Tuesday, July 03, 2007

In my dreams

My little detox eating program has not been without some hiccups and special intentional allowances (for example, on Saturday a morning hot chocolate and sugar in my miso-marinated fish for dinner, 1/2 scone today).

I've also lifted the ban on "heated oils", since I'm not sure what that accomplishes and I feel that swapping out plain hard boiled eggs for omelettes stuffed with a nice leafy green like spinach, can't be a bad thing. I've also lifted the ban on trace ingredients, like refined sugar from balsamic vinegar or wheat from soy sauce.

So, in general, I've kept it pretty pure. Interesting though, my denial of favorite foods came to life in my dream last night. Yes, I dreamed specifically of goat cheese crostini with fig jam. It represents all the food I crave the most: cheese, bread and sugar. I dreamed that I saw it and couldn't eat it.

But for those of you who can, here is a great recipe. Enjoy, because I can't yet.

Active time: 40 min Start to finish: 1 hr

3 tablespoons minced shallot
2 (3-inch) fresh thyme sprigs plus 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 Turkish or 1/4 California bay leaf
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 lb dried Black Mission figs, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup Port
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
12 (1/2-inch-thick) diagonally cut baguette slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 oz soft mild goat cheese at room temperature
2 fresh ripe figs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Garnish: fresh thyme leaves

Make savory fig jam:
Cook shallot, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf in butter in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Add dried figs, Port, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until figs are soft, about 10 minutes. If there is still liquid in saucepan, remove lid and simmer, stirring, until most of liquid is evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes more. Discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs and transfer jam to a bowl. Cool, then stir in minced thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

Make toasts while jam cools:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F.

Halve each baguette slice diagonally, then arrange on a baking sheet and brush tops lightly with oil. Bake until lightly toasted, about 7 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack.

Assemble crostini:
Spread each toast with 1 teaspoon fig jam and top with about 1 1/2 teaspoons goat cheese and 2 pieces fresh fig.

Cooks' notes:
• Fig jam can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before using.
• Toasts can be made 1 day ahead and cooled, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 24 hors d'oeuvres.

Gourmet Entertains
September 2003

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