Category Archives: Fruit

Meyer Lemons II: Sweet and Decadent

Zest, juice and slices of Meyer lemon flavor this irresistible Meyer lemon coffee cake.

Zest, juice and slices of Meyer lemon flavor this irresistible Meyer lemon coffee cake.

 

April showers bring May flowers. But last winter’s deluge of rain nearly drowned my poor little Meyer lemon tree.

Usually flush with deep green leaves and bountiful with sunny yellow lemons, it looks more like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree right now. In fact, I managed to pick all of about four decent-sized ripe lemons this year — not nearly enough to make this spectacular “Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake” by Martha Stewart.

But lo and behold, my friend Kiki to the rescue. With her tree overflowing with lemons, she gifted me a big bag of them — plenty to make this cake that requires a load of Meyers.

Thin slices of lemon are layered and baked right into the cake, which has a batter laden with lemon zest, too. Then, a mountain of crunchy streusel goes on top — an amount nearly as deep as the cake, itself. Finally, a Meyer lemon citrus glaze is drizzled over the top.

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Meyer Lemons Part I: The Quick and the Savory

This is what I call an ideal lemon chicken.

This is what I call an ideal lemon chicken.

 

Lemon chicken may be a mainstay of Chinese restaurant menus, but I never order it.

Battered to oblivion, and tossed with a gloppy sauce that tastes more of sugar than citrus, it just doesn’t appeal.

Melissa Clark’s “Sauteed Chicken with Meyer Lemon,” however, is much more my style.

The veteran cookbook author and New York Times food writer does swaps out the deep-frying for stir-frying instead. That means this dish comes together in no time and with no mess.

What’s more, you can really taste the fresh, bright Meyer lemon in this dish.

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Festive Cranberry & Pear Tart For the Holidays

Jazz up the Thanksgiving table with this beautiful cranberry-pear frangipane tart.

Jazz up the Thanksgiving table with this beautiful cranberry-pear frangipane tart.

 

You may never spy a partridge in a pear tree.

But in Darina Allen’s newest cookbook, “Grow Cook Nourish: A Kitchen Garden Companion in 500 Recipes” (Kyle), you’ll learn not only how to grow pear trees and how to keep alert to pests and diseases, but how the fruit is a good source of dietary fiber and antioxidants. What’s more, you’ll find a selection of delectable recipes to make the most of your harvest.

Allen, who runs the renowned cooking school at Ballymaloe in County Cork, Ireland that has its own 100-acre farm, offers up similar wisdom for a roster of other fruits, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, and foraged finds in this 640-page book.

It makes a great resource for anyone who enjoys cooking, gardening or both. You’ll learn about oca, a tender green originally from South America that stars in “Oca, Chorizo, Scallion & Radish Salad.” Everyday potatoes turn special in “Burmese Pork & Potato Curry.” And easy-to-grow thyme gets a sweet turn in “Buttermilk Ice Cream with Olive Oil and Thyme Leaves.”

Add a dollop of whipped cream and you are good to go.

Add a dollop of whipped cream and you are good to go.

With the holidays upon us, I couldn’t resist trying my hand at the “Festive Cranberry & Pear Tart” from the book, of which I received a review copy.

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State Bird Provisions Part I: Persimmons with Kinako Dressing and Black Sesame Seed Salt

Fresh fuyu persimmons accentuated by a roast-toasty sauce.

Fresh fuyu persimmons accentuated by a roast-toasty sauce.

 

It’s a given that “State Bird Provisions: A Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press) is one of the most anticipated cookbooks to arrive this year.

After all, Chef-Owners and husband-and-wife Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski (who wrote the cookbook with J.J. Goode) own one of the hottest restaurants in the country. When State Bird Provisions opened in San Francisco in 2012, it wasn’t long before Bon Appetit magazine named it “Restaurant of the Year.” That was followed by a James Beard Award in 2013 for “Best New Restaurant,” as well as a Michelin star.

The restaurant’s inventive dim sum-like service, where diners choose dishes from cart or trays ferried to their table, proved irresistible, especially because of their array of eclectic, globally-inspired small plates. The place got so mobbed that hackers even broke into the restaurant’s reservations system to try to snag a hard-to-get table.

State_Bird_Provisions_Final_Cover

Even after opening a second restaurant next door, The Progress, State Bird Provisions remains a tough ticket today, with folks still lining up on the sidewalk long before the doors open to try to get a walk-in spot.

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Haloumi with Grapes

Pair unusual grapes with an unusual cheese with delicious results.

Pair unusual grapes with an unusual cheese with delicious results.

 

Get a load of these grapes.

I sure did when I spied Moon Drops at my neighborhood Whole Foods recently.

How can you not notice these beauties that sport such an unusual tubular shape that do give them a rather otherworldly appearance?

They are juicy, sweet and with just enough tannin from their inky purple-black skin to keep everything in balance.

Moon Drops was developed by the Grapery in Bakesfield.

Incredible, edible Moon Drops.

Incredible, edible Moon Drops.

After buying a bunch, I ate quite a few just right out of hand. But I also saved some for this recipe, “Haloumi with Grapes.”

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