Garden Tour Countdown: Fig Nation

The third annual South Philly Garden Tour, a self-guided exploration of the green spaces hidden in South Philly’s concrete jungle, is just around the corner. As we count down to the big day, your friendly neighborhood co-op blog team is here to remind you of all the most crucial reasons why you should join us on Saturday, September 7, from 1 to 5 p.m., for our biggest fundraiser of the year. 

figs-mDid you know that South Philly is full of fig trees? Mediterranean immigrants, many of them Italian, planted figs in the unique microclimate of Philadelphia — which is perfect for figs! Come on the South Philly Garden Tour to meet one of the neighborhood’s fig gardeners and learn how to care for a fig tree. If you’re lucky, maybe she’ll let you try a sample.  In honor of our fig gardener, we’re sharing some of our favorite fig recipes, from savory grilled creations and jams to delicious desserts:

Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs with Cheese. Cut figs in half and stuff with blue cheese, goat cheese or gorgonzola. Wrap with prosciutto.  Grill on medium to high heat for approximately 2 minutes per side, until the prosciutto gets a little crispy and the cheese is warm.  Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Fig Jam. This fabulous recipe for strawberry fig jam comes from Marisa McClellan at Food in Jars.  http://foodinjars.com/2013/06/small-batch-strawberry-fig-jam/

Fig Challah. The yummy continues with a fig and sea salt challah recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I made it with above homemade fig jam. Delish. http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2012/09/fig-olive-oil-and-sea-salt-challah-book-tour/

Figs with Ricotta and Honey. Slice your figs down the middle but not all the way through. Stuff with fresh ricotta, drizzle with honey and garnish with chopped nuts and a sprig of mint.

Fig Ice Cream. If you have an ice cream maker, you are in luck because fig ice cream may be my favorite thing in the world. Check out this recipe, and don't forget to invite us over for dessert. http://deliciousshots.blogspot.com/2012/07/fig-ice-cream.html

Figs are also great in salads, pastas and baked desserts.  Share some of your favorites in the comments!

EVENT DETAILS
South Philly Garden Tour
Saturday, September 7, 1-5 p.m. (Rain date: Sunday, September 8, 1-5 p.m.)
Check-in: South Philly High School, Broad Street and Snyder Avenue

The Garden Tour is the South Philly Food Co-op’s biggest annual fundraiser, with all proceeds directly supporting costs associated with opening a community-owned and -operated full-service grocery store. Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at southphillyfoodcoop.ticketleap.com/garden-tour; at Urban Jungle and other local businesses; and at a variety of upcoming South Philly Food Co-op events.

Click here for more information about this year’s tour or to get your tickets today.

Cranberry Kale Salad

If you're reading this, and you're like, "Really, just another kale salad?" then feel free to go on with your day. You know kale salad. I don't need to tell you. Otherwise, this is for you. I realize I've written about kale salad plenty of times before, and I also realize that if I posted a spring mix salad with tomatoes, and then another spring mix salad with cucumbers, you'd think I didn't think much of you and your creativity. That's not the case. But kale salad needs a voice. I made this salad last week for a friend's family's holiday dinner. I had made something similar the year before and resisted writing about it, but this year when I made it again for many of the same people I realized there was a serious need out there to continue discussing kale salad publicly. People wanted the recipe because using kale instead of spring mix or romaine or whatever still isn't the norm for a lot of folks. So I continue in my kale salad advocacy campaign. This is my go-to winter kale salad. I know it's April, and we're all excited about the brand new veg that are on their way. Go ahead and make a kale salad and add those veg. But even without the bright green goodness that spring and summer bring, this is a pretty mean salad. To read about my conversion to kale, please click here. To read about an awesome kale salad for summer, please click here. Otherwise, let's add some tangy dried cranberries and some onion and make this salad happen. Destem your kale. Wash your kale. If you placed your onion and cranberries on top of your unwashed kale for a photo, wash them too. Thinly slice your onion. I rely on a mandoline for this, but if you're handy with a knife, that works too. I think thinly sliced onion is salad's best friend, kale or otherwise. Greens that have spent quality time in the fridge with thinly sliced onion don't need much in the way of dressing. They're ready. Get some salt. This is kind of a lot of salt. I used a little more than half a teaspoon for a bunch of kale (two hearty servings). This gets drained so you're not ingesting all of it, but you need a good bit to start with. I prefer to use sea salt or other coarse salt - this is "fine," but it's coarser than table salt. Get some vinegar or lemon juice. I usually go with lemon juice, but last week I tried vinegar and it worked really well, so I'll bring that into the rotation. About two tablespoons. Add that to your salad. This salad is in a clear bowl, but I think it looks like it's levitating. Kale salad is wonderful, but perhaps not magic. Now massage it. The vinegar (or lemon juice) and salt will tenderize it. With your bare hands - checking first for papercuts and hangnails, what with the vinegar and all - tear it up, twist it, wring it out, and generally mush it around. Spend 3-5 minutes on this per bunch of kale (last week's four-bunch salad required a tag team effort). As you're doing this, green liquid will pool at the bottom of your bowl, as illustrated in the blurry photo below. This is your friend. Rub the kale into the liquid. Wring out the kale. Rub it into the liquid again. Your kale will radically decrease in volume. Your fingernails will turn green. Add in your cranberries (a cup or so per bunch) and onions (a quarter of a red onion, sliced very thin). Toss that together and stick it in the fridge. Let it chill with that green liquid for at least an hour, but overnight is really best. After a while in the fridge the kale will be more tender, the onions will be more mild (and greenish), and the dried cranberries will have plumped a bit and be softer. Drain off the remaining green liquid. You can serve it as is, or dress it like any other salad. I like to use strawberry balsamic dressing and candied walnuts. This recipe is cross-posted at SaturdaysMouse.com where I’m working on making food out of food. Cranberry Kale Salad
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Wash and destem the kale. Add salt and vinegar and massage for 3-5 minutes, tearing the kale as you go. Kale will decrease in volume and green liquid will gather in the bowl. Add cranberries and onions, toss vigorously and refrigerate for at least an hour, overnight is best. Drain and serve, as is or dressed. Serves two to four. Prep time: 10 minutes Wait time: at least 1 hour

Cranberry Kale Salad



If you're reading this, and you're like, "Really, just another kale salad?" then feel free to go on with your day. You know kale salad. I don't need to tell you. Otherwise, this is for you. I realize I've written about kale salad plenty of times before, and I also realize that if I posted a spring mix salad with tomatoes, and then another spring mix salad with cucumbers, you'd think I didn't think much of you and your creativity. That's not the case. But kale salad needs a voice.

I made this salad last week for a friend's family's holiday dinner. I had made something similar the year before and resisted writing about it, but this year when I made it again for many of the same people I realized there was a serious need out there to continue discussing kale salad publicly. People wanted the recipe because using kale instead of spring mix or romaine or whatever still isn't the norm for a lot of folks. So I continue in my kale salad advocacy campaign.

This is my go-to winter kale salad. I know it's April, and we're all excited about the brand new veg that are on their way. Go ahead and make a kale salad and add those veg. But even without the bright green goodness that spring and summer bring, this is a pretty mean salad. To read about my conversion to kale, please click here. To read about an awesome kale salad for summer, please click here. Otherwise, let's add some tangy dried cranberries and some onion and make this salad happen.


Destem your kale.



Wash your kale. If you placed your onion and cranberries on top of your unwashed kale for a photo, wash them too.



Thinly slice your onion. I rely on a mandoline for this, but if you're handy with a knife, that works too. I think thinly sliced onion is salad's best friend, kale or otherwise. Greens that have spent quality time in the fridge with thinly sliced onion don't need much in the way of dressing. They're ready.





Get some salt. This is kind of a lot of salt. I used a little more than half a teaspoon for a bunch of kale (two hearty servings). This gets drained so you're not ingesting all of it, but you need a good bit to start with. I prefer to use sea salt or other coarse salt - this is "fine," but it's coarser than table salt.



Get some vinegar or lemon juice. I usually go with lemon juice, but last week I tried vinegar and it worked really well, so I'll bring that into the rotation. About two tablespoons.



Add that to your salad. This salad is in a clear bowl, but I think it looks like it's levitating. Kale salad is wonderful, but perhaps not magic.



Now massage it. The vinegar (or lemon juice) and salt will tenderize it. With your bare hands - checking first for papercuts and hangnails, what with the vinegar and all - tear it up, twist it, wring it out, and generally mush it around. Spend 3-5 minutes on this per bunch of kale (last week's four-bunch salad required a tag team effort).



As you're doing this, green liquid will pool at the bottom of your bowl, as illustrated in the blurry photo below. This is your friend. Rub the kale into the liquid. Wring out the kale. Rub it into the liquid again.



Your kale will radically decrease in volume. Your fingernails will turn green.



Add in your cranberries (a cup or so per bunch) and onions (a quarter of a red onion, sliced very thin).



Toss that together and stick it in the fridge. Let it chill with that green liquid for at least an hour, but overnight is really best.



After a while in the fridge the kale will be more tender, the onions will be more mild (and greenish), and the dried cranberries will have plumped a bit and be softer. Drain off the remaining green liquid.



You can serve it as is, or dress it like any other salad. I like to use strawberry balsamic dressing and candied walnuts.



This recipe is cross-posted at SaturdaysMouse.com where I’m working on making food out of food.

Cranberry Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch kale

  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup dried cranberries

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Wash and destem the kale. Add salt and vinegar and massage for 3-5 minutes, tearing the kale as you go. Kale will decrease in volume and green liquid will gather in the bowl.

Add cranberries and onions, toss vigorously and refrigerate for at least an hour, overnight is best.

Drain and serve, as is or dressed.

Serves two to four.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Wait time: at least 1 hour

Creamy Roasted Garlic Hummus



Hummus is one of those foods that I had never thought of making on my own, until one day I did, I was shocked at how quickly it came together. Other than causing me to purchase tahini, which I really had no other use for, hummus is simple.

Average hummus is simple. Ok hummus is simple. But you can do better too.

Chickpeas, tahini, lemon, oil, water, garlic, salt, processor. That's all you need.

Garlic hummus is one thing, roasted garlic hummus is entirely another. The garlic flavor is milder, nuttier, and more distributed throughout the hummus. There aren't tiny bits of garlic throughout, rather some of the creamy goodness is chickpeas and some of the creamy goodness is garlic, and the flavor is deep and rich and integrated. This is just better.

Garlic.



First, roast your garlic. I'm making a little over two cups of hummus and using 5 small heads of garlic. This is a lot. Use less, unless you love garlic.

My garlic is old. My garlic is not bad, but it's not super fresh either. So my garlic has green sprouts. Some people argue strongly that you need to remove these because they're bitter. Some people say that you need to remove these because they're tough. I don't listen to those people, but if you're particularly sensitive to this, go ahead and remove any green sprouts. Otherwise, just use your garlic.

Cut into each head to expose all the cloves, spritz with olive oil and either place in a tiny covered container or wrap with alumnum foil. Roast at 400 for an hour or so until the cloves are brown and soft and sweet and nutty. Set aside to cool.



I know, you're saying to yourself, "That's a lot of wasted garlic!" To which I say no. We don't waste garlic. You're looking at a woman with a freezer full of bread ends and mushroom stems and brown bananas. Pick your garlic ends out of their papery shell and freeze them. They'll be a bit milder when they're defrosted but still perfect for mincing into whatever dish you're making.



Chapter Two: Chickpeas.

Either you've soaked and cooked some chickpeas or you've opened a can or box of garbanzos. I like these because I don't have to worry about the can...and if you're not worried about cans, I suggest you don't Google and go on your merry way eating out of cans without the bat of an eye. We have too much to worry about.



Peel your chickpeas. This is tedious, sure, but so is eating gritty hummus. Peeling one chickpea is fun. By the 50th chickpea it's not so much. Pinch it between your forefinger and thumb and shoot it into a bowl, retaining the skin between your fingers. Make gun noises. Until that gets old. Rub a handful between two open palms and separate the skins from the chickpeas. Fill a bowl with water and chickpeas. Assault the chickpeas underwater to loosen the skins and then skim the surface of the water for floating skins. There are several ways to do this. I promise it's worth it.



I think naked chickpeas look like tiny turkeys. Picture a turkey on the scale of a Lego minifig. If your Lego men and women have a kitchen, a chickpea would be their turkey.



Now you're almost done. Chickpeas and garlic go into a food processor or your little as-seen-on-tv chopper or your million-dollar blender.