Category Archives: Fruit

Going Bananas For Banana Polenta Upside Down Cake

Move over, banana bread. Make way for banana upside down cake.

Move over, banana bread. Make way for banana upside down cake.

 

There’s no denying banana bread is so comforting, so nostalgic, and so easy to make.

But I think it’s high-time to branch out of that ol’ banana rut.

It’s time to flip things around. Upside down to be precise.

As in “Banana Polenta Upside Down Cake.”

This delightful recipe is from “Vanilla Table” (Jacqui Small LLP) by Natasha Macaller, a pastry chef and restaurant consultant who splits her time between London, Los Angeles and New Zealand.

As the name implies, this cookbook, of which I received a review copy, showcases vanilla in every recipe, both savory and sweet.

VanillaTable

If you’ve ever accidentally left out vanilla extract from a cookie recipe — ahem, yes, I have so blundered on one occasion — you know exactly how flat tasting it ends up. Vanilla adds an unmistakable lovely, natural sweetness to anything it touches.

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Sacramento — America’s Farm-To-Fork-Capital

Chef Ravin Patel holds cute little mason jars of baby root veggies in edible "soil.''

Chef Ravin Patel holds cute little mason jars of baby root veggies in edible “soil.”

 

When one thinks of California’s top food cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles come to mind immediately.

As for Sacramento? Not nearly so readily.

In fact, a publicist for the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau told me that when arranging a tour recently for an out-of-state food writer, the visiting scribe’s first question was, “Is there an airport there?”

Why, yes, there is. It is the Golden State’s capitol, after all.

Indeed, Sacramento is home to nearly half a million people, as well as 1.5 million acres of farmland. With a year-round growing season, it produces more than 120 different crops that are enjoyed not only locally but abroad.

It grows more sushi rice than any other place. In fact, chances are if you eat any sushi in California, the rice was grown in Sacramento. The city produces 80 percent of the nation’s caviar. The breadth of the bounty includes everything from almonds to Kobe beef to wine grapes.

The fork in Farm-To-Fork.

The fork in Farm-To-Fork.

Even the table was decorated with freshly grown provisions from Sacramento.

Even the table was decorated with freshly grown provisions from Sacramento.

I was reminded of just how crucial Sacramento is to our plates when I attended a special private dinner last week in San Francisco that spotlighted the city’s culinary treasures. It was a Sacramento roadshow, as Executive Chef Oliver Ridgeway of Grange Restaurant & Bar and Chef Ravin Patel, chief culinary officer of Selland Family Restaurants, trekked down from Sacramento to EatWith’s South of Market event space in San Francisco to prepare a multi-course feast for a dozen food journalists and bloggers. All of it featured fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood sourced from Sacramento.

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Introducing a Revolutionary New Product — Coffee Flour

Get to know Coffee Flour, an intriguing new product you're going to be seeing a lot of.

Get to know Coffee Flour, an intriguing new product you’re going to be seeing a lot of.

 

Did you know that for every pound of coffee beans produced, there’s nearly an equal amount of waste created?

Coffee Flour aims to tackle that immense problem. It is the first company to dry and finely mill that pulp waste on a large scale to create a type of flour that has five times the fiber of whole wheat flour and more iron than any other grain.

Surprisingly enough, the resulting flour tastes nothing like coffee, either. Instead, the gluten-free coffee flour tastes heavily of citrus and cherry.

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I Think I Can, I Think I Can (Plus A Food Gal Giveaway)

My former nemesis, now my sweet friend.

My former nemesis, now my sweet friend.

 

For years, I’ve suffered from a malady.

One that I’ve shamefully hidden, glossed over and tried to ignore.

You see, I am a can-o-phobe.

There, I said it.

I am one who has never canned.

Oh sure, I’ve made jam. And I’ve made pickles. But all ones that could be easily stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Petrified that I’d end up killing friends and family (or at least making them deathly ill), I’d never had the nerve to water process the jars to attempt to make them shelf-stable instead.

Until now.

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Strawberry Tabbouleh — It’s A Thing

Tabbouleh -- with strawberries. And you will love it.

Tabbouleh — with strawberries. And you will love it.

Who put strawberries in my tabbouleh?

Food blogger Sara Forte, that’s who.

And I’m grateful that she did.

I love tabbouleh, but I don’t think I would have ever thought to substitute fresh strawberries for the usual tomatoes in it.

The recipe for “Strawberry Tabbouleh” is from her new cookbook, “The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy.

Forte of Southern California is the creator of the beautiful blog, Sprouted Kitchen, which features photos by her husband, Hugh Forte. Her recipes are all about healthful, wholesome and seasonal.

SproutedKitchen

As the name implies, this book spotlights recipes that are typically served in one bowl such as “Pumpkin Pie Steel-Cut Oats,” “Herby Picnic Potato Salad,” and “Seared Scallops in Thai Broth.”

Her “Strawberry Tabbouleh” can be made with the traditional bulgur or quinoa for a gluten-free version.

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