JANUARY 20, 2012


Before Thanksgiving I went to my friend Mary’s house to photograph her artwork. She’s an amazing artist. Not only can she paint, but Mary is a great cook, creative being, calming spirit, and “home, organic gardener”.

She does not live out on a vast farm, like my friend, Molly. She lives in Urban L.A., and has made her backyard into an edible masterpiece. It is filled with herbs of all kinds, pomegranate trees, fig, lemon, orange, avocado, and persimmon trees.

Roots, like scallions, carrots, leeks, and fennel grow wild. Lots of lots of flowers grow everywhere. And, she composts, using old garbage bins. No fancy composting system here!

I left Mary’s house with a box of figs, an avocado, a ripe pomegranate, lots of herbs, a bouquet of flowers, and a recipe for her fig cake(that I had previously devoured at a friends house). I left Mary’s happy. I walked in my front door and immediately headed for the kitchen. As the fig jam simmered on the stove, I sat on the front steps of my house and ate the fresh pomegranate seeds, one seed at a time.

Fig Cake
yield: 1 9″ x 5″ loaf

for the fig jam:
1 cup coconut sugar
1 lb. fresh figs

for the cake:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour(or AP flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
3 oz.(6 Tbsp.) unsalted, organic butter
1 cup brown sugar or sucanat
2 large, organic eggs
3 Tbsp. sour cream
1 cup firm fig jam
1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

1. preheat oven to 350*
2. butter and flour(I used coconut flour) a 5″ x 9″ loaf pan.

for the jam:
1. cut figs in quarters and put in a heavy duty pan. add sugar.
2. simmer over medium heat until the figs start to break down. this could take all day, just keep an eye on it.
3. you want the figs somewhat chunky.
4. if there is still a lot of water at the end of the day, drain it off.
5. store in glass jars and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

for the cake:
1. sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. set aside.
2. using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sucant(or brown sugar) sugar until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.
3. add the eggs, one at a time.  mix well.
4.  add the sour cream and incorporate.
5. turn the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients until barely blended.
6. remove the bowl from the mixer and using a rubber spatula, mix in the fig jam and the nuts.
7. pour into prepared cake pan.
8. bake for 40-50 minutes