Thursday, August 6, 2009

Figs and Asparagus

We've been lazing about since my sister and her gang left. Picking up slowly on house work. Taking family walks and jogs in the neighborhood. Alternating naps between the four of us. Slowly but surely picking back our routine- well to be honest not really. But I feel like we're getting there.

So tonight ( since it's 10:25 pm right now) I realized I want to write about our grocery shopping trip. All four of us together. One big * sorry cross big* medium sized? Happy family!

It was already 7:30 pm. Half an hour before Mei's bedtime. The husband was contemplating doing it the "easy" way. You know I write the list, then he runs to the store, while I start bedtime routine for the girls... I ruled against that and decided to take the " less easy" route. And well Mei can go to bed a little later tonight. And she did, and it was fine. Actually as a result of being spontaneous ( I am laughing at myself as I hear my thoughts... grocery shopping is what I call spontaneous these days-- That's life after kids for ya!) I spied some local asparagus- just sitting there by one of the store corners- begging to be brought home. I complied ( It's been incredibly cool this summer, so I guess we still have asparagus. Yay for that!)
Not far away from where I spotted our friend. I saw something almost magical... I saw GREEN FIGS! I almost gasped at the sight. To complete my day, they had an offer--two small plastic crates for 5 dollars. Be still my heart! I snatched them, and didn't care for the rest of the list. I was content.


In Egypt, you can find horse carts around most corners in summer time- filled with pyramids of fresh burgundy figs. I wasn't a big fan of the smoochy fruit until I came to this country ( I started seeing fresh figs in grocery stores maybe last year or so. They're not popular around this part of the world.) Out of home sickness once, I bought 5 tiny figs from our co-op for five bucks!

I was introduced to green figs, when I visited Syria one summer. I was browsing their local farmer's market, and I spotted the green cousin of our Egyptian kind. I was ever so curious, so the farmer offered me one to try. I went back that day with two big crates. One as a gift for my hosts and the other for my mother ( I was traveling back the very next day). I carried it on the plane back to Egypt for my mother to try. Figs happen to be my mother's favorite fruit. Naturally, I couldn't deny her the taste of it's superior cousin. If you haven't tried the splendor of a green fig, now is your chance. If you happen to be a local that is!


Asparagus are foreign to Egyptians, we import them from exotic countries like yours( Assuming all my readers are American, or come from countries that grow Asparagus). After the long plane ride to Egyptian lands, they have a slight unpleasant resemblance of that delicious vegetable. They are also sold for a fortune. (If you're an Egyptian local, spare your money, save it for something better, like say figs? Just a suggestion)

Here's what we had for dinner at 10:00 pm tonight( yes we try to eat after we put the girls to bed) blanched asparagus with CSA portabella mushrooms and CSA green onions, topped with a poached egg and Parmesan cheese. for salad we had mixed greens topped with quarterly-cut green figs. For the dressing: a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I will not even comment. I'll just leave it to your imagination!

Sometimes, it pays off going a little out of your way. You can get even luckier and discover a new favorite NPR show on your ride back home. ( Radio Lab -- check it out if you don't know it already. It's quite interesting)



Yasmine said...

I LOVE FIGS! it's so funny, I've been craving figs myself when I went to a little Italian store close to my place and found them there! I grabbed one immediately, it made me sad that my son didn't know what they were until he had his first bite and he went "mama this is like Egypt, I had this before!" yes, he remembered. My favorite place to get them is right off the highway on the way back to Cairo from the North Coast where they have just been freshly picked..Oh God, now I'm craving my grandmother's fig jam:(

Kate said...

I will admit this to you right now:: I have never, ever eaten a fig. But because of you-- I will. That's why I always love coming here-- you either make me think, or laugh, or both....and you've always got good information to share! And darn it-- if we could have gone south instead of north on that boat trip, I soooo would have been looking you up!

Muslim Hippie said...

Yasmine- I need to meet this grandma of yours and try out all her amazing food I've been hearing about for the years I've known you.

Kate- If you've never tried figs before they might seem a little strange at first for their seeds are what you actually eat, if you give them a chance... you will not regret it. And yes-- I would highly recommend a trip in our direction next time.