figs in a blanket…
and other things to make you squeal

Figs in a Blanket

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: CATHY NELSON ARKLE

One year my father decided to raise pigs. Another year my mother thought we needed a pig in the house… as if three kids weren’t enough! (Okay, it was a guinea pig) In some cultures they’re considered one and the same – something we learned after taking our pig fascination on a family trip to Peru. We weren’t prepared to eat the family pet, but when in Rome…

Photo on left: My mother playing with her food before eating it. I do believe I was admonished for this as a child. Hmm.

Guinea Pig for dinner in PeruWhich one is the real guinea pig….
the one on the plate, or the one with the fork and knife?

Peruvians have hundreds of guinea pigs living with them in their one-room houses. They consume an estimated 65 million per year. Wedding gift starter-kits include a male and female guinea pig, which soon multiply exponentially. We found all this fascinating until one showed up on our plate during dinner, compliments of our tour director. It didn’t taste like chicken, more like rabbit. Actually, it wasn’t that bad, though it left a nasty aftertaste. I think I got the one whose diet consisted of rank gym socks and sewer water.

Today, churches in Lima and Cuzco still display Indian depictions of The Last Supper with Jesus and the 12 disciples eating roasted guinea pig! I am convinced I can locate a painting of The Last Supper in any country I visit featuring the motley crew noshing on the local favorite. (see carrot blog)

Qosqo's Cathedral - Cusco, Peru  & Monasterio Cusin - EcuadorQosqo’s Cathedral – Cusco                               Peru Monasterio Cusin – Ecuador


Fun Facts About Pigs:

Pigs are ranked #4 in animal intelligence behind chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants.

Winston Churchill once said, “Dogs look up to man. Cats look down to man. Pigs look us straight in the eye and see an equal.”

According to Wikipedia, there are approximately two billion pigs alive at any time, ranking them one of the most numerous “large mammals” on the planet.

You can be happy as a pig in mud, eat like a pig, and sweat like a pig (well not really, as they have no sweat glands). You can also squeal like a pig, but competing with a frightened pig could prove futile as their agitated oinks can measure up to 115 decibels – that’s two decibels higher than a jet engine at takeoff.

shepaused4thought_line-NEW

Today’s Featured Recipe:

One of my favorite culinary pleasures as a child was devouring “pigs in a blanket”. As I aged (and my palate grew a bit more sophisticated) I love recipes that twisted the classics into a healthier version, or at least humored me with their clever names. This brings us to today’s featured recipe – Figs In A Blanket – a mouth-watering center of cheese and figs swaddled with swine (prosciutto).

The prosciutto is made from the pig’s hind leg or thigh and the process of making it can take anywhere from nine months to two years. (I guess it depends on how long it takes to catch the pig)

So here’s to being….Snug as a fig in a pig.

Figs in a Blanket

Figs in a Blanket
Recipe type: appetizer
 
Ingredients
  • 12 figs, ripe but not too soft
  • 8 oz. soft goat cheese, room temperature (or ricotta, blue cheese or mascarpone)
  • 6 slices prosciutto, sliced in half length-wise
  • 4 large rosemary sprigs, cut in thirds
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
  • Rosemary leaves or tarragon leaves for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cut the figs crosswise from the top, halfway down the fruit. Gently separate the quarters to create an opening. Scoop 2-3 teaspoons goat cheese into the opening, without overstuffing. Wrap each fig with prosciutto slice. Arrange figs on baking tray. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each fig with rosemary sprig. Bake in oven 25 minutes. Remove and discard baked rosemary sprigs.
  3. Combine vinegar, honey and pepper in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until thick, about 10 minutes. Cool.
  4. Arrange figs on serving platter or individual plates. Drizzle each fig with balsamic reduction or honey. Garnish with fresh rosemary or tarragon leaves.
Notes
The attraction of this recipe is that you can use any cheese you like. I tried ricotta, goat cheese, mascarpone and blue cheese. You can serve this with toasted baguette slices, or on a bed of arugula for a side salad. If you don’t have the time to make the reduction, use honey only. Cook time: 15 mins - Serves: 4

Hope you enjoyed the twist on pigs, I mean figs in a blanket. I am sure there are many other childhood favorites that we could have fun with.
…and then she paused for thought.

About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

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11 Responses to figs in a blanket…
and other things to make you squeal

  1. Lewis Lovette October 14, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is excellent, let alone the content!

    • cathyarkle October 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

      Thank You! I started blogging last April. I started out with iweb and hosting by MobileMe, but they are discontinuing their service. So I am in the process of moving all of my blogs to WordPress. I am a graphic designer by trade, so reformatting the blog and web just seemed like the thing to do. Cooking school is keeping me motivated for the blog. What a great experience it is.

  2. Robt Kopperman October 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Keep functioning ,remarkable job!

  3. Valentina Kenney (@cookingweekends) December 6, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    Cathy, these are AMAZING! They look gorgeous and I’m sure are so, so delicious!

    • Cathy April 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

      Thanks Valentina! They are so yummy.

  4. Kelly @ tastingpage April 24, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    So clever you are Cathy. I will admit to loving pigs in a blanket as well, but figs in a blanket looks right up my alley too!

    • Cathy April 27, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

      Thanks Kelly, what’s not to love about figs and pigs?!

  5. Lentil Breakdown April 24, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

    Interesting figgy facts. This would be tasty without the swine too!

    • Cathy April 27, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

      Yes! Figs stuffed with goat cheese is delicious all on its own.

  6. Mary Teresa Barnhart September 2, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    Any thoughts on a substitute for cheese since I cannot eat dairy??

    • Cathy Arkle September 2, 2017 at 10:14 pm #

      Hi Mary, I am not really sure, but I know they make a vegan cream cheese, and I am thinking that could work. Let me know if you try it. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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