Loving the BITE: Goat Cheese Figgy Appetizer

What comes to mind when you think of Christmas carols?  Is it children singing?  Hay rides? Sleigh bells?

For me, it’s figgy pudding.  And, although I’ve never actually had it, figs intrigue me.  One of my favorite pizzas boosts a healthy serving of figs.  This week, we’ll keep it simple and serve up a delicious fig Holiday appetizer with antioxidants, healthful minerals, and fiber.  Like a dream come true, you’ll be able to enjoy Holiday foods while staying a strong and healthy cyclist.  Maybe next year we’ll conquer the pudding.

Recipe of the Week: Goat Cheese Figgy Appetizer

Ingredients:

  • 12 fresh figs, halved (or dried mission figs if fresh not available, halved)
  • 4 ounces herbed goat cheese (chevre)
  • 24 almonds
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat broiler to high heat.
  2. Place the fig halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Top each half with about 1/2 teaspoon goat cheese. Top cheese with one almond and press to push the cheese slightly into each fig.
  3. Broil figs in the preheated oven until the cheese is soft and the almonds are turning a rich shade of brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the broiler and let cool for 5 minutes. Arrange the figs on a serving platter and drizzle with honey and balsamic vinegar. Serve warm.

Comments:

Another nutrition winner…figs are not only tasty, but full of nutrients to help your body ride well.   Here’s how:

  • They are full of antioxidants and phytochemicals including carotenes, lutein, tannins, and chlorgenic acid. These antioxidants work to reduce free radicals in cyclists’ bodies, which reduces cholesterol plague formation, damage to cells, and risk of chronic diseases.
  • Figs are a good source of potassium.  Potassium helps reduce and control blood pressure.  As a cyclist, you’re already doing a good job of keeping your arteries elastic by consistently getting your heart rate up and blood pumping.  Next, minimize processed foods and include whole ones high in potassium, such as fruits.
  • F is for Fiber.  In just one serving of figs, you’ll get 3-4 grams of fiber.  Fiber is important for all athletes as it keeps your gut healthy, improves immune function, promotes healthy hormone levels, and aids in fat loss.  Digestion and gut health are crucial for overall nutrition since your gut serves as the gateway for all nutrients entering the blood stream.
  • Figs may reduce high blood sugar and symptoms of diabetes.  In addition to fiber, figs provide chlorogenic acid, which specifically lowers blood sugars in people with Diabetes.
  • Minerals abound.  Potassium supports healthy blood pressure.  Then, you can count on figs for calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc. Copper and iron are important for red blood cell production, oxygenation of cells, and energy production.

Bonus Recipe: Figgy Raspberry Sauce

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except raspberries in a saucepan.
  2. Stir continuously over a low heat until honey dissolves. Then, bring to the boil and simmer until figs are tender and liquid has reduced to a thick syrup, stirring frequently, ~20 minutes.
  3. Stir in raspberries and continue to simmer until sauce thickens to required consistency, about 5 minutes.  Serve over Holiday pudding breads, ice-creams, fruits, etc.  Perfect for a snazzy Holiday party.

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