Figs Poached in White Wine and Fresh Thyme

"If you are lucky enough to have a fig tree (or a neighbor with a fig tree) you can have this wonderful dish for the cost of a modest bottle of white wine. If you have neither, the splurge may well be worth it. Non-vegans can top their figs with crème fraiche or whipped cream. Any excess poaching liquid should be saved--it's lovely over almost anything. Cooking time includes half an hour for chilling. From Kitchen Herbs by Sal Gilbertie"
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  • In a large, non-aluminum saucepan, combine honey and wine. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook, stirring constantly, until honey is completely dissolved.
  • Add lemon peel, lemon juice, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns.
  • Place figs in wine syrup and poach over low heat, uncovered, for four minutes, turning figs every minute.
  • Remove figs with a slotted spoon and place in a ceramic bowl.
  • Reduce poaching liquid to about 1-1/2 cups. Spoon over figs and chill.
  • Serve figs with some of the poaching liquid in individual bowls.

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<p>I have always loved to cook. When I was little, I cooked with my Grandmother who had endless patience and extraordinary skill as a baker. And I cooked with my Mother, who had a set repertoire, but taught me many basics. Then I spent a summer with a French cousin who opened up a whole new world of cooking. And I grew up in New York City, which meant that I was surrounded by all varieties of wonderful food, from great bagels and white fish to all the wonders of Chinatown and Little Italy, from German to Spanish to Mexican to Puerto Rican to Cuban, not to mention Cuban-Chinese. And my parents loved good food, so I grew up eating things like roasted peppers, anchovies, cheeses, charcuterie, as well as burgers and the like. In my own cooking I try to use organics as much as possible; I never use canned soup or cake mix and, other than a cheese steak if I'm in Philly or pizza by the slice in New York, I don't eat fast food. So, while I think I eat and cook just about everything, I do have friends who think I'm picky--just because the only thing I've ever had from McDonald's is a diet Coke (and maybe a frie or two). I have collected literally hundreds of recipes, clipped from the Times or magazines, copied down from friends, cajoled out of restaurant chefs. Little by little, I am pulling out the ones I've made and loved and posting them here. Maybe someday, every drawer in my apartment won't crammed with recipes. (Of course, I'll always have those shelves crammed with cookbooks.) I'm still amazed and delighted by the friendliness and the incredible knowledge of the people here. 'Zaar has been a wonderful discovery for me.</p>
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