Sunday, September 12, 2010

ChickenFest and figs

I attended a Chicken Festival yesterday. Except I wouldn't exactly categorize it as a festival. More like two tables selling things (Table 1: Crocheted Things and Table 2: Tomatoes and honey), a folksinger and a couple of guys cooking veggie kabobs over in a corner of the blocked-off street.

There WERE chickens. About five I think. They spent a goodly part of the time I was at the Chicken Festival, piling on top of each other in their pen trying to keep warm and out of the way of a hound dog who was exhibiting something more than an scholarly interest in them.

Although there were chickens at the Chicken Festival, there was no one with chicken-raising know-how around, which is what I was after since I'm really keen on keeping chickens starting next spring.

Apparently there was one handout -- but it had already been handed out.

I guess that happens at chicken festivals.


I also cooked with fresh figs for the first time yesterday. I never thought of myself as a fig girl -- the dried ones I've tried are just too nasty. But these were fresh -- courtesy of my Fresh Abundance box -- and oh my my, what a difference a day (or two) makes. Fresh figs rock.

With a tip of the chef's hat to the August 2o1o issue of Bon Appetit, here's what I made for dinner last night:

Grill Sausage and Fig Pizza with Goat Cheese

1 lb purchased fresh pizza dough (I made my own because I wanted to try it in my food processor; never again - do you know what it's like to pick dough out of a dough blade tube?)

3 T Pomegranate-Cumin Dressing, divided (recipe follows)
1 c coarsely grated fontina cheese
Fresh arugula
2-3 grilled sausages, sliced 1/3 inch thick (I used a mix of Italian and garlic)
6 fresh figs, quartered (we halved and grilled the figs first with the red onion)
2 thin red onion slices, separated (see above)
1 c crumbled soft fresh goat cheese (we skipped the goat cheese -- didn't need the extra calories)

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Halve dough; roll to 10-inch rounds. Brush tops with some dressing.

Grill pizzas, seasoned side down, till golden on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn pizzas over. Top with fontina, arugla, sausages, figs and onions. Drizzle with more dressing. Cover; grill till fontina melts and pizza is cooked, about 4 minutes. Top with goat cheese. Grill till goat cheese softens, about 1 minute.

Note: We cooked pizza in the oven for about 12-14 minutes because the barbecue concept was a little too daunting for a Saturday night. Still DELISH.

Pomegranate-Cumin Dressing

7 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
4 1/2 T white balsamic vinegar (available at Trader Joe's)
3 T sliced fresh mint
1 1/2 T pomegranate molasses* (check Middle Eastern stores)
1 T cumin
6 T minced shallots

Whisk first 5 ingredients in bowl. Mix in shallots. Season with salt and pepper.

* If you can't find pomegranate molasses at a store, make your own by boiling 1 c pomegranate juice till reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 15 minutes.

Note: I couldn't find pomegranate molasses nor did we have pomegranate juice. I used regular molasses and it was pretty darn tasty even then.

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