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Figs: Not Just for Newtons!

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Figs have become the fruit of current interest for us. We know that in years past our hands have grabbed a sticky "fruit-and-cake" Fig Newton or two, but it wasn't until recently, at the Taste of Italy event, that we realized the more sophisticated potential for figs. First we studied up a bit on figs. Turns out we're in mid fig season, and that our lovely state of California produces the most figs in the U.S. Hmmm. Good to know! Figs are best selected when they have a little give to them, but should be avoided if they are mushy or have openings in their skin. There are a number of varieties of figs; we wound up with a basket of Kadota figs, which are a rounder variety with yellow-green skin and a pale reddish-brown interior. While figs can be dried, stewed, or baked, they're also great as-is. We, however, opted to grill them, and to add a Lemon Mascarpone Yogurt topping, in a feeble attempt to reproduce a dish we'd recently tried with what we had at home. This was all concocted without a recipe--we were winging it!--but we'll do our best to break it down for you.

After slicing open the figs we set them face down on the grill for 3-4 minutes. While they were grilling, we took about 2/3 cup of mascarpone (a sweet italian cheese that is similar to cream cheese) and mixed in about 1/3 cup of plain yogurt. To that we added about a tablespoon of lemon juice (sadly we only had the little squirt bottle; had we had an actual lemon we would have used the zest as well) and then we whisked it until completely blended. We pulled the figs from the grill, piled a couple wedges on a plate, heaped with the cream, and dusted our concotion with some cocoa powder...and, voila! Admittedly, it was pretty delicious, with the warm figs balancing nicely against the cool of the cream. It was not too sweet, but still a nice dessert. Our experiment was of course documented, and made for a nice intro into the world of figs. Fig season runs until around October, so who knows, maybe we'll be adventurous again. Let us know if you've got a secret fig fixin', too.