1. Fresh stuffed figs with balsamic syrup

    Fresh figs, sweet cheese and rich balsamicFresh figs are plentiful and ripe in late summer.  They make a great first course, or you can serve them as a light dessert.  Try figs stuffed with a mellow goat cheese or slightly-sweetened mascarpone.  For a simple starter, drape or wrap them with salty proscuitto.  The salty ham contrasts with the sweet fig nicely. You can also drizzle the cheese-stuffed jewels with reduced balsamic. 
    Serve 2 ripe figs per person
    Wash and cut off stems
    Split into 4, but do not cut thru the fig. Open it like a flower.
    Beat 1 tbsp. confection/icing sugar into ½ cup mascarpone cheese
    Reduce 1 cup of balsamic to ½ cup (I use the microwave. I poured the balsamic into a glass measuring cup, and reduced it in bursts until it was done.)
    Dust with finely chopped almonds or pistachios.
    Drizzle with the reduced balsamic.