A couple of weeks ago at the farm market, there were figs. I love the way figs taste but I also love that they remind me of growing up in Queens. Our Italian neighbors across the back fence grew some pretty neat stuff, wine grapes was one, and fig trees were another. Every summer, they had figs on their trees they grew in pots on their patio and would hand over the fence a big bowl for us. We sat at the picnic table biting and chewing the figs. Then later in the fall they took big burlap rugs or cloth and wound it around each tree to try and keep it alive for another winter. They lasted a few years, but the NY winters were rough on the fig trees.
We found the last container of figs at Anderson Orchards. The farmer said he’d have more, but we didn’t have time to go back since we went on vacation. When I asked how he kept the trees alive over the winter since they are a kind of tender tree in Ohio, he said he has a tunnel over about 60 trees but he doesn’t heat it, just keeps a cover over top of them. I wish I had time to go back for more figs.
We also bought some local honey from Honeyrun Farm in Williamsport, which I thought would go well with a balsamic vinaigrette over the salad. We had Black Corinthe grapes on hand, sweet tiny grapes called champagne grapes sometimes and really delicious soft cheese. The salad was missing pecans or walnuts to go in the salad this time. Toasted nuts would have made the salad fantastic. This was a really good dinner salad, but would also make a good salad course. Enjoy.
- Salad greens
- 12 figs
- 2 oz Pancetta
- 4 oz very fresh soft goat cheese or sheepsmilk cheese
- ½ cup champagne grapes
- ¼ cup pecans
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbs honey
- 4 tbs olive oil
- Chop pancetta and then saute pancetta in a pan until crispy.
- Drain on paper towel, wipe pan mostly clean.
- Halve the figs and heat face down on pan, then flip and do the other side.
- Remove figs to bowl.
- Toast pecans in pan and remove to small plate
- Add the dressing ingredients into the pan and swirl around, then whisk into small bowl.
- Rinse and drain salad greens.
- Place Salad Greens on place.
- Sprinkle pancetta over top.
- Place figs around the salad greens.
- Using a spoon scoop out dollops of cheese and place around the plate.
- Rinse dry and sprinkle grapes around the plate.
- Sprinkle pecans around the salad greens.
- Re-whisk dressing and pour over salad.
Delaware North is the company that provides a lot of venues – such as sports, music, national parks, gaming venues etc with their concession fare. I gave my older brother the sports fanatic my copy of Homeplate after I reviewed it and he liked it. It was a book based on recipes at their different sports arenas and parks. Chef James Major and Chef Jeramie Mitchell sent us two of their favorite Superbowl recipes to share including a healthier Turkey Chili recipe to fit in with our revised healthier Superbowl swaps we’re trying out this year.
BUFFALO, N.Y (Feb. 5, 2010) Delaware North Companies Sportservice, which serves fans at more than 20 major pro sports venues, knows that food is the best part of any Super Bowl party. Just days before the big game, football fans can still huddle up with two of Sportservice’s regional executive chefs for great party recipes that you can whip up in a hurry to impress your guests.
Sportservice Regional Executive Chef James Major, top chef for the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, helps you score big with a healthy-but-hearty turkey chili. “Chili is a traditional food staple at a Super Bowl party, but it’s usually not the healthiest dish,” Major said. “Turkey chili is a great substitute.”
Meanwhile, for a different version of a pub classic, Regional Executive Chef Jeramie Mitchell, who oversees the great food at the St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium, provides the perfect football food: “pig skins.” No, not pork rinds, but classic potato skins topped with pork. “We all know that Super Bowl Sunday is not just about the football game it’s about the food,” Mitchell said. “With these pig skins, the name says football and the taste will be a big hit.”
Both chefs had a busy 2009, especially in July when they led Sportservice’s efforts at the 2009 Major League Baseball® All-Star Game® in St. Louis. Mitchell oversaw Busch Stadium’s premium dining and concessions for three days of events and developed St. Louis-themed menus for the two biggest parties outside the stadium. Sportservice served 4,000 guests at each party, with Major playing a lead role in overseeing the massive event catering.
Chef James Major’s Turkey Chili
Serves: 4-to-6 people
- 3 tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 each Yellow onion, chopped
- 1 each Red and yellow pepper, diced
- 5 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons Chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Dried oregano
- 1 pinch Cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon Tomato paste
- 1 each Chipotle chile en adobo sauce, coarsely chopped
- 1 pound Ground turkey
- 1 (12-ounce) Mexican lager-style beer
- 1 (14 1/2-oz.) can Diced tomatoes, with their juice
- 1 ¼ cup Kidney beans, black beans and white beans (dried or canned)
- Garnish (Optional) Sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, sour cream and Monterey jack cheese
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, oregano and cinnamon and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and the chipotle chile and sauce; cook 1 minute more.
- Add the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat loses its raw color, about 3 minutes.
- Add the beer and simmer until reduced by about half, about 8 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes into the skillet, along with their juices and the beans. (If using dried beans, add 3 extra cups of water). Bring to a boil and then simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick.
- Serve and enjoy.
Chef Jeramie Mitchell’s Pig Skins
- 2.5 lbs. Pork shoulder, preferred with bone in; boneless will also work
- 1 ea Onion, yellow, small dice
- 1 tbsp Garlic, fresh, minced
- ¼ cup White Wine, any dry white wine will work
- 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 cup + ½ cup BBQ Sauce, your choice
- 2 cups Chicken Stock
- 2 ea Bay Leaves
- Cracked Black Pepper and Salt to taste
- 1 dozen Potatoes, russet, small
- Oil or shortening for frying
- 2 ½ cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- ½ cup Chives, fresh or green onions
- 1 cup Sour Cream
- Make marinade for pork, using onion, garlic, white wine, apple cider vinegar, cracked black pepper, olive oil and salt. Whisk to incorporate ingredients. Pour over pork and rub into meat. Let pork marinate for 20 minutes.
- Sear pork in hot pan for 4 minutes each side. Place in 9×13 baking dish. Pour leftover marinade over pork. Whisk together 1 cup of BBQ sauce and 2 cups of chicken stock, and pour over pork. Add more cracked pepper, salt, and 2 bay leaves (in liquid). Cover pan with aluminum foil. Place in 300-degree oven and cook for 3 hours or until meat is fork tender.
- Make potato skins. Wash potatoes. Split potatoes in half, lengthwise. Lightly rub with olive oil and salt. Bake in 350-degree oven until cooked. Remove and cool. Scoop out potato leaving about ¼ inch of potato with skin (make a “boat”). When pork is ready, fry skin in oil or shortening (350-degree oil) until lightly brown and crisp. If you choose or prefer not to fry, bake the skins instead of frying. They won’t get as crisp but, they’ll taste just as good.
- Remove pork from oven and rest for 20 minutes, uncovered. Remove pork from liquid (reserve liquid). Pull excess fat from pork and discard. Break apart meat with fork and place in bowl. Test seasoning and add a little salt if needed. Pour ½ cup of cooking liquid in pork and add ½ cup of BBQ sauce.
- Place about a tablespoon of the pork on top of the finished potato skins. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and bake in 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is completely melted. Garnish with diced chives and serve with sour cream.