“A great fig should look like it’s just about to burst its skin. When squeezed lightly it should give a little and not spring back. It must be almost unctuously sweet, soft and wet.”
My neighbor Marty opened his garden to me today and I picked some gorgeous Russian lettuce. Totally unknown to me, Marty touted its powerhouse health benefits in green smoothies. Russian lettuce has more of the texture of kale so I created a recipe using it in a hearty salad with honey balsamic roasted figs, herbed chèvre, toasted pistachios and some crispy prosciutto which is totally optional but pairs perfectly with the figs. The vinaigrette was made with orange juice, honey and dijon. A delicious salad to ease summertime flavors into fall!
My neighbor Laurie’s apple tree is chock full of apples and she is sharing the windfall. Now these apples are truly destined for baking. They are a bit tart and often blemished, which is precisely why I like them. The tree is untreated so I know these apples are organic and I have just the recipe for transforming them into a delicious but healthy snacking cake. I call this my “Back To School Apple Cake” since I used to make it for my kids when they were little. It was a sweet treat without guilt. There are 3 cups of apples in the batter for just 1 cup of flour! Applesauce is used to reduce the fat content with a mere 2 tablespoons of oil. A scant 2/3 cup of sugar sweetens this easy cake. You could substitue honey or maple syrup to make it even healthier and swap out half the all-purpose flour for whole wheat. I love how the apples, peel and all, go in there for both speed of preparation and a boost in fiber. It is a quick cake, not too sweet, moist, fool proof, yet tasty. Feel free to throw in some nuts or raisins if you like. I always make 2 and freeze one. I love my neighbor Laurie!