Monday, June 28, 2010

We Can Do It - Parshat Pinchas

In this week’s portion, Parshat Pinchas, the nation gets counted again, the holidays get reviewed, and Joshua gets publicly appointed as the successor of Moses. Amidst all this hoopla it’s easy for one of my favorite stories to get lost. The nation (numbering 601,730, and pacing slightly behind the count of the previous generation's 603,550) is assigned portions in the land of Israel that correspond to the size of the tribes and to the clans within them. But there is a family that is at risk of getting left out of this system because they have only daughters and the allocations are made to the men of the household.

These women, the daughters of Zelofchad, in the tribe of Menashe, come to Moses and explain their predicament. Machlah, Noah, Choglah, Milcah and Tirtzah tell him and the other leaders that their father died in the desert, not, they are quick to point out, because he had anything to do with the rebel Korach. They don’t want their father's name to be completely lost because he had no sons, and they request to have a portion of land within the clan. Well, this is something Moses isn’t really prepared for, but he doesn’t shut them down, instead he goes to consult God. God deems their plea to be logical and just and orders that their father’s share be transferred to them.

Moses let’s the nation know about an update to the rules: “If a man dies without any sons his property will be transferred to his daughters, if he has no daughters it goes to his brothers, if no brothers, to his father’s brothers, if none of them are around it goes to his nearest living relative in his own clan.” And at the end of the book they take on an additional responsibility that God commands in these situations- any daughter who inherits her father’s land must marry within the clan so that the clan and tribe can retain the land apportioned to them. The five daughters of Tzelofchad uphold this decree and marry the sons of their uncles.

The reason I like this story is because it’s one of the examples in the Bible of women’s leadership. I think of these five sisters as very strong ladies who are not only able to stick up for themselves but who really want to have a role in and influence on the nation of Israel. They are able to present their case in a clear and compelling way and because of them an innovation in the law is created and will help those who come after them. They pave the way for innovation in Jewish tradition while remaining committed to tradition and family. And so, I’ve got a recipe to share with you that is a new twist on an old recipe, or Jewish fusion cooking if you will.

How much more old school can you get than bagel, lox and cream cheese? It’s served at some big deal big Jewish events, which can lead to carb overload. At home, Sam and I like to make omelets with lox, cream cheese and scallions instead. Now this dish might not translate so well to a Shabbat meal since omelets are best served immediately after cooking, but I think you can make it on Sunday morning and it could still count.

A few months back Sam and I mastered the art of making amazing omelets in the French style. During the winter some friends were in town, Elitzur and Michal, and we were chatting about the movie Julie and Julia. They said that if we liked the movie we needed to watch some footage of Julia’s cooking shows to see how well Meryl Streep had nailed her character. So in searching on utube we found a clip of Julia making French omelets, which involves a very hot pan, butter, some dexterous wrist action, and much less time for the eggs to be in the pan than in any omelet I’d ever made. I want you to watch the video and I want to share her technique with you, without additions. These omelets are so fluffy – they are such a departure from the thick leaden ones we usually make at home or eat at a buffet.

French Omelet with Lox, Cream Cheese and Chives

Serves 2 people. Adapted from Julia Child’s “The French Chef…..

4 eggs

2 splashes of water

a pinch of salt

a pinch of pepper

2 tablespoons of cream cheese cut into small cubes

Handful of Scallions or chives chopped

4 slices of lox cut into bite size pieced and divided.

2 tbsp butter

First get the egg mixture all ready before you heat your pan – once that pan is hot it’s a quick process with no time to spare. Take two measuring cups to prepare each serving in so that you’ll have each batch them ready to go. Crack two eggs into the first measuring cup (first checking each for blood spots in a clear glass cup) and add a dash of salt and pepper as well as a splash of water and stir briefly with a fork, but not too much. Do the same in the second cup. Also have at the ready two plates to flip the omelets onto as soon as they’re done.

Place an 8 inch non stick frying pan over high heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Let the butter melt and bubble for just under a minute. Spread it around your pan with a silicone baking brush and make sure you go over the periphery of the pan. Add the first egg mixture and swirl it around the pan to evenly coat the bottom. Drop in half the cream cheese and the lox and let them sit on top of the eggs. Wait a few second for the eggs to bubble themselves and then grab the pan by the handle and jerk it back and forth several times to get the omelet to fold over on itself (it’s good to watch the clip for this technique) and flip onto a plate. Sprinkle with half of the chopped scallions or chives and serve right way.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Blessing on Your Head - Parshat Balack

The Nation of Israel is kicking butt right and left as they make their way to the promised land, putting the fear of God into some of the neighboring nations. Well, more like fear of the Israelites. In this week's Portion, Parshat Balak, the King of the Midianites, Balak, is frightened that the Israelites will overtake them, so as a preventative measure he sends for an oracle to curse the Israelites and keep them away from the Midianites. The oracle called upon to do the job is a man named Balam, but he faces some issues in carrying out the job. God tells him that under no circumstances is he to curse the Israelites because they are a blessed people. Obligingly, Balam refuses to go to Balak to curse the Israelites.

But Balak is a stubborn king (and what king isn’t?) and sends for Balam again. He just doesn’t seem to understand that no matter how much money he offers, Balam won’t be cursing the people. Balam does eventually end up going to the king at the instruction of God with the condition that he not say anything other than what God tells him to say. On the journey God wants to make the point abundantly clear and we have a case of fairytale-like anthropomorphism. The donkey that Balam rides on the journey starts to freak out. Balam has never before had trouble with this particular animal and tries to keep it in line by hitting it with a stick. Three times the donkey strays from the path and stops walking; veering into a field, ramming Balam’s leg into a wall, and finally laying down and refusing to go anywhere. Each time Balam reacts by hitting the poor animal, but what Balam can’t see is that the donkey has been scared by an angel of God who has appeared on the path brandishing a sword.

God opens the mouth of the donkey and it speaks to Balam “Why have you hit me three times?” Balam, apparently not too surprised that his donkey is now conversant in something other than braying, answers that it’s because he’s made him look like a fool. “Look” the donkey levels with him, “in all my service to you have I ever disobeyed you?” Hmm... thinks Balam, the ass has a good point. God then opens Balam’s eyes and he sees the menacing angel that has been in the path all along and understands. Balam knows that once he gets to Balak he is the mouth-piece of God and must do as He instructs.

When Balam finally reaches Balak he explains his situation, the whole can’t-say-anything-God-doesn’t-want-him-to situation, and instructs Balak to build seven alters to offer sacrifices to God. They are on an overlook where they can see the nation of Israel. Balam pronounces a lengthy blessing on Israel and Balak is incensed. “I brought you here to curse these people, what are you doing?” Balam again explains that he can only convey the words that God is putting in his mouth, but Balak isn’t catching on. Balak tries to take him to another vantage point, hopefully more suitable for nation cursing, but the same thing goes down. He builds alters and offers sacrifices but Balam can only offer blessings. Balak foolishly tries this several more times, thinking he can outsmart God. But of course, all Balam is able to do is bless the people.

There are two stubborn characters in the portion providing some fodder for my recipes this week. Donkeys have always been portrayed as stubborn beasts, and the one in this story is only half as stubborn as King Balak. To evoke both of them at the Shabbat table I’ll be making a salad with some alfalfa sprouts, one of the choice grazing material for donkeys. I’ll also be adding into the salad some hearts of palm to evoke the multiple blessings that the nation receives from Balam. In one of the blessings Balam likens the nation to palm groves; “How fair are your tents O Jacob, your dwellings O Israel. Like palm groves that stretch out, like gardens besides a river.”

I’ve been getting great heads of deep red lettuce and rich green romaine in our CSA, which I’m working on using up each week. With all the farmer's markets around now I’m sure you’ll find some great sprouts for the salad. The hearts of palm are easy to buy canned in a supermarket, and while they aren’t a colorful addition to a salad, they’ve got a great taste and a nice circular shape. In the summer salads can really become the focal point of a meal. Here are my top tips to making a centerpiece worthy salad – keep it colorful, try to strike a balance between sweet and savory and add in some protein like sliced egg, chickpeas, nuts or chicken. Serving something cold can keep your oven off, which keeps my apartment much cooler!

Hearts of Palm and Sprouts Salad

A head of red or romaine lettuce

A handful of dried cranberries

Canned Chickpeas

Canned hearts of Palm

Fresh alfalfa sprouts

Cherry tomatoes

Optional protein such as Chicken breasts, pepper steak, egg or tofu

1 lemon

2 teaspoons of olive oil
Dash of water
1 teaspoon or coarse salt garlic

First prepare my favorite dressing. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze both halves with a handled squeezer into a cup. Crush the garlic clove with a good quality crusher into the cup. Add oil, water and salt.

Then wash the lettuce, spin it dry in a salad spinner and add it to a large salad bowl. Throw in the cranberries and alfalfa sprouts. Rinse the chickpeas and add them too. Slice the hearts of palms into ¼ inch thick slices.

If you’re using the protein follow these instructions. For eggs add them to a pot and cover with boiling water. I use a timer that goes in the water and changes color to show the degree to which the egg is being cooked. Cook them to medium, about 7 minutes of boiling, let them cool and then peel and slice them. For chicken, marinate in some olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and then put under your broiled for 5 minutes on each side, let cool and slice into bite size pieces. Do the same for the pepper steak or tofu but marinate it in soy sauce, scallions, garlic and pepper for a few hours. Add the protein to the top of the salad and then dress right before serving.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Between a Rock and a Hard Place - Parshat Chukat

Parched. Thirsty. In Need of Water! These are protest banner slogans that the Nation of Israel may have made in this week's Portion, Parshat Chukat, to let Moses know about their H2O laments. This is only one of the issues that makes this is a tough portion for Moses. Aside from having the nation complaining once again with their laments of life in the desert and their longing for their Egyptian lifestyles, he looses his sister and brother. Miriam's passing is recounted towards the beginning of the portion and Aron's at the end. And then there's the story of the rock that crushes Moses's life-long dream.

Enter the complaining nation. "Why did you make us leave Egypt to bring us to this wretched place, a place with no grain or figs or vines or pomegranates? There isn't even water to drink!" Moses seeks God's help with the matter and is told to get the nation together and speak to a rock in front of everyone, commanding it to start flowing water (and it will - God's taking care of that part). Then the nation will not only have water to drink, they'll be impressed by Moses their leader and will understand that God does indeed take care of them.

But, Moses does a botch job. He hits the rock instead of talking to it nicely. Now, rewind 40 years in their desert journey and you have another incident where the nation is complaining for water. Moses asks God for help and God tells him to hit a rock in front of everyone and water will flow out for them to drink (for a refresher see Exodus chapter 17, verse 6). So Moses hits a rock with good results. Perhaps this confuses his performance in our portion. Despite the fact that he doesn't do what God commanded this time (to talk to the rock), water never the less comes out of the rock. But God then tells Moses that the deal is off and he can't lead the nation into the land of Israel. It's a really heartbreaking scene. After everything that Moses has endured as their leader, it's terrible that he won't get to that carrot at the end of the stick. He won't be allowed to enter the promised land with his people, God only lets him glance at it from afar. While this may seem totally unfair, God explains His reasoning to be "Because you didn't trust me enough to affirm my holiness in front of the nation."

However, when I was in high school I learned a different understanding of this twist in the story of Moses. In this portion there is a whole new generation than the one Moses started out leading. The group he started with has died off in the desert as punishment for their sins. This generation is a different group with different needs and the fact that Moses is treating them in the same way that he treated the previous generation may be indicative that he is no longer the right leader for them. In this light we can view Moses's early retirement as a strategic leadership decision on the part of God instead of a punishment. The nation needs a new leader who will understand them as a generation.

I learned this idea from my 11th and 12th grade Tanach (Bible) teacher, Rabbi Natti Helfgot. Rabbi Helfgot was the one who first got me excited about the text of Tanach, not only because he has such an engaging style of teaching, but because he got so visibly excited about the ideas in the text himself. I recently saw Rabbi Helfgot and many of my 23 class mates from the first graduating class of Ma'ayanot at our ten year high school reunion. It was a lot of fun to go back to the building where I participated in great extra curricular activities and learned an integrated curriculum. As an example, if we were studying Government in Social Studies, our Talmud classes were focused on Judicial law. I painted Monet's garden in art class, played on the intramural hockey team, and started a chapter of Free the Children. I switched to Ma'ayanot in the middle of 11th grade, a risky decision, but one of the best I have ever made. I really loved going to that school - I learned a ton, grew as a leader and my Jewish identity got an energy boost. It was perfect for me then but now it's a different place with a different principal, and while it made me nostalgic, maybe that's the right thing for the school. In the ten years since we have graduated, the school has grown in size and number and the population probably needed something different than us pioneers did. Akin to Moses's situation.

Well that was a nice trip down high school Memory Lane. Now it's time for the recipe. Looking over the food line in the portion, which can easily be located in the nation's complaint, a new ingredient jumped out at me that I haven't talked about yet in the book of Numbers: Grains. I recently made some tabouli that I took with me to work for lunch, and Emily requested that I share the recipe here. Tabouli is typically prepared with cooked bulgur and served cold, tossed with tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs. I like to use couscous as the base for mine, throw in some tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and mint, then squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top and toss with salt and pepper. I hope you enjoy the recipe below- it's a really wonderful summer dish. And I'm sure that nation of Israel would've been a happier bunch had they had this dish in the desert.

Couscous Tabouli

1/2 tsp salt
A drizzle of olive oil
2 cups of couscous
2.5 cups of water
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
10 black olives (such as Kalamata olives, don't used canned olives)
3 sprigs of fresh mint leaves
2 lemons
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, add the water, salt and oil and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, stir in the couscous and remove from the heat. Let the couscous sit in the pot with a cover on for 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and refrigerate to cool completely.

Slice the tomatoes, cucumbers and olives (de-pit the olives if they aren't already) into thin, bite size pieces. Chop the fresh mint leaves and add them, as well as the other vegetables to the cold couscous. Squeeze the lemons over the couscous mix and season with salt and pepper. Serve cold as a side dish or with tortilla chips as a snack.

P.S. You can now subscribe to Double Portion vie email! Just enter your address is the box in the top right corner of the blog page and you'll get an email when I put up a new post.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dessert Report

I caved. I was going to just bake the biscotti this week. But I went for the cherry cake too. I haven't tasted it yet but it was pretty easy to make and the looks of it really impressed Sam. But I did help myself to the biscotti with a milk chaser chugged from the bottle standing in front of the fridge.

I also made a double batch of challah, which involved 14 cups of flour and a lot of hard work on the part of my stand mixer. If you want to enjoy some of the loaves I made, come out to my session at Jewbilee on Sunday- walks in welcome!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rumble - Parshat Korach

Get ready for a rumble. In this week's portion, Parshat Korach, a fellow named Korach and a few of his buddies (250 of them actually) challenge Moses and Aron's leadership. They want to know why a holy nation needs a leader (never mind that Korach happens to be from the Tribe of Levi and already has a role of leadership). Moses is seriously disheartened by this challenge but faces it by setting up a test. He tells the rabblerousers to come back to the same place tomorrow with frying pans filled with incense and light them on fire - whoever's offering is consumed by God is the chosen leader.

At the showdown, God is so upset by the chutzpah of Korach and his gang that He threatens to wipe everyone out. After being calmed down by Moses and Aron, God instructs Moses to tell the nation to move themselves away from the homes of Korah and his other buddies, and not to touch any of their stuff unless they want to get hurt. The nation does get the heck out of there but stands by to watch what happens. Moses announces to everyone in ear shot that if the leaders of the rebel gang die in a way that is natural, God didn't have a hand in it. But if God brings some crazy abnormal phenomenon to kill them, you'll all know they have gotten God very mad. Just as he finishes speaking the ground beneath Korach and the other leaders started to shift and creak and then it suddenly bursts open, swallowing up the rebel leaders, their families, their homes and all their possessions. And then, just as quickly, the earth comes back together, settles down and looks perfectly normal.

Meanwhile, the other 250 members of the gang, are still with their fire pans. Well they all get killed by a fire. Then God commands that their copper frying pans be hammered into sheets of metal to cover the alter, and thus would serve as a warning to the nation. Well the nation clearly doesn't get the message- not from the hammered copper pots, nor from any of the incidents in the previous portions, such as God making meat come out of their noses when they complain about not having enough or the death sentence given to the spies who gave a bad report of the land of Israel. Instead of learning their lesson, they go on to accuse Moses and Aron of bringing death to the nation. So God knows He still needs to settle the matter of defending their leadership. Each tribe is instructed to bring a staff with the name of their tribe leader carved into it to the Tabernacle. The staffs get lined up and God pronounces that he will choose one staff to sprout and that will indicate the nation's true leader. They leave the staffs there overnight and when Moses goes back the next day to check on them, the staff of Aron, Moses's brother, the high priest, and his right hand man (thus also implying the leadership of Moses) had sprouted blossoms and almonds. Aron's staff remains in the Tabernacle as another reminder to the nation to behave. We'll see how long that lasts.

Onto the recipes. Two things come to mind this week. One is some kind of sunken cake to reenact the earth swallowing Korach and his compadres. When I looked for some recipes online I found that most people are actually trying to avoid sunken cakes, and there are many tips on how to resuscitate a cake whose center has collapsed. I actually want that to happen for this week's recipe and I found a recipe on a blog for a lovely cherry sunken cake, dusted in powdered sugar and looking concavely plump and moist.

I also want to do two almond dishes in honor of Aron's flowering staff. The image of his staff always reminded me of the scene in Pinocchio where Pinocchio's nose grow so ling from lying that it starts to sprout leaves, flowers and a bird takes up residence in a nest on his branch-like nose. I really liked spicy nut mixes and have toasted a few concoctions before. Below is one I think you'll enjoy making and eating. And for some time now I have been wanting to share my chocolate biscotti recipe. I usually make it with chocolate chips and pistachios, but have used almonds in place of the pistachios before with great results. The fun thing about these biscotti is that they not only contain almonds to tie into the portion, they also sort of look like long staffs, mimicking the ones that were brought to the Tabernacle to determine the nation's leadership.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti
I have been making this recipe for year from Martha Stewart Living 2002 Annual Recipes. I love to serve them in footed dessert bowls with a scoop of ice cream

2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder (I love to use Sharfenbergers)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4.5 tbsp unsalted butter or non dairy butter substitute
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of slivered or chopped almonds
1/2 cup of chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a silpat at on a baking sheet.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until well blended and then add the eggs. After that is well combined add the flour mixture and stir until a ball forms. Then stir in the chips and almonds.

Transfer the dough to the silpat lined baking sheet and shape into a flat log - about 10- 12 inches by 5 inches. Bake for 25 minutes and then cool for 5 minutes and lowered the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Once the log has cooled a bit, slice with a serrated knife into 1 inch thick slices, on the diagonal. Flip them to be cut side down and bake for 8 more minutes. They will still be soft on the inside but crisp on the outside- a wonderful consistency. Serve plain or with ice cream.

Rosemary and Chile Spiced Almonds

2 cups of roasted almonds
2 tablespoons of butter
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaved removed from stem and chopped
1 tablespoon of coarse salt
1 tsp of chili powder
pinch of sugar

Melt the butter over a medium flame in a frying pan. Add in the nuts and swirl to coat with butter. Sprinkle with the spices and toast for a about 5 minutes stirring constantly, until fragrant, Serve warm or room temperature.

Sunken Cherry Cake

Give this recipe a go

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Secret Agent Men - Parshat Shelach

Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to spy on the promised land. You will represent your tribe and bring back a report of the lay of the land, the people in the land - oh and bring some fruit back too.

This is pretty much what God commands Moses to tell 12 representatives from the tribes of Israel in this week's portion, Parshat Shelach. They are given some specific questions to research: Are the people who live there strong or weak, few or many? Are the towns fortified, is the soil good, is it full of trees?

So these 12 guys set off on their mission and spend 40 days gathering the answers to these questions. They return from their journey with a huge cluster of grapes so big that two people have to carry them on a frame, and they bring figs and pomegranates as well. They deliver the fruit and their report to Moses and the whole nation; "The land does indeed flow with milk and honey, and here is it's fruit...BUT the people who live there are powerful, the cities very large and fortified and the people are huge." Gulp. This wasn't the most positive report of God's promised land, the place they were all headed. One of the spies, Caleb Ben Yefuneh, from the tribe of Judah, tries to recover hope and faith in the dream; "Let's go up and possess the land- we can overcome these obstacles!"

But the other spies refute him; "We can't attack people who are that much stronger than us - the country devours it's settlers. We were like grasshoppers compared to those who live there." Oh God. God is not gonna be happy.

At the conclusion of this back and forth the nation starts to panic. They start in with their favorite guilt trip; "If only we had died in Egypt, it would be better for us to be back in Egypt." When they start actually talking plans to go back to Egypt an intervention is necessary. Joshua (Mose's right hand man who accompanied the spies) and Caleb make a valiant attempt. "Listen, the land God is giving us IS a GOOD one. We saw it ourselves and it's really good, ok? If God is happy with us He'll bring us there to the flowing milk and honey and he'll just give it to us. But you've got to trust Him and behave. There's no reason to be afraid of the people who live there when we've got God on our side." Apparently this it doesn't go over well - the community gets ready to pelt them with stones.

God takes it all pretty personally "Why do they continue to spurn me? How long will this faithlessness last? Even though I've pulled out all the stops and shown them these great miracles, still, it's not enough for them. We'll I've had enough, and this time I mean it. I'm going to send a plague to wipe out this whole generation and make you a new and better nation." Oy thinks Moses, this can't be Noah and the flood part deux. Despite Moses's attempts at persuasion God is sticking to his plan- "No one who I took out of Egypt will live to see the land of Israel. The nation wander through the desert until this generation has all died out. You'll wander for 40 years exactly - a year for each day that the spies were in the land of Israel. Except for Caleb and Joshua- I'll make an exception for them since they remained loyal to me." And the rest of the spies are immediately killed by a plague.

In one last unfortunate turn of events in the portion, when the people hear their fate, they are filled with grief and guilt and want to make it up to God. So they go too far to the other extreme and try to show how much they are prepared to enter the land of Israel. They go over the border to fight- but God warns that he doesn't want them to do it and when they go ahead anyway they are all killed by the inhabitants of the land.

Ok, I think it's about time I got around the the recipe right? I bet you're thinking, oh boy she's gonna do grapes again. Well no, I just did that the other week (bad planning on my part - the grape picture above is from the delicious rustic grape tart that I made the other week). Instead of focusing on the huge grapes in the portion I want to pay some attention to the figs. I really love figs. Fresh figs are beautiful to look at, to slice and to eat, but the dried and jellied versions also have a special place in my palate. Many people find figs sensual and I definitely think it's a fruit with drama, which is appropriate for this portion where there is so much tumult and emotion. A lot of places I've been shopping lately have had these alluring bottles of fig spread that aren't kosher. And I'm jealous. So I'm going to make my own.

I actually got this idea from a cookbook my mom gave me over the weekend- The Charleston,SC Junior League's Receipts Cookbook from 1950. Published in the south with some recipes dating back to the 1700s it's got some funky recipes for roasted possum and a turtle soup, but there are some other recipes that I'd really like to try like the mint julep and the fig spread. My mom picked it up on a road trip with her sister last week when they were in the Historic Charleston Foundation gift shop. Unfortunately, I forgot to take it back with me at the end of our lovely long weekend with my parents, so I made my mom send me the recipe and book credits. Emma- thanks for the cookbook and for your patience! I'm also going to tie in the milk from "the land of milk and honey" here.

And happy birthday to Emily! Maybe you can extend your eating exceptions to this weekend and enjoy this dish yourself. I may just be stopping by Haymarket in your hood for some fresh figs at bargain prices on Friday.

Crostini with Fig Spread and Chevre
Adapted from Charleston Receipts, 1950, Junior League of Charleston,SC

I debated making baked brie slathered in fig spread, wrapped in phyllo dough, and this tart recipe looks great too, but since I'm making the fruit spread myself, I'm going to keep it simple. The recipe doesn't actually have honey in it 9as in the lank of milk and honey) but it's so sweet that it'll do the job.

Loaf of french bread
Log of plain chevre (I get this at Trader Joe's or Costco)
1 qt fresh figs**
4 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1 sliced lemons
1 cinnamon stick
12 cloves

Rinse the figs. Bring the water to a boil with the sugar and then add the lemons and figs, as well as the spices. Simmer for about an hour until figs are tender.

In the mean time, slice the french bread, and towards the end of cooking the figs broil them in the oven or toaster oven for a minute until they look toasted. Spread the chevre with a spoon or a knife on each slice of toasted bread and then spread the cooked figs on top. Serve on a platter. Store the spread in glass jars.

** If you prefer to use dry figs and have less time on your hands (more like 35 minutes) try this Martha Stewart recipe.