Category Archives: Fruit

Now’s The Time For Crostata Di Marmalata

Apricot squared -- with apricot jam and fresh apricots.

Apricot squared — with apricot jam and fresh apricots.

 

Last week at the farmers market, when I spied baskets of ripe apricots with the intense orange-red glow of a tropical sunset, I couldn’t contain myself.

Then, I just had to bake.

These beauties were destined for “Crostata Di Marmalata,” an easy apricot jam-filled tart that I took the liberties of blinging out by decorating it with halves of these early stone fruit.

The recipe is from master baker Jim Lahey’s newest book, “The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook” (W.W. Norton, 2017), of which I received a review copy.

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You probably know Lahey for the phenomenon he created with his revolutionary no-knead bread recipe a decade ago. Lahey, who opened his Sullivan Street Bakery in New York in 1994, is known far and wide for his way with bread, made with wild yeast he hand-cultivated in Italy.

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One-Pan Cranberry-Balsamic Chicken Thighs

It's all about the sauce -- in this case a syrupy one full of cranberries, balsamic vinegar and honey.

It’s all about the sauce — in this case a syrupy one full of cranberries, balsamic vinegar and honey.

 

Like so many folks especially in this part of the country, I appreciate being able to eat seasonally — to hone in on what’s best at each time of year to enjoy its peak flavor and revel in its often brief local appearance.

But there’s one item I keep in my freezer nearly year-round, even when its season is long gone.

Cranberries. Frozen ones to be exact.

I know, I know, they’re so fall and winter, you’re thinking. Why in the world would I want to partake of them in spring or summer?

Because their vivid color makes anything special. Because their sweet-sour fruitiness wakes up whatever they’re paired with. And because, how can I resist something that reminds me of the most festive, family-and-friend-filled convivial time of year?

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Of Moms — And Cranberry Roly Poly

The personality of moms encapsulated  in a baked treat.

The personality of moms encapsulated in a baked treat.

 

It’s been an unbelievable 11 years now since my Mom passed away. I still think about her nearly every day, too.

I’m sure all daughters brag about their mother being incredibly kind, thoughtful and gracious. But mine definitely was.

Still, there were moments that she offered up an opinion that I could have done without at the time, but now leaves me in stitches in hindsight.

When I was a teenager, I once came slinking into the kitchen, feeling thoroughly self-conscious after looking in the mirror that morning, only to have my Mom proclaim loudly, “You know you have a big pimple THERE.” Uh, yes, I do know, Mom. Thanks A LOT, A WHOLE LOT.

There was the time in my 20s when I came home for a visit, and the first thing my Mom said was, “Those pants make you look fat.” Oh, great.

And of course there was the long ago time that I brought a boyfriend over for her to meet, whom I thought she would adore, only to have her tell me afterward, “I don’t like him. He doesn’t put you first.” But Mom, you just don’t know him well enough yet

She may have been blunt, as only an Asian mom can be. But darned if she wasn’t right in every one of those cases — and so many more.

If she were still here this Mother’s Day, I would bake her these “Cranberry Roly Poly” treats. Because she always loved to see the joy I got from cooking and baking. Because cranberries offer up both sweetness and tartness. Because every mother-daughter relationship has moments of both those extremes. And because if you’re lucky, as I was, they will balance each other out in the end, leaving you both with an honest and respectful love.

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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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