"Get your cherries fresh and ripe! These are the sweetest you've ever tasted!" a man called out to me as I walked past my neighborhood farmers market this morning. He's right: this month is the perfect time to enjoy Bing and Rainier cherries at their most succulent, firm, and flavorful. We're in the middle of stone fruit season that bears a bounty of apricots, plums, peaches, and their hybrid fruits all the way through the end of the Summer and into Fall. From salads to salsas and sweet treats, here are 10 of my favorite ways to enjoy the fruit family — aside from eating 'em out of hand, of course.
At farmers markets, vendors are just beginning to display normal-looking fruits with unusual names — pluots, plumcots, apriums, apriplums — that sound more like orbs of the astral variety than edible delights. So what are they anyway? Keep reading to find out.
Unlike certain foods — tomatoes, watermelon, and corn, to name a few — plums are a fruit I forget. That is, until I spot them at the farmers market each Summer, and find myself gobbling one up on the spot, dribbling juice and all. In that moment, I've suddenly become a born-again plum fanatic.
Although plums originated in China, their popularity spread quickly to other parts of the world like Japan, where they were further cultivated, and America, which saw its first plums in the late 1800s. Today, there are over 2,000 varieties of the stone fruit, although 95 percent of the plums in the United States come from Central California. Learn what to do with all those amazing drupes when you read more.
Lately, I've been stocking up on all the great-looking Fall produce that's at the farmer's market, but sometimes I run out of creative ideas for cooking with it. This entrée is just the solution to my quandary, as it incorporates a flavorful topping with in-season fruits. It's also perfect if you have chicken thighs on hand. To get the hassle-free recipe, read more
One of my favorite things about Summer is when friends occasionally stop by with a large bag of freshly picked fruit from their gardens. This past weekend, my dear friend bestowed on me a basket full of fresh plums. I could have made a pie, but I was in the mood for an easy, yet delicious crumble.
Crumbles are stewed fruit with a mixture of butter, flour, and sugar to make a crisp topping once baked. I added pistachios to the topping for extra crunch and spicy fresh ginger to the plum filling. Combine with a scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream to make this fruity, nutty, and crunchy crumble the perfect Summer dessert. Crumbles are easily altered to suit just about any taste, so to learn how to make one, read more
Last night I picked some of the Empress plums from the tree in our backyard. Empress plums, also known as Italian prune plums, have a sweet, yellow flesh and purple skin. This variety is an easy grower, too — our tree is dropping plums faster than we can harvest them. While I have plans for making some pies, and maybe even plum cornmeal cake, I know that to get the most out of this fruit harvest I'll have to freeze or can some of the plums.
Besides the delicious treat that a backyard plum provides, another important reason to consider planting a fruit tree at your home is that the fruit doesn't need to be trucked or flown in from halfway across the world. By becoming a backyard fruit farmer, you're providing some locally grown food for your home. And by freezing fruit, making preserves, or even drying it, you can enjoy the sweetness of Summer all year round.
Do you have any fruit growing at your house? Do you visit nearby orchards to pick your own?
Last weekend, I met up with some friends at a nearby butcher shop. The place is known for quality meats, and on this particular morning the duck legs looked mighty tasty. So I picked up a pair of them and went home for a cooking adventure.
I came across a recipe for roasted duck breast, but I adapted it to suit the legs. However, as much as I love dark meat, I think breasts would actually have been a better choice. It's a nice pairing of fresh plums and duck, and actually comes together in a short amount of time. To see how to put it together for yourself, read more
Every year on the Fourth of July, I like to make a red, white, and blue dessert. It's my personal salute to America. While a flag cake is festive, this year I'll wow guests with a red, white, and blueberry cheesecake tart.
The easy, crisp crust is a mixture of ground graham crackers and almonds. The filling is smooth, creamy, and classic. The red topping is a juicy syrup made with red plums. Garnished with plump, burst-in-your-mouth blueberries, this is one star-spangled dessert.
To learn how it's made, read more