heating them up.

3. Sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese and, again, cook for a few minutes without stirring & breaking up the beans.

4. Stir in tomatoes, parsley, salt, pepper & pepper flakes, make sure you taste test for salt & pepper.

5. Continue cooking until beans begin to look golden in places.

6. Transfer everything to a bowl, add figs, sprinkle with more Parmesan, and another tablespoon of olive oil. Toss gently, then serve warm. 

 

I am not much of a cake eater. These rustic summer desserts are easy to make and the great thing about a galette is you can show off your artistic work with the filling. 

 

Fig, Mint and Honey Galette 

 

Serves 4-6

 

INGREDIENTS:

For the dough:

Use your favorite store bought piecrust, I did.

Or make your own crust. I didn’t.

For the filling:

 

1+ pint of fresh figs, sliced (enough figs to cover center of galette)

1 sprig of mint

1 Tbsp of honey

2 Tbsp of mixed brown sugar and white sugar

 

METHOD:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Roll out from the center to form a circle. Flour the surface and your rolling pin if the dough sticks. Carefully transfer it to a lined baking sheet.

3. Arrange the fig slices over the dough in concentric circles, leaving about a 2-inch border. Any leftover slices can be place as a second layer.

4. Next, sprinkle the sugar evenly over the figs & then drizzle honey on them. Scatter a few mint leaves on top.

5. Carefully fold over the edges of the dough, pinching them & closing any holes with extra dough. Keep moving in a circle until you’ve created a pouch with the dough.

6. Brush edges with water & sprinkle with sugar.

7. Bake galette for approximately 50 minutes (start watching after about 35) until the dough is golden brown. Let galette rest for about 15-30 minutes before slicing.

8. You want the honey, figs and sugar to thicken as it cools. (A pizza slicer is ideal for a galette).

 

Every salad has some sort of dressing that goes with it. This dressing goes well with arugula or other slightly bitter greens. And starting with this basic recipe, you can adapt it to whatever taste you are carving at the time. 

 

Honey Vinaigrette

 

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

½ tsp Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp honey

Salt & pepper, to taste

1 sprig rosemary

 

METHOD:

In screw-top jar, combine all ingredients except rosemary and shake jar vigorously. Add rosemary and let refrigerate overnight. Shake again before use. Good for about a week. Make it your own: Add other fresh herbs, garlic or shallots. Or try white balsamic vinegar instead of red wine.

 

A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then little by little it grows nothing but vegetables; nothing, nothing but vegetables!

 

Enjoy!

 

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