Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sambuca-Poached Figs with Ricotta and Pine Nuts (Page 805)


  • Saturday, July 5, 2008 -- 11pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B
I saw fresh figs at the grocery store last week and I jumped at the chance to make this recipe. When I see the word anise in the title of a recipe, or worse, the word sambuca, it is like a giant flashing neon red sign saying, "Don't do it! Don't eat it!" I generally dislike anise-flavored things, but I will hesitantly admit that in this recipe, it worked. That is not to say that I enjoyed the licorice flavor, or that I happily slurped down the anisey syrup, but rather just that this recipe would have been much less coherent with it. And it was already a little incoherent. Let me describe: Fresh figs were poached in a sugary sambuca syrup, then served with salted ricotta cheese and roasted, salted pine nuts, and drizzled with the poaching syrup. Sound a bit odd? Well, it was. I certainly wouldn't make this for a big crowd -- I can guarantee that more than a few people would not go for it. But it was interesting. Matty took a couple bites, then said tentatively, "I think I don't hate it." After a few more bites and some careful consideration he offered, "I may actually even like it." Reading the recipe I expected this one to be pretty bad, but actually I liked it much more than I expected to. Surprisingly the sambuca complemented the figs, ricotta and pine nuts nicely . The recipe also had a very appealing sweet-savory balance. I am a huge fan of salty and sweet together, and this recipe executed that very well. Would I make it again? No, probably not. But I was certainly glad to have tried it. I would never have guessed that the licorice flavor would work so well with figs and cheese -- live and learn!

Here is the recipe.

It is 5:21pm and I am still in my pajamas. That's right, I have yet to venture outside for the day. There are two possible interpretations of this fact. One: extreme laziness, or two: extreme diligence. Today, fortunately, it was the latter. Summer as an academic (at least in math) is often without a lot of structure. I am not teaching this summer, and aside from conferences and one seminar per week, I have no real scheduled work obligations. I am working on my research of course, but when and where this happens is completely up to me. Usually, when I want to have a productive day I make sure to go into the office. At home it is easy to laze about, cooking, or napping, when one really should be working. The office has less entertainment. But if I want to have a really, really productive day, I stay home. In the comfort of my pajamas, without the distractions of the internet (we have crappy wireless at home that hardly works), I can get a lot done if I set my mind to it. I have moved past my bad attitude about work from last week, and am now happily getting things done! After a long day deep in thought though, it is now time for a break. I am ready to change out of my PJs and into my running clothes! Ahh... the luxury of summer.

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