For the first 12 years of my life I lived across the street from a huge fig tree. I remember picking them up off the ground and then throwing them at my playmate. These bright green pods with lots of little seeds were collected and preserved every year by my love grandma Angie. Her parents built a giant Victorian house right off of Union Ave (now it’s MLK Blvd) during the late 1890’s. This house had a giant cellar and a giant willow who’s branches we used to swing from for hours. After the death of Angie and her sister Barbara, eat time I bit into a fig it took me right back to their home.
Last year I was biting into a fig newton and I instantly knew the next recipe I wanted to bake. Too bad figs were out of season at the time, but not for too long. I know that there is a cool website for the Portland area where people list fruit trees and other veggies that are on Public and private property. You are able to go to these sites and respectfully collect fresh produce that would go to waste. I will blog about this site later:) I found lots of fig trees, but decided to hit up the Farmers market instead.
The figs that I found at the farmers market were bright shades of green and most of them were ripe or soon to be. I paid $2.50 for 7 large sized figs. Too fill up a jar you will need 12-16 of these, so it can be quite spendy. If I was not planning on putting my jam in a small batch of newtons, I would have found a tree:)
My jam turned out great. It has an earthier and better flavor then the over sugared store bought jam. I also decided to leave it a bit chunky and not cook it down to a thick dark brown jam. I loved the fresh flavors, texture and colors that it gave the jam!
1 cup Mashed figs
3/4 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Water
Combine mashed figs, sugar and water.
You can use your stove top on a low to medium heat, stirring often. Or use a crock pot. Cook until desired thickness.
Cool and use as filling ore spread on some crackers with fresh goat cheese. Yum.
*If you plan on canning this jam use safe preservation methods. Or you can simply make this freezer jam.
Figs growing on tree
Beef and barley has always reminded me of dirt. But in a good way. I love how this soup tastes so earthy and fresh. There is nothing like a hearty bowl of root veggies and some grains to make you feel warm on a brisk day. Or for me, after a long day with the sled dogs! This soup is great for a big group as this hearty Stoup (stew/ soup) has the yummy broth of a soup, but the heartiness of a stew. This goes best with a crusty loaf of fresh bread.
Winter is over for us and I don’t think I have had my seasons’ worth of this hearty soup, so here we go!
Beef n Barley Crock Pot Stoup
1-2 pounds of stew beef.
1/2 lb. dry barley
2 c. thinly sliced carrots
1 c. sliced celery
3/4 c. chopped green pepper
1 lg. onion, sliced
1 (16 oz.) can cut up tomatoes
1/4 c. snipped parsley
1 tbsp. instant beef bouillon granules
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. dried basil, crushed
5 c. water
Cut beef into cubes, brown on all sides, and drain well. In crockery cooker place carrot, celery, green pepper and onion. Place beef on top. Combine undrained tomatoes, barley, parsley, bouillon, salt and basil. Cover.Cook on low heat 10 to 12 hours. Remove bones if used. Skim any fat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Tip-If you like your stoup on the creamier side, go ahead and stir it a few times while cooking. This incorporates the starch from the barley through out the dish and thickens it up. This is my favorite way.
If you like your stoup with more broth and more soup like, DO NOT STIR.
So guys don’t know this year since this is only my 3rd recipe posting, but I might as well confess. The crock pot is my best friend. The only time I don’t have to cook is, if I can show my man a crock pot recipe with simple ingredients.
I am a huge fan of any style of pulled pork. I love how the meat can stand up well in any dish and that there are always left overs. One of my favorite bloggers Chaos in the Kitchen had the perfect solution for my leftover pork.
serves 8, prep 10 min, cook 2 hours (or longer in crock pot), adapted from Recipezaar
- 2 tbsp butter or bacon fat
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3 cups cooked pork, like carnitas
- 1 cup roasted green chilies (canned or fresh), diced
- 2 (15 oz) cans white hominy, drained and rinsed
- 1-2 qts chicken or pork stock to cover
- Melt butter or fat over medium heat and add onion, garlic, jalapeno, and spices.
- Saute until veggies are soft.
- Add pork, green chilies, and hominy.
- Add stock to cover and simmer soup for about 2 hours or until flavors are well combined.
- Serve with desired garnishes.
I made this in the crockpot by sauteing the veggies then adding everything to the crock pot and cooking on low until we were all home and ready to eat (about 7 hours). The pork is already cooked and tender so you can cook this as long or as little as you want.
This soup turned out wonderful. The smell of this soup had my mouth watering all day long. I would suggest making this for a big group of friends after a long day outdoors. It also wouldn’t hurt to add a loaf of cornbread:)