Mele Cotte is hosting a food event that I just had to take part in. Cooking to Combat Cancer is a great event for foodies to get involved in promoting cancer awareness and to create recipes that include some of the cancer fighting foods and spices.
Although my family has not been immediately touched by cancer, I have quite a few friends who have been. One of my very best friends lost her mother to cancer, then her aunt a few short months later. It wasn't long before she was diagnosed with cancer as well. Thankfully, it was caught early enough and after a few rounds of chemo and radiation, she's been cancer free for the past few years. But how many haven't been that lucky??
That's why prevention and awareness is so important. According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly one-third of all cancer deaths may be diet related. That's crazy, isn't it?? The food we eat has a direct correlation to our health. Why wouldn't we want to eat as healthy as possible?? (As an aside, if you haven't yet read the book The China Study, I strongly suggest you do. It is an amazing research study about the relationship between diet and disease, and it's done in a very readable format. I highly recommend it!)
When I read the list of Cancer Fighting Foods and Spices on The Cancer Cure Foundation website, figs and red wine immediately jumped out. I have had a recipe for Figs in Red Wine scribbled down in my food notebook that I believe came from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. Although I don't have the book and can't vouch for its content, I did like the idea of this recipe.
According to the list of foods, figs contain vitamins A and C, and calcium, magnesium and potassium, may curtail appetite and improve weight-loss efforts. They also contain a derivative of benzaldehyde, which investigators at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research in Tokyo say is highly effective at shrinking tumors. Red wine has polyphenols that may protect against various types of cancer. Polyphenols are potent antioxidants, compounds that help neutralize disease-causing free radicals.
These figs are perfect by their own, but would be a fantastic addition to a cheese plate. A jar of these would also make a lovely gift to a fellow foodie.
Figs in Red Wine
1 1/2 c dry fruity red wine
2 bay leaves
1 strip orange zest
1 tsp honey
8 oz dried mission figs
In a small saucepan, bring red wine, bay leaves, and peppercorns to a boil. Lower heat and simmer uncovered, until wine is reduced to 1/2 cup. While wine is simmering, cut figs in half. Place in small jar with wine and add remaining ingredients. Cover, shake, and store in refrigerator.