Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple Fig Fruit Leather

My fig tree seem to produce about 10 ripe figs every few days so this is perfect for my blogging needs LOL.  Most recipes call for 8-12 figs and you have to use them within a day or so or they will go bad so this has been working well for me.  This recipe for fruit leather I have always wanted to try and it was soooo super easy and really delicious.  My kids ate it all in a matter of minutes.  One batch really didn't yield very much so next time I will have to double or triple the recipe so I have more to store for a few days.  Also next time I will dry the fruit leather on parchment paper so I can cut it up including the paper and roll it up so it won't stick on itself when it's stored.   I can't wait to try other fruit versions of this, so great and no added sugar (honestly with the figs I didn't even really need the honey at all).  You can find the original recipe at Mama.Papa.Bubba


10 ripe figs, washed and halved
2 apples, cored and peeled
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon honey


Preheat oven to the lowest setting.  Mine oven only goes down to 170 degrees F but 125 degrees F would be better.   Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (paper should cover all edges of the pan) or you could cover the entire pan including edges with foil an then place a silpat liner on top of the foil. 

Place figs, apples and water in a covered pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer fruit, covered for about 30 minutes, or until very soft and water is absorbed.  Pour everything into a food processor or good blender and purée until smooth.  Pour fruit mixture out onto parchment-lined baking sheet and use the back of a spatula to spread the fruit purée out so it covers the entire base of the pan. Shake the pan make the purée as even as possible.  The edges tend to be much thinner and will dry out fast than the middle if you don't get it spread out evenly to the edges.
Put pan in the oven for approximately 8 hours if on 125 degrees F.  I set mine for 7 hours and check since my oven temp is higher and it only actually took 6 hours at 170 degrees F so definitely check yours around 5 1/2 hours. 

You want to remove the fruit leather from the oven when it’s still sticky to the touch, but not at all wet.  You may find that part of your fruit leather will be done earlier than the rest.  In this case,  you’ll need to remove the fruit leather from the oven, cut off the finished part, and return the still wet to the touch part to the oven for another hour or two.  It's done when the leather will peel easily off of the liner and the bottom side will be shiny.

When finished, simply remove the large sheet of fruit leather from the baking sheet, cut of the excess parchment paper around the edges, and cut directly through both the remaining parchment and fruit leather to create strips.  Roll strips and store in an air-tight container.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Quick and Easy Fig Preserves

I absolutely love fig jam and preserves served with cheese, so delicious.   So when I picked a few more figs this morning this was the first thing I wanted to make.  Not sure if this technically classifies as jam or preserves because there is no pectin in this recipe but it's sweet and thick and perfect to spread on toast so in my book it's close enough :)  It definitely won't have the shelf life of the preserves that you buy in the store so make it just a day or so ahead of the time you want to use it.
1 cup fresh figs, diced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
In a small saucepan combine all ingredients.  Cook over medium heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Use an immersion blender directly in hot pan to puree the fig mixture into a smoother (but not completely smooth) consistency.  Pour into a small bowl and refrigerate until completely cool. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing

This is a great Pinterest find.  My sister Susan made this for a family BBQ and I loved it!  I have since made it twice and everyone who tries it raves about it and wants the recipe.  I've altered the original recipe slightly but you can see the original recipe here at Kitchen Fiddler.  This is a copy kat recipe of Houston' Kale Salad.


4 cups finely chopped kale
2 cups finely chopped savoy cabbage
1 scallion finely chopped, white and green parts
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1/2 cup peanut oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey


In a large bowl combine, kale, cabbage, scallions, cilantro and roasted peanuts

In a small bowl, combine peanut oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey and whisk to combine. Pour dressing over kale and toss well to coat.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fig Banana Bread

I was so excited to discover a gorgeous fig tree in my backyard this year that I didn't even know I had.  A friend of mine pointed it out to me one day at the end of the summer and to my surprise at closer inspection the tree was covered with about a hundred figs which in a few weeks would be ready to pick.  Ever since that moment I have been slightly obsessed with this tree and going out daily to inspect it and impatiently waiting for one of those hard little green figs to ripen to a big, juicy purple fruit.  Well the other day I was so thrilled to find about a dozen beautiful ripe figs ready to be picked.   So now over the next few weeks I will be testing as many fig recipes as I can find!!  The first of which is this delicious super moist Fig Banana Bread!! YUM YUM YUM!

My fig tree!
Figs before they start to ripen
Figs starting to ripen
Nice ripe figs ready to be picked!!
The most deliciously moist Fig Banana Bread straight from the smells amazing!
4 small very ripe bananas
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ripe figs, quartered
6 ripe figs, diced
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup white flour 1 cup whole wheat flour)
In a large bowl beat together coconut oil, brown sugar, bananas and vanilla until combined well.  Add to the mixture 6 figs which have been quartered and beat into the mixture until they are broken down and part of the batter.  Next, beat in eggs until combined.  Sprinkle in baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix.  Add flour one cup at a time until batter is smooth.  Lastly to add more fig flavor and texture mix in the final 6 figs that you have diced.  Mix these in with a spoon to avoid breaking them up completely.  Pour batter into a loaf pan that has been greased with non-stick cooking spray ( I use coconut oil spray).  Bake at 350 degrees F until bread is set in the middle, about 50 minutes.  Allow to cool before slicing.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Quick & Easy French Toast Casserole

 My daughter wanted french toast for breakfast so I took out the huge frying pan and then I thought.....I don't want to stand at my stove and make french toast for everyone and then they are all done eating while I'm still cooking.  So I decided to make a casserole instead.  The only problem is usually you need to soak the bread in the custard overnight before you bake it and I needed something to be done from start to finish in 30 minutes.  So I decided to break the french toast casserole rules and just wing it.  It came out delicious and you would never know that it wasn't soaked overnight. 
**Update 9/7/13 - This is the most popular recipe that we have on our blog.  It continues to be a big hit so I thought I'd update the pictures and re-post it for anyone who is looking for something simple and quick to make for breakfast or brunch.  It's great for your family or a big crowd!! Enjoy, Ellen :) 


4-5 cups of torn challah bread (or any thick sliced bread)
5 eggs
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup maple syrup
*optional - sprinkle some brown sugar over the top before you bake for a nice sweet crusty top!


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease 9x13 casserole dish.  Pour about 1/2 cup of syrup in the bottom of the casserole dish.  Layer torn bread on top of the syrup.  In a large bowl beat eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon.  Pour egg mixture evenly over bread in casserole dish and press bread down to make sure it's completely soaked.  Drizzle remaining syrup over top of bread and custard.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until casserole is puffed up and golden brown on top.  Remove from oven and drizzle additional maple syrup on top and serve while hot.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Easy - Pot to Pan Double Chocolate Brownies

If you like dense, ooey gooey brownies with a deep chocolate flavor then these brownies are for you!  I love that you can make the entire batter in the same pot and then just pour into a baking dish to bake.  Easy and delicious!



1 12 oz bag semi sweet chocolate chips plus 3/4 cup extra
2 sticks butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour


In a large saucepan melt butter and 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips together (reserve extra chocolate chips for the end).  Stir constantly until chocolate is completely melted.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and sugar and blend directly in pot with a hand mixer.  Next add eggs one at a time until completely combined.  Last, blend in coffee, salt and flour until combined and smooth.  With a wooden spoon mix in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips which will slightly melt and add more chocolate flavor to the batter.  Transfer batter into a greased 13x9 pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.