Hey! It took me a few days (due to a blasted cold that just. won't. quit!) but I finally got out the trusty random number generator and found a winner of Food Heroes by Georgia Pellegrini: Christine from Fresh Local and Best! Congratulations, Christine! Big thanks to all who participated. I can't tell you how engaged I was by all of the comments. Being the chatty person I am, I really had to restrain myself from responding to every single one of them. Not only did I glean some good reading ideas from all of the comments, but it also made me think about my food heroes.
There are many, but the first ones that come to mind, and the first ones who made an imprint on my mind, and continue to be my food heroes, are my parents. From day one, I was by my mother's side, cooking, baking, gardening and discovering. She made breakfast, lunch and dinner, almost every day without fail, and had the energy to discover how to make croissants, grow currants and make jelly from them, all the while teaching me endlessly, while continuing to be curious and open to new things. My father, though at work during the week, would cook on the weekends, and alongside him I learned the art of a fine gravy, how to make pasta, and that sitting down to dinner was one of the most important times of the day.
One of the greatest things I learned from my parents about cooking is being creative. They consulted cook books but didn't hover over them. Working with what you have on hand is how some of the best meals have come about. The other day, I had a few figs leftover from my big haul. They weren't in a condition to eat out of hand but certainly not out of service. I threw together a quick compote, and it was amazing on a pork tenderloin the other night. What I love about this one, is that there is no sugar in it. Leave it in the fridge, and it should last a month.
Pint of fresh figs, stemmed and halved
Put in a small pan and almost cover the figs with apple cider. Add a small handful of golden sultana raisins, a half of a handful of crystallized ginger (mine was in slices). Bring to a simmer and keep it there for about ten minutes, or until desired consistency. Store in fridge.