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Brie, Ham & Fig Jam

Combinations of flavors can make a memorable stellar sandwich. I had one recently that sparked me making these the other day. They are our Wine & Dine Wednesday pick of the week–Brie, ham and fig jam. The pungent soft cheese mixing with the salty ham with the tart, yet sweet fig jam is really quite something. I initially had it on a croissant, which added a flaky, buttery goodness. I was not finding any to my liking at the grocery store the other day so opted for rolls that were made in the bakery on the premises. Rolls of this sort always take me back to my childhood visits to my grandparents in Wisconsin, where rolls were served at almost every meal. A crusty baguette would be divine, as would a seeded bread. You are only limited by your imagination. We stock this most extraordinary black mission fig jam by INNA jam that is out of this world that I am always looking for ways to incorporate into meals. Though any good quality fig jam would do. Just be generous in your spreading of it, as you want the flavor in each bite. I did the top and the bottom of the roll so both the ham and the cheese were in contact with the fig jam. The Brie, make sure you leave it out for a bit first, so it gets a tad soft and runny, making it easier to spread. Plus, that is when the complexity of the cheese really comes through. The Black Forest ham looked best at the grocery store, so I opted for that. Choose any ham to your liking. Then prepare to be transported for a short while as you enjoy one heck of a tasty concoction.



The Gift of Fresh Figs

We were given these beyond gorgeous plump fig as a host gift from guests that have a large tree in their yard. They really could not have been more perfect. We served them with drinks and they were a major hit. For this Wine & Dine Wednesday if you have access to figs, think of serving them with chesse. Like Brie and Camembert, left out at room temp for a few hours so the center becomes nice and soft and easily spreadable on the delicate fig. Chèvre is also a tasty option. The tang from the cheese with the unmistakable flavor of the fig is really quite something. A winning combo really any time of day.



Saint-André with Candied Ginger or Pickled Figs

Saint-André is a French triple crème cow’s milk cheese, and is our ‘go to’ cheese if we are only serving one option. It is best left out for several hours before serving, as it softens beautifully and taking the chill off of it really opens up all the complex flavors. We often serve it with pieces of candied ginger as the combo is quite something. Recently we started stocking pickled figs at the shop and they are also a winning combo. Slices of baguette or a really good cracker are what we set out as the transporter for all that goodness.



A Brie, Sliced Apple, Fig Jam & Turkey Sandwich

20160419-060329.jpg This began with a good sized piece of Brie left over from having guests last Sunday to dinner. I had read somewhere of Brie with apples on a sandwich so it got my mind thinking in that direction. A hearty sandwich rates pretty high in my book, so next came turkey as I thought it would work well with the two. The Black Mission fig jam by INNA jam would seal the deal and add another flavor element. Jam and cheese go so well together. Off came the rind on the Brie as I was just wanting the creamy texture and then took the skin off the apple and made large thin slices. Lastly, the bread needed to be not overly rustic, so the potato bread from Macrina would be perfect as it has a softness to it. The combination of it all made for a many layered hearty lunch where not much else was needed.



Figs with Honey

20140706-083249.jpg The figs are starting to look really luscious and I saw plenty of sweet options yesterday on my Saturday stroll. Figs are so lovely on their own so you really don’t need to do much with or to them to enjoy. But a little of the best quality honey you can get your hands on is always a welcome addition. The honey adds to the sweetness. Perfect with a piece of cheese while having cocktails before dinner. The simplest dessert ‘as is’ after a heavy meal or when you just want to serve a little something for dessert.




Balsamic Fig & Date Mustard

20130504-074816.jpg New to our shelves is this amazing balsamic fig & date mustard from Canada. I find mustard to be one of those things that work perfectly to have hanging around in the fridge at the ready to whip up a whole host of things. So good added to the top of a roasting chicken breast. A big dollop of this added to a vinaigrette would make it memorable. A big smear of this on a turkey sandwich would just bump up the flavor to another level. Plus I always am taken with black & white packaging…

Happy sunny Saturday!



Baked Brie with Fig Jam

20111209-073508.jpg Oh my gosh, just typing that title took me back to the late 80’s. I baked quite a few Brie back then, and have not really baked any since. Until this week. I have become obsessed with pastry dough that you buy in the freezer section at the grocery store. It is the easiest darn thing to work with, and whatever I make with it is the first thing to get gobbled up when we have it set out with other things. It has been a busy entertaining week, and so is next week, so I will whip up a few more of what is pictured above. Here is my new favorite.

This really is more about assembling than cooking, which always rates high in my book. Turn oven to 350 degrees to pre-heat while you assemble this. You will want to use one of the two pastry sheets that come in most of these puff pastry packages. I am a big fan of the Pepperidge Farm brand, which is what I typically find at our grocer. Any brand is fine. Follow the instructions on the box for thawing. The sheets are folded into thirds. Unfold and cut one third off, and set aside. Using a full small Brie, cover the entire top of the cheese in fig jam. Moving carefully & quickly, flip it over onto the waiting pastry sheet, so the jammed top is now on the bottom. Take the pastry and fold all of the sides up and over the Brie, encasing the entire concoction. Now flip that entire thing over onto a baking sheet. If it is parchment lined, all the better, but not necessary. Now with that remaining third of a sheet of dough, press out a few decorative images with a cookie cutter or if you are really creative, just use a sharp knife and make something fun. We had a star cookie cutter, which seemed a little Holiday to me, so I used that. Add those to the top. Almost there. Now take an egg and crack it into a bowl and add a splash of water to make an egg wash. Beat together. Brush the egg mixture over the entire top and sides of the pastry, as this will really help it to brown. That is it. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until puffy and golden brown. Let sit for a bit before serving, so the cheese is not too hot. It really is best warm, but room temp is fine, as well. It is that easy. If you prefer another jam, then go for it. The fig jam just has that earthiness I like. Enjoy, enjoy!