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  • Figs in Saffron-Infused Honey

    Friday, July 5, 2013

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    I happened upon the most beautiful fresh figs in the market the other day. They were irresistible:

    Fresh Figs

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my long journey to living a healthier life is that you have to be willing to try new foods….often more than once (truth be told, there are lots of things I’ve learned, but for the sake of adding a bit of drama to this post, let’s stick with one thing).  I can’t tell you how many times (and myriad ways) I tried tofu before I started to actually like it. (no fibbing here….I actually do like tofu).

    You see, after years of satisfying the cultivated love of salt, sweet and fat, many find ‘healthy’ foods very challenging to eat much less really enjoy. Here is where I feel a lot of  lifelong health-nut types get it all wrong when they talk about obesity and the remedy for what ails our generally unhealthy selves….they don’t understand that healthy food just doesn’t taste as good as the junk for people who have largely subsisted on fake food. At least, not at first and not naturally. There’s simply no denying that our human vessels are easily programmed to enjoy calorie-dense foods. Much research proves this out, and if you don’t believe it, just talk to someone who struggles with weight and/or eating healthy. I mean really talk to them and listen to how they view (and most importantly experience) healthy food. They aren’t just making this stuff up…much if it is so deeply learned and ingrained that it’s hard for them to imagine that something like a beautiful, perfectly ripe fig can be so delicious and sweet and completely satisfying. (Here’s another great and very comprehensive article about the science of junk food and how it hooks us…just in case you’re craving more information (you may find yourself reaching for a cocktail by the end…it’s a bit depressing).

    Add to this the cost of eating junk versus the cost of cooking and healthy foods and the overall lack of nutrition education and you have, well, the current obesity epidemic.

    Pardon my little soap box moment here. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know that I generally don’t spend a lot of time pontificating on the challenges of adopting a healthy eating lifestyle, but occasionally I have a moment of reflection. Apparently figs do this to me.

    Here’s the thing, I believe anyone who truly wants to eat and live healthier can get there. It takes commitment, fortitude, a little creative license and a sense of adventure, but I know it can and does happen. I hear about it from you all every day. The big takeaway here is that it won’t happen over night and it won’t always be delicious…

    Back to the gorgeous figs. Once they arrived on my kitchen counter, I had already decided how they would be enjoyed…simply. I heated a bit of honey in a skillet, added a few strands of saffron and a touch of vanilla and sauteed them just until they started to break down a bit. The lovely thing about this preparation is that they are equally enjoyable in a sweet (think topping for vanilla frozen yogurt) or savory (with cheese and bread) dish. Of course, they area also delightful just as they are and, as a yummy aside, the beautiful syrup would be great in a cocktail (maybe a gin gimlet or a martini of some sort).

    Saffron-Infused Honey Sauteed Fig Syrup

    Let me know what you think!

    Saffron-Infused Honey Sauteed Figs


    Saffron-infused Honey Sauteed Figs with Yogurt and Toasted Almonds.


    Figs in Saffron-Infused Honey

    servings: 4 | time: about 10 minutes

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    1 pint fresh figs (about 8-10 figs)
    1/3 cup honey
    pinch of salt
    1 small pinch saffron treads (about 6 threads)
    1 tsp. vanilla
    toasted slivered almonds for garnish


    1. Wash figs and slice in half. Set aside while you heat honey
    2. Add honey to a skillet and heat over medium until it begins to bubble. Add the salt, saffron and vanilla and cook for 2-3 minutes (turn heat down enough so it continues to bubble ever so minimally)
    3. Add the figs, cut side down and cook until they start to soften a bit, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
    4. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve over yogurt, low-fat ice cream or with cheese, other fruit and bread


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