"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.
Right now, farmers markets everywhere are heralding the arrival of apricot season, which comes just as warm-weather festivities start to light up, but before the sun and temperatures become unrelenting. At the height of their heyday, these fuzzy orange stone fruits are juicy with an intoxicating floral aroma that simply can't be replicated. But keep in mind that they're only around from May to July. How to shop for and cook with them, when you keep reading.
Noyau (pronounced "nwayoh," and spelled noyaux when plural) refers to the kernel inside of a cherry or apricot stone.
To become edible, seed kernels must first be roasted in their pits to destroy toxic levels of prussic acid. Then, they're smashed open with a hammer and used in cooking to add a distinct bitter cherry-almond flavor to dishes.
Noyaux can be employed to enhance ice cream, custard, and amaretti cookies; create the liqueur creme de noyaux; or give almond extract its signature flavor. Have you ever heard of noyaux?
Source: Flickr User king_david_uk
Nothing is more perfect on a picnic-friendly day than a giant bowl of panzanella, or Italian bread salad. Traditionally, the resourceful Tuscans stretched day-old bread by using torn pieces to soak up the liquid in a tomato, cucumber, onion, and basil salad dressed with olive oil and vinegar.
But Italian chef Chris Cosentino takes panzanella in a different direction by putting a dessert spin on it with Summer stone fruits and a luscious zabaglione flavored by Moscato d'Asti. The result is a lighter, fresher version of bread pudding. Can't decide between a sweet and savory bread salad? Then make both. For the recipes, read more.
With the overpowering aroma of stone fruit at the farmers market and a particularly warm weekend, I decided it was the ideal time to make one of my favorite summertime obsessions: Popsicles. To keep it simple and showcase their pure deliciousness, I pureed peaches with tart lime juice and refreshing, home-grown pineapple mint. Because the peaches are perfectly ripe and juicy, you hardly need any sugar to sweeten the pops. If you aren't a peach person, consider another in-season fruit, like plums, cherries, or strawberries. Popsicles are irresistible on hot days, and the only way to beat the next heatwave is to keep reading.
During a recent endeavor to make peach rice pudding popsicles, I loved the rice pudding so much (a good amount of it wound up in my stomach instead of the freezer!) that I decided it was time to make a batch.
Enter this rice pudding recipe, which highlights all the freshest Summer fruits. It's comfort food to the max, with a glutinous bite and creamy, vanilla undertones. Make sure you keep the saucepan at arm's length and stir the rice continuously. I got distracted watching the Olympics, and my saucepan overflowed on me! To get this simple recipe, read more