Thursday, July 10, 2014

Figs and Goat Cheese

My lunch today: smooth and tangy goat cheese spread over a thick slice of hearty walnut bread, topped with syrupy-sweet ripe figs.

I love you, summer.

I honestly don't know when my obsession with figs began. As a kid, I definitely enjoyed Fig Newtons--with their cakey outsides and thick, chewy centers--but I never really had the chance to try the real deal until I was much older. Really, I'm trying, but I can't pinpoint the moment where I went, "holy bejebus, I need me more of those figs!" Like I did a few weeks ago.

It all began when co-worker/friend of the Professor's was throwing a little birthday bash. For the first time ever, we were "those people" with the toddler at the grown-up party.

I spent a good portion of the festivities alone on the back patio in an attempt to keep Bubby away from the lovely snacks carefully arranged right at his eye level. While dashing about after a whiffle ball, I surreptitiously watched the other adults relaxing inside, sipping their microbrews and chatting about science, politics, and travel. My stimulating conversation? "Look, Bubby! Catch the ball! Catch the ball! No! Don't throw it over the fence!"

I was about to throw in the towel when another of my husband's colleagues arrived with his wife, bearing a colander full of beautiful, ripe figs. Apparently, they had a tree just bursting with the little beauties, and they sliced up a dozen figs to share with the party.

One bite of the glistening fruit--served atop a cloud of blueberry-kissed goat cheese on a slice of soft, sweet French bread--and my afternoon was saved. It got even better when I was encouraged to take home a party cup full of figs. They were gone by the next morning.

Those figs haunted me for weeks. It wasn't a constant obsession, but more of a niggling craving in the back of my head. "You know what sounds good right now? Figs and goat cheese." I'm a realist, though, and I knew that a $6.99 basket of figs at the local produce market wouldn't be nearly as good as the tree-ripened fruit that had seduced me so. Or as cheap.

Then, yesterday, my patience was rewarded. The Professor came home from work with a little green basket of figs in hand, compliments of his colleague and his wife. Craving became full-on obsession: "Damn it! Now I need goat cheese!"

It was all I could think about this morning: "Make the Bubby's breakfast. Figs and goat cheese. Pack the Professor's sandwich. Figs and goat cheese. Hey, my friend just had a baby! Figs and goat cheese."

Obviously--from the photos above--this story has a happy ending. A quick pop into Lundari's market provided me the much-coveted goat cheese, and I even splurged to get the thick, dark whole wheat and walnut bread that I knew would be the perfect base. I was right.

My lunch was everything I'd been craving: simple, sweet, hearty, and creamy all at once. A little burst of summer on my tongue.

And you know what's even better? I still have six figs. I think I know what I'm having for dinner tonight.

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