honey-broiled spiced fig copy 
The first signs of Fall have arrived: the mornings are crisp and overcast, the slutty mannequins at the costume shop on Denny are dressed as pirates, and figs are plentiful and cheap.  Fresh figs are one of the most versatile Fall fruits around, and also one of the most delicious.  Baked, grilled, or, in this case, broiled, they’re kinda hard to screw up.  For this preparation, we’re glazing sliced figs with honey and spices – feel free to substitute whatever smells good to you (try Chinese Five Spice) – then broiling until the honey caramelizes.

Makes: 1 dozen sweet Fall treats
Total kitchen time: 15 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 12 fresh figs
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  1. Preheat your broiler and set the top rack as close to the heating element as possible. 
  2. Rinse the figs and pat dry.  Cut off stems (optional, but the stems aren’t edible).  Slice figs in half lengthwise, from stem to root.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl (measurements are approximate – do what looks/smells/tastes good to you).
  4. Lay the figs, cut side up, on a lined baking sheet.  Drizzle the cut side of the figs with honey.  Sprinkle over the spice mixture.
  5. Broil on the top rack until the honey bubbles and just begins to brown, about 10 minutes.  Note: watch the figs closely – cooking time will vary from oven to oven.  Alternately, you can place the figs cut side down on a hot grill for about 10 seconds.
  6. Remove from heat and serve. 

These broiled figs are dying to be slathered with mascarpone or tossed with green beans, goat cheese and bacon for a beautiful fall side dish.  Or, just eat them as-is for an afternoon snack or super-easy hors d’oeuvre!


Broiled Honey-Glazed Spiced Figs on Foodista

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beef wellington hors d'ouvre

I love the richness and elegance of beef wellington, particularly for fancy winter dinners.  Beef wellington, if you haven’t had it before, is a medium rare slab of steak, topped with fois gras and mushrooms, then wrapped in puff pastry and baked.  The dish can be an expensive proposition, so I’ve transformed it into economical hors d’oeuvres. 

Makes: about 30 bites
Total kitchen time: 25 minutes (longer if starting with rare tenderloin)

Shopping list:

  • 2 1 lb. fully cooked beef tenderloins (available at Trader Joe’s seasonally)
  • 4 Oz. pâté (chicken or duck will work fine)
  • 2 12” square sheets of puff pastry, thawed but still cold
  • Toothpicks, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and set the top rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. If you are starting with an uncooked beef tenderloin, season it to taste and cook until rare.  Allow the tenderloin to come to room temperature before carving, at least 30 minutes.  If using pre-cooked tenderloin, remove from the packaging and wipe all sides dry with paper towels.  Cut the tenderloin into long, 1” square strips.  You should get about 3 good strips per tenderloin; the rest can be saved for excellent next-day sandwiches!
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick mat.  Lay out one sheet of puff pastry and place the cut tenderloin about 1/2” from the top edge.  Spread a little of the pâté on top of the tenderloin.  Then, carefully fold the puff pastry over the tenderloin, rolling the meat and the dough until you’ve completely encased the tenderloin.  Press the dough down at the seam to seal it.  Using a sharp knife, cut the sealed portion of dough away and place on the baking sheet.  Repeat for a total of three “logs” per sheet of puff pastry.
  4. Bake until the puff pastry is golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes before cutting.  Slice each “log” into 1” pieces, skewer with a toothpick, and serve!

We were able to save a little cash by using chicken pâté instead of expensive (and rare) fois gras.  We also left out the mushroom mixture you usually find in beef wellington – for our purposes, the mushrooms would be a little messy since they’d fall out the sides of the cut pieces.  Trust me, your guests won’t miss them.

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