Fall Produce: Port-soaked Figs

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I always love this time of year, there is an array of fresh and healthy fall produce available at the grocery stores and farmers’ markets! Some of my favorite include apples, figs, pears, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and winter squash.

Pears are perfect in salads or for a tantalizing baked dessert. Pumpkins and squash make the perfect filling for raviolis and cannelloni dishes. For our holiday menu I’ve made a pumpkin cannelloni dish, Cannelloni di Zucca, with a bechamel sauce which I hope you come to try! It’s perfumed with thyme, another fall herb favorite of mine. Using earthy herbs such as sage and rosemary are always perfect during this time of year as they bring warmth to any dish.

With all the holidays quickly approaching, I wanted to share a quick and easy party menu item using one of these fall necessities, FIGS! Here is my recipe for Port-Soaked Figs with Gorgonzola, Chives & Walnuts:

INGREDIENTS

12 dried figs, cut in half

1/2 cup Port wine

1 tsp whole fennel seeds

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 lb Gorgonzola cheese

1 tbsp chopped chives

2 tbsp chopped walnuts

INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1

In a one-quart saucepan, place the figs, port, fennel seeds and black pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cover with a lid. Let the figs plump in the port for 15 minutes. Then remove the figs from the saucepan, and lay them out on a tray to cool completely.

STEP 2

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, place the Gorgonzola cheese and chives, and blend to smooth.

STEP 3

Remove the Gorgonzola from the bowl of the food processor to a work bowl and mix in the walnuts.

STEP 4

Place a small dollop of the cheese mixture in the center of each fig, refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm the cheese.

STEP 5

Serve cold. Makes 24-30 pieces.

This recipe is full of flavor and is a cinch to make! I hope you enjoy my Port-soaked Figs and that you serve it at one of your holiday get togethers this year! What are some of your favorite appetizers to share with guests?

-Chef K

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

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One of my favorite parts about fall is tasting pumpkin seemingly everywhere. Here at Bocca Di Bacco, I managed to sneak in some pumpkin dishes for our holiday menu. I’m in love with my Cannelloni di Zucca and for dessert my Torta di Zucca, a take on the classic pumpkin pie. Although we all wish we could indulge in these dishes everyday, I came up with a way to lighten it up a bit with my Pumpkin Pie Smoothie. It’s super simple, just follow these steps!

Ingredients

2 Cups almond milk (unsweetened)

1/2 Cup rolled oats

2 Tbsp chia seeds

1 cup pumpkin

1/2 Tbsp molasses

1 ripe banana

3 tsp cinnamon

1/2 ginger

2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Instructions

1. Whisk together milk, oats and chia seeds. Place in fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.

2. Add mixture to blender along with pumpkin, molasses, banana and remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Add ice cubes and continue blending until cold.

Not only is pumpkin delicious, it’s high in fiber, which keeps you full while keeping calories low. Now ladies, listen up! Pumpkin is also loaded with vitamin C, which is an anti-aging agent and its seeds can also enhance your mood while boosting your immune system!

So, no need to feel guilty this season! Enjoy my tasty and healthy pumpkin fall treat!

-Chef K