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Mona’s Test Kitchen

Stuffed Figs - The Duo Dishes

I never knew that I would meet this hilarious woman named Mona at an Italian event in West Los Angeles. I’m happy that we met that afternoon because we’ve remained in touch since then. It wasn’t until we exchanged our first email that I realized she had a blog, Cook This…Get Laid, that would make me giggle (and make some take notes). We have continued to cross paths at various food events and parties, and soon, I hope we’ll cross paths in a kitchen. It’s time for a cooking collabo. And it’s also time for her to meet Amir! For now, she’s sharing one of her favorite summer recipes for you and whomever you want to impress.

“When the mercury goes beyond 80 degrees, I don’t eat full or heavy meals. I just nibble all day long. And why not?  Summer months are delicious when plums, peaches and nectarines are at their peak.  But eating smaller meals in summer months is also how we’re wired.  The body requires less energy/calories during warmer weather to maintain the right temperature, which is why you walk around the house in your underwear while taking a big, fat pass on beef stew!

I’m a little obsessed with these details: caloric input, energy output, how the body responds in warmer/colder weather, the list goes on.  There’s some method to my madness though, I am always thinking about foods that help keep us going in our very busy lives.  That’s right, I am on a mission to find foods that give you energy.”

Baking Stuffed Figs - The Duo Dishes

“Why do I obsess over this stuff?  Because I typically write about using foods to enhance your love life, which is hard to do that when you’re both asleep on the couch.

One final thing about those little bites: they’d better taste good.  And my recipe, goat cheese covered figs with a balsamic glaze, accomplishes this.

This recipe takes 20 minutes if you’re moving slower than molasses in January.  Figs are perfect right now through late summer, and this recipe will have you believing you’re sampling an appetizer at a restaurant. Especially as you lick the sweet, syrupy balsamic glaze from your fingers which tops the classic combination of figs and goat cheese with virtually no guilt, and leaves you energized for any other activity you choose.”

Goat Cheese Figs Balsamic Glaze - The Duo Dishes

Goat Cheese Covered Figs With Balsamic Glaze – Serves four. Or a very hungry duo.

Preheat toaster oven to 400 degrees.  You have a toaster oven right?  If not, go out and buy one right now for this reason only: there are many occasions when you don’t want the entire house heated up from oven use. This can happen in the dead of winter, but especially summer.  It’s an essential tool in any kitchen. So get crackin’!

Balsamic Glaze
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon grade B pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon wheat-free Tamari, Bragg Liquid Amino’s (I love this stuff, less sodium and good flavor) or low-sodium soy sauce

Combine vinegar, syrup, and Tamari in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, around 15-20 minutes. Remove from the stovetop and let cool.

Figs & Goat Cheese
8 ripe figs (they should feel fairly soft when you gently squeeze them)
3 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature

You’ll be using the figs as a base to hold the cheese and sauce, so cut the stem off as straight as possible. Cut the fig in half (check out the picture), then place on a foil covered baking sheet.

Take a teaspoon of cheese and scoop small servings of the softened goat cheese on top of the figs. You can have big heaping teaspoons, or baby ones, that is a matter of personal choice. I use somewhere in the middle.  Place the cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.

When you remove it from the oven, drizzle the balsamic sauce over the figs and cheese.

Eat it, and love it.

Mona Holmes-Nisker

Click HERE for the printable recipe.

12 thoughts on “Mona’s Test Kitchen

  1. i can see how you two hit it off! not sure how laying fast asleep on the couch is good for the 2nd part of her blog’s name! LOL! Love some figs with cheese. Que rico. And definitely light enough for summer, though in this house, heavy foods, soups included make their way to my belly all year round. Shame.

  2. Best tip is about the toaster oven. I HATE using my oven during the summer. It really heats our house quickly. Better yet, I’ll just do it on Alexis’ Big Green Egg.

  3. Figs and creamy cheese are such a can’t-miss duo. I can’t get enough of figs at this time of year. And that’s saying a lot, when you think about all the wonderful fruit available during summer. But nothing beats figs.

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