Category Archives: Fruit

Smile For Grapefruit Custard Pie

A sunny pie with a bitter edge.

A sunny pie with a bitter edge.

Grapefruit was one thing I didn’t grow up eating.

Sure, our house was filled in the winter with the scent of fresh oranges, lemons and tangerines.

But grapefruit was noticeably absent.

Its powerful bitter edge is not something kids naturally gravitate to.

It took becoming an adult for me to appreciate its singular gifts.

After all, bitterness has a pleasing way of balancing out sweet, and adding a sophisticated character.

That’s especially true in “Grapefruit Custard Pie.” This sunny recipe is from “Sweet and Tart” (Chronicle Books) by food writer Carla Snyder, of which I received a review copy.

SweetandTartbook

The book includes 70 recipes spotlighting citrus in both sweet and savory preparations, such as “Key Lime Bars with Tropical Nut Crust” and “Lemony Pesto-Goat Cheese Dip with Vegetables.”

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Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s Kumquats Simmered in Sake

Plump, juicy kumquats simmered in sake, sugar and shiso make a divine topper for so many things.

Plump, juicy kumquats simmered in sake, sugar and shiso make a divine topper for so many things.

 

Anything simmered in sake sounds pretty good to me.

Make it cute little kumquats, and I’m sold.

“Kumquats Simmered in Sake” is from the new cookbook, “Preserving the Japanese Way” (Andrews McMeel) by Nancy Singleton Hachisu, of which I received a review copy.

Singleton Hachisu is a native Californian who moved to Japan after falling in love with a Japanese farmer. Ever since, she’s dedicated herself to learning, documenting and teaching the ways of farm food life in Japan.

It’s a cookbook that will leave you with newfound appreciation for the art of preserving — salting, pickling and fermenting the Japanese way. You’ll learn how soy sauce is made, as well as her favored brands; and how to make your own miso, kimchee, tofu and soy milk.

Preserving the Japanese Way

There are inspired recipes such as “Cucumbers Soused in Soy,” “Green Beans Cloaked in Miso,” and “Sake Lees Ice Cream with Figs.”

I snagged kumquats at my local Japanese market for this easy recipe, as well as the shiso leaves and sake that was needed. In fact, I bought so many kumquats that I ended up making a double-batch of this recipe.

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Rosemary Pear Pie (And It’s Gluten-Free)

Poached pears worthy of your holiday table.

Poached pears worthy of your holiday table.

 

A friend of mine once rolled her eyes at her then-boyfriend for ordering poached pears for dessert at a restaurant.

In her mind, she couldn’t fathom why one would waste perfectly good dessert calories on simple, cooked pears, of all things.

I can see her point. After all, if you’re going to venture out to a white-tablecloth restaurant for dinner, you want to live it up. You want to eat with abandon, and finish it off with decadence. You want chocolate. You want butter. You want fluffs of cream, ganache and mousse — preferably in a take-your-breath-away form.

Pears don’t immediately muster that kind of response.

But transfer them to the finale of a comforting, home-cooked dinner, and I think even my friend would have a hard time passing them up.

Juicy, sweet, wine-y pears fanned out across a rustic tart that’s put out in the center of the table is just the type of dessert made for entertaining at home.

That’s what you’ll get with “Rosemary Pear Pie” from the new cookbook, “Home Baked” (Abrams), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Yvette Van Boven, a food stylist and recipe writer in Amsterdam.

Home Baked Book

The book is filled with more than 150 recipes for sweet and savory goodies such as “Poppy Seed Popovers,” “Verbena Cake with Fresh Fruit & Verbena Gin Syrup,” and “My Favorite Chili with A Thousand Beans, Chorizo, Chocolate, and Corn Bread.”

One glance at this pear pie in the book and I was enthralled. Who wouldn’t be with the pears arranged just so prettily atop a simple, smooth, custardy filling?

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Bryan Voltaggio’s Baked Applesauce

The beginnings of this applesauce.

The beginnings of this applesauce.

 

The applesauce of my youth was light and bright, the taste of sunshine in the park.

This applesauce, in contrast, is like autumn by a crackling fire.

“Baked Applesauce” is by Bryan Voltaggio, chef-owner of Volt, Lunchbox, Family Meal, Range , and Aggio restaurants in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virgina.

You probably also remember him as a finalist on “Top Chef” Season 6, my personal favorite season of the show because of the outstanding caliber of its contestants that year. Voltaggio lost to his brother Michael, who owns MVink in Los Angeles.

The recipe is from Bryan’s first cookbook, “Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends” (Little, Brown and Company), of which I received a review copy.

BryanVoltaggioBook

As the name implies, these 100 recipes are the ones he makes in his family kitchen.

Sure, a few recipes do call for a whipped cream canister or xanthum gum, items not necessarily found in your everyday home kitchen. But in general, these are recipes that are not geared for a brigade of cooks or fancy equipment. In short, they are accessible with familiar flavors and a sense of fun and comfort.

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When Life Gives You Too Many Bananas, Make Bananamon

Bananas and cookies make this ice cream old-fashioned delicious.

Bananas and cookies make this ice cream old-fashioned delicious.

 

Bananamon?

That’s bananas plus cinnamon in a wonderfully homey ice cream.

With crumbled Nilla Wafers for added enticement.

It’s a creation from Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn.

I received a review copy of its “Ample Hills Creamery: Secrets and Stories from Brooklyn’s Favorite Ice Cream Shop” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; 2014) cookbook last year. Ice cream shop owners Brian Smith, a screenwriter, and Jackie Cuscuna, an alternative high school teacher, opened their first shop in 2011, followed by a second one in 2014. The shops’ name was inspired by a poem by Walt Whitman, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.”

AmpleHillsBook

The cookbook is full of fun and inventive ice cream flavors to make including, “The Munchies” (pretzel ice cream with mix-ins of Ritz crackers, mini pretzels, potato chips and M&Ms), “Cotton Candy” (made with cotton candy flavor extract and blue food coloring), and “Sunday Brunch” (maple cinnamon ice cream with baked french toast spooned into it).

With the recent heat wave, I couldn’t help but have ice cream on my mind. “Bananamon” appealed because of its nostalgic bent. A milky, creamy spoonful that tastes of vanilla, cinnamon, banana and old-time cookies — what’s not to like, right?

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