Premier chef chris hastings boasts one of the summer’s best desserts at his Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham. Known for his passion and preference for local produce, Chris uses at least four different kinds of figs throughout the summer to produce his acclaimed Fig Tart. August is the peak time for this sweet treat, which he offers on the menu until about mid-September. Says one of the happy tasters from our staff: “It’s like eating candy.” If you want to savor Chris’s Fig Tart for yourself, make a reservation at his Birmingham restaurant (2180 11th Court South) by calling (205) 933-5474. To try your own version at home, visit myrecipes.com and search “Black Mission Fig Tart.”
A sparkling rainbow of colors--that’s what you’ll find at Blenko Glass in West Virginia. Stylish shapes and bright hues distinguish new collections. The company sells its wares through dealers all across the South and online at www.blenkoglass.com. The best deal, though, is to stop by the company’s headquarters in Milton, between Charleston and Huntington, off I-64. You can watch craftspeople from an observation deck, tour a museum, and peruse the factory outlet area. For more info visit the Web site, or call (304) 743-9081 or 1-877-425-3656.
Check out your local nursery for a fresh selection of marigolds this month. Not only will they energize your garden through the fall, but they can also provide a portable strand of floral color. After you’ve planted them, you’ll need to pick the blooms to stimulate more growth. Don’t simply place those cut flowers in a vase. Use a tapestry needle and heavy-duty thread or monofilament line to string them together on a garland. Drape it as a seasonal accent on a windowsill, atop the table, or around an arrangement.
Tip: Be sure to run the needle and thread through the thickest part of the stem, right under the flower head.
We have plenty of professionals―and plenty of opinions--around our Test Kitchens. We asked them to name their favorite tomato knives; here’s the short list. The funky-looking one comes from Williams-Sonoma ($15 online). Its rounded tip lets you lift and carry the slices without spills. The green Color Coated Tomato Knife is sold by The Pampered Chef ($15 online). A serrated edge and nonstick coating make cutting tomatoes a breeze. We found the third pick, a 41?2-inch serrated knife, for less than $10 at Home Goods.
Kids and water make the ultimate August pairing. Take advantage of those days when your youngsters want to enjoy some liquid good times at home. Move the sprinkler around your yard as they play to provide an even soaking for your lawn. That way you use water wisely even as you splurge on family fun.
"Get Inspired- August 2008" is from the August 2008 issue of Southern Living.