Thursday, January 26, 2012

fig thumbprint cookies.

remember these? while delicious, the recipe ended up calling for more figs than i could possibly pack between two wafers. the end result? one heaping basket of fig newtons and one slightly smaller (but still big enough) bowl of leftover stewed figs. 

now i don't know about you, but i'm not exactly readily overflowing with ideas about how to use up a bowl of sweet stewed figs. making more cookies seemed, and still seems, like one ideal solution.
these thumbprint cookies are great if you're short on time and ingredients. quick, tasty, and versatile, they also last for at least a week in sealed tupperware. while the almond dough and sweet figs complimented each other nicely, these cookies would also be delightful with apricot jam, for instance. 

i'm including the recipe for how to make stewed figs below, in case you - like normal people - don't happen to have a batch just lying around! 

fig thumbprint cookies

1 cup almond flour/meal 

1 cup quick-baking oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup canola oil 

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt 

5 tablespoons stewed figs (see recipe below)

preheat oven to 350°F.

combine all ingredients except the figs in a large bowl. stir to combine well. roll little balls of the dough in the palm of your hand to form each cookie. arrange on a large baking sheets, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart.

press your thumb gently down into the center of each cookie to make an indentation. spoon a scant teaspoon of figs into each cookie.

bake cookies until golden brown and just firm around the edges, 15 minutes. let cool completely before eating!

fig topping

8 oz. dried black mission figs, stems removed and chopped into small bits
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

making the filling. in a small saucepan, throw in the chopped figs, water, agave, and citrus. bring to a boil over medium heat, and reduce to a simmer. stirring every minute of so, cook for a good 8 minutes, until figs begin to soften. let them continue to cook, but mash them with a fork or masher (?!) to create a chunky paste. the water will evaporate in the process – if it gets too dry, add in more water, a tablespoon at a time. remove from heat and set aside. you can leave your figs chunky, or if you want a smoother puree, throw it in the food processor (i prefer chunky!).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

in lieu of soup.

it's the so-called "dead of winter" here in california, and the idea of swapping out my moccasins for sandals is growing almost unbearably tempting. they say the weather is really unusual for this time of year, but i'm not so secretly hoping they're wrong. as a native arizonan, 70 degree winters feel nothing but perfectly normal - and after almost a decade spent in chicago and germany, very appreciated.

the only downside to this warm weather front is that it doesn't look like i'm going to have any soup recipes to share with you this year. it's just that the prospect of gulping down steaming hot liquid under these circumstances is less than appealing. i hope you understand. and i also hope you'll accept another quinoa recipe to ease the momentary void. while it's certainly no soup, it is incredibly flavorful and perfect as a between-soup palette cleanser. and who knows, maybe a cold wind will strike in the next month or two! if so, i'll be the first to pull out my oversized pot and a gallon of vegetable stock.  
spiced rainbow quinoa with chickpeas
modified from dana treat

1 14 oz. can chickpeas, drained

3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. turmeric
1 cup rainbow quinoa
2 cups water

1 tsp. salt

3 green onions, thinly sliced
(white and green parts)
½ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

combine chickpeas, lemon juice, 2 tbsp. oil, and garlic in a large bowl. stir to combine, and let marinate as you make the quinoa (though you can let it sit longer, of course!).

heat the other tbsp. oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and turmeric. stir around until fragrant, about 1 minute. add the water, quinoa, and salt. give it a stir. cover and bring to simmer. reduce heat to medium-low. let simmer until all water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

once ready, fluff up with a fork before adding in the green onions, parsley, and chickpea mixture. toss to blend. season to taste with salt and pepper. serve either warm or at room temperature.