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Maui Part II: The Island’s Bountiful Agriculture and Aquaculture

Friday, 26. April 2013 5:27

Snails -- being raised for escargot and other gourmet dishes -- on an urban Maui farm.

Snails — being raised for escargot and other gourmet dishes — on an urban Maui farm.

Napili FLO Farm

If former massage therapist Monica Bogar has her way, Maui restaurants will some day spotlight organic snails on their menus.

After all, there’s already a waiting list of restaurants eager for the mollusks she is growing aquaponically in ingenious systems devised by her and her Uncle Tony. I had a chance to visit their homestead on the west side of the island, during my trip to Maui, courtesy of the tourism and conventioner’s bureau.

An urban farmer for the past 12 years, Bogar started her Napili FLO Farm a year ago. She now sells her microgreens, edible flowers and watercress to Maui restaurants such as Star Noodle, Hula Grill, and Pineapple Grill, the latter where Isaac Bancaco is chef and a huge supporter of hers.

Monica Bogar and Chef Isaac Bancaco inspect one of Bogar's aquaponics systems.

Monica Bogar and Chef Isaac Bancaco inspect one of Bogar’s aquaponics systems.

Pick you way through Uncle Tony’s backyard to find a miraculous series of tanks — built from scavenged items, including styrofoam boxes, old fish tanks and a grandson’s former wash tub. “We are aquaponics dumpster-divers,” Bogar says proudly with a chuckle.

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Category:Chefs, Enticing Events, Fruit, General, Going Green and Sustainable, Restaurants, Travel Adventures | Comments (9) | Author:

Sunsweet Gets Into the Baking Business

Friday, 5. April 2013 5:25

Purple Country Bread from the new line of baked goods from Sunsweet.

Purple Country Bread from the new line of baked goods from Sunsweet.

 

Sunsweet Growers, Inc., whom you know for its dried fruit, is getting into the baking business with its new line of breads, cookies and pastries — all made with dried plums (otherwise known by their less fashionable moniker: prunes).

The products tout the healthfulness of prunes, which are higher in antioxidants and fiber, and lower in sugar, than raisins and dried cranberries.

What sets the baked goods apart, too, is their color. They’re made with purple wheat and purple corn, giving them eye-catching swirls of vividness.

Recently, I had a chance to sample the products, which are available at Costco in Southern California, and which will make their way to Northern California Costco locations in the near future.

The Sunsweet Bakery products retail for about $4.99.

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Category:Bakeries, Fruit, General, New Products | Comments (2) | Author:

Que Syrah Syrah

Thursday, 14. March 2013 5:25

A glass of Syrah pairs with duck-Syrah ragu over Syrah-flour pasta.

A glass of Syrah pairs with duck-Syrah ragu over Syrah-flour pasta.

That’s what you’ll be humming, when you dig into this lusty pasta dish.

Because there’s wine, wine, everywhere in it.

There’s Syrah in the meaty duck ragu that tops it. There’s even Syrah flour in the pasta dough for the homemade fettuccini. And of course, a glass of — what else — Syrah to sip alongside it all.

I was inspired to cook “Venetian Duck Ragu” with “Syrah Fettuccini” when I received samples of the new WholeVine products from Santa Rosa.

Company founders Barbara Banke and Peggy Furth started their line of grapeseed flours, grape skin flours and grape seed oils — all gluten-free — as a way to make greater use of what vineyards provide. They’ve also added a line of four different gluten-free cookies ($6.99 for eight of them), as well as a line of eight different wheat crackers ($6.99 for 12), all made with their flours.

Syrah skin flour.

Syrah skin flour.

Moreover, they donate a portion of profits to charitable organizations that help children in need.

The varietal grape skin and seed flours ($6.50 per 1/2-pound bag) are made from Chardonnay, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Syrah and Zinfandel grapes grown in certified sustainable California coastal vineyards.

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Category:Fruit, General, New Products, Recipes (Savory), Wine | Comments (11) | Author:

Pretty in Pink for Valentine’s Day: Cranberry-Creme Fraiche Bundt Cake

Tuesday, 5. February 2013 5:25

Who wouldn't want to enjoy this beauty on Valentine's Day?

Just gaze at this vision in pink.

If ever there was a cake made for Valentine’s Day, “Cranberry-Creme Fraiche Bundt Cake” is it.

If you’re like me, you know to hoard a few extra bags of cranberries in your freezer even after the winter holidays. If not, you can easily buy them in the freezer section of most grocery stores.

They’re the key to making this girly frosting. And they provide a hidden filling of bright, sweet-tangy berries in the middle of this cake.

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Category:Fruit, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (12) | Author:

Brown Butter Apple Tart with An Emphasis on BUTTER

Wednesday, 30. January 2013 5:25

The apples are a supporting player in this tart. It's the butter that's the star.

Pretty rounds of apples arrayed all over the top of this tart catch your eye first.

So much so, you’d think they’d be the star of this dessert.

But that’s not the case.

The real hero of this tart is butter.

Browned until it’s nutty and oh-so fragrant.

I’m almost afraid to tell you how much butter there is. I know my family members almost fell over when I told them as I served them slices.

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Category:Fruit, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (8) | Author: