Hostess Gift Idea: Drunken Pickled Figs

by Pamela

pickled figs, hostess gift idea, mission figs, homemade christmas gifts

Right now I’m procrastinating making my homemade Christmas gifts.  Yes, I’ve made my infused vodka, but that’s it.  I haven’t made the chocolate truffles, the salted caramels….nothing.  Of course, I also didn’t do any decorating in my house until last Sunday either.  Maybe I’m just in denial that it’s getting to be the end of the year.  Does anyone happen to know where the past 11 months went? It’s time to give you my favorite hostess gift idea.

As a habitual procrastinator I’ve been told that I should keep a diary of my day.  Write down each activity that I do hour by hour from the moment I wake up until I go to bed.  So here’s what my day looked like yesterday.

Yes, even my daily diary was procrastinated.  I believe I am un-curable.  Anyone else in this boat with me?

I actually managed to get something done last night though – finally.  We’ve got a couple of parties to go to and I’m always trying to come up with a great hostess gift idea.  Flowers and wine puts the hostess in an awkward position because they have to stop everything and find a vase (or the flowers just don’t go with the decor of the party) and they’re never sure if they should serve the wine you brought or not.  I like to give them something that will help make their future entertaining a little easier or something they can snack on later that isn’t part of what they just spent days making and never want to see again.

homemade-christmas-gifts Drunken Pickled Figs

Because I have an extreme love of mission figs (ok…maybe all figs), I always have either fresh figs (when they’re in season) or dried mission figs on hand.  Yes, I do eat the dried figs straight from the container, but I prefer to use mission figs in my cooking and for adding to a cheese or charcuterie plate.  When I came across a fairly expensive jar of pickled figs at the store, I knew I had found the perfect hostess gift idea/ homemade Christmas gifts for this year.

No, I’m not just giving a single jar of these lovely pickled figs (although you certainly could), I’m including it in a basket with a bottle of wine and some cheeses (to do this, you need to know their favorite cheeses…otherwise give a gift card for a local cheese shop).  Of course I’m also keeping a jar, or two, of these drunken pickled figs for my own holiday entertaining – because they’re just that good.

Relationship Advice

I thought I’d head over to Craigslist for some holiday entertainment.  Looks like there might be some quality hookups going on this holiday season.  (Excuse me while I go clean up the blood gushing from my bitten tounge.)

The coolest XMAS party ever !!!!!!!!! – 40

I am looking for a date to take to a very exclusive Christmas party in Toluca Lake on 12/17/11 all the food and booze you can handle lol. It is at a very nice restaurant in the heart of Toluca Lake on Riverside Drive. Trust me on this one we will have an incredible time. This is one XMAS party not to be missed. Please only respond if you are serious about wanting to attend.  Please send me a recent pic and tell me a little about yourself and why I should pick you. ;)  By the way in case you were wondering ……………….. I am a very good looking Italian man if I do say so myself ;)  Please respond ASAP so I can pick the lucky winner…………………Good luck and Thanks for reading.  (Good luck to the winner.  Sounds like you’re going to get boozed up out of your mind and end up doing something really stupid at the company Christmas party. On the plus side, at least it’s not your company Christmas party.)

VISITING moms for an evening out next week – 51

okay your a mom, of course you still are hot. if you happen to be in vegas (and if you reside in vegas) and it just sounds great for a crazy fun date night next wed night to dressing up, wine, dine, dance, limos desserts, and having one great christmas celebration… invite your girlfriend if you so desire. this is going to be fun. ITALIAN (tall dark and handsome of course) a little more naughty then nice this season charming powerful well dressed classy gentleman who make this evening special…. be sexy sassy real fun loving and not so young  (Sounds like someone’s casting for their own personal 3 way sex tape.  Better bring lots of lube and a friend that’s memorized the mantra ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.’)

Christmas Time Christmas Time – 20

This saturday is my company Christmas party and I need a date. Must be hot to impress all of my co-workers so no fat chicks. Drinks and food will be provided, but you need to bring a $10 gift for a white elephant gift exchange. No expectations, but if everything goes right maybe we can start the new year off with a bang. Please send picrture with your reply. Thanks  (Don’t be fat, don’t be cheap and don’t have any self respect…if you meet these 3 criteria, we’ll hit it off great.  Which means you can go buy me beer at the corner market because I’m underage.)

Unwrap My Package – 40

Not getting anything for Christmas? I have something for you………. (That something of yours better be encrusted with diamonds…or I’m not impressed.)

 

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Recipe: Drunken Pickled Figs

Summary: This makes 2 8 Ounce Jars

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup (packed) Dried Mission Figs (roughly chopped)
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 12 Black Peppercorns
  • 1/2 Cup Palm Sugar (ground/grated fine)
  • 2 1/2 Cups Dry Red Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Orange Juice Concentrate
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Maldon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cornstarch*
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Water*

Instructions

  1. Place the first 9 ingredients in a medium size saucepan.
  2. Place it over medium high heat.
  3. Cook until the liquid is reduced to the point where you can see the large pieces of fig and walnut just above the liquid. This occurs when the liquid has been reduced a little more than half.
  4. While the liquid is being reduced, occasionally stir everything so that it doesn’t stick or burn.
  5. Once reduced, stir the sea salt into the mixture.
  6. Fish out the bay leaf and star anise, and discard them.
  7. *This part is optional…. and only done if you would like the mixture to be thicker.
  8. Put the cornstarch  into a small dish.
  9. Add the water to the cornstarch and stir to dissolve.
  10. Once it’s dissolved and there are no clumps, pour it into the fig mixture and stir it in. You will see the liquid thicken up.
  11. Remove from heat.
  12. Let the mixture cool and place into jars. Seal the jars and refrigerate once the mixture has cooled to room temperature.

Quick notes

Please note that the cooking times are approximate. You can make this mixture as thick or as runny as you would like.

Variations

Feel free to play with the spices and seasonings in this. It would also be delicious with cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegan

Diet tags: Gluten free

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

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6 comments

BigFatBaker December 15, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Ooh figs are so tasty. Drunk? Even better. This looks like a lovely gift idea! I never thought of the flower thing before but I will have to keep that in mind..

foodwanderings December 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Pam a wonderful idea as a hostess gift. Just love it and speaking of procrastinators, all fingers are pointed at me. Got to get my act together stat!! :)

Belinda @zomppa December 14, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Those are serious posts? Wow! Great idea for a gift!

Pamela December 14, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I’m thinking that my gifts might be quite popular this year. ;)

Janis December 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm

You crack me up. Your Drunk figs sound right up my alley.

Pamela December 14, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Thanks Janis.

These are so good. And while you’re making them the house smells so good.

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