Flavorful Figs


March 31, 2004|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff

This time of year it can be hard to eat the five daily servings of fruit and vegetables nutritionists recommend. Dried figs are one easy way to give your body what it needs.

Just 1 1/2 dried figs equal one serving of fruit. They also provide an excellent source of fiber and even a good amount of calcium.

Here's an easy appetizer from the California Department of Food and Agriculture:

Remove stems from 12 dried California figs and cut figs in half lengthwise. Place cut side down in a flat pan. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup cider, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 sliced clove of garlic and 1 tablespoon thinly sliced gingerroot. Mix and pour over figs and let stand at least 2 hours.

Melt 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 clove of minced garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoons of flour and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in 1/4 cup milk and boil until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon each of whole-grain mustard, minced fresh parsley and minced fresh tarragon. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of red pepper. Boil 30 seconds. Fold in 2 ounces canned, flaked crab.

Spoon onto fig halves. Arrange a tiny shrimp on top of each fig half and sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until hot and bubbling, about 15 minutes, then broil just until the cheese turns golden-brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 24.

Per serving: 45 calories; 1 gram fat; 10 milligrams cholesterol; 150 milligrams sodium; 7 grams carbohydrate; 1 gram fiber, 2 grams protein

-- Analysis by California Department of Food and Agriculture

A world of tasty goods

Truffles and Tea, a new shop in the Village of Cross Keys, brings together gour-met treats from as far away as China and as close as Pennsylvania.

Owners Shaun and Jona-than Vong said they wanted to create a store that would blend cultures and put a unique spin on dining.

Their items range from chocolate-covered potato chips from Chester County, Pa., to oolong tea from the Far East. Other goodies include organic and sugar-free chocolates.

The store is at 5100 Falls Road, Suite 62, and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and on Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. Call 410-532-8500.

When you're short on time ...

Looking for quick, easy meal ideas? Giant can help. The grocery chain has started the "5 in 30" program, each week offering a dinner recipe that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less with five ingredients.

The recipes are featured on Giant advertisements and include at least one sale item. Recipe cards are also available in the stores. Included on the cards are nutritional information and suggested side dishes, desserts and wine pairings.

For more information, visit www.giantfood.com.

On board with bamboo

Never mind the debate over plastic or wooden cutting boards. Why not grass? Swissmar Imports offers bamboo cutting boards that are harder than maple and lighter than oak. And because bamboo is a grass rather than a tree, it more quickly replenishes itself.

The boards are available at www.widerview.com at prices from $29.95 to $39.95. For more information on other Swissmar products, visit www.swissmar.com or call 1-87-SWISSMAR.


* Taste merlots from around the world 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow at Bin 604, 604 S. Exeter St. $29 in advance, $35 at the door. Call 410-576-0444.

* Learn to create an Easter brunch for a group 6:30 p.m. April 7 at Donna's, 5850 Waterloo Road, Columbia. $35. Call 410-659-5248, Ext. 112, for reservations.

* Learn to make Italian dishes 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant, 8293 Main St., Ellicott City. $67.50. Reservations required. Call 410-465-4004.

* The Salvation Army, MBNA Bank and Super Fresh food markets are providing Easter baskets to the needy between now and April 2. Anyone wishing to donate may do so by visiting a Super Fresh store or calling 410-783-2920.

The Dish welcomes food news and notes. Send to The Dish, Attn.: Liz Atwood, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278; fax to 410-783-2519; e-mail food@baltsun.com.

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