Category Archives: Fruit

Que Syrah Syrah

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

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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Brown Butter Apple Tart with An Emphasis on BUTTER

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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Get Your Mixing Bowls Ready: Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

Moist apple pumpkin muffins crowned with a walnut half.

There are muffins these days that could double as dessert.

You know the ones I mean — the ones we all fall for because they’re covered in irresistible streusel or sugary glaze that we con ourselves into thinking are still perfect breakfast food.

These are not those kinds of muffins.

“Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins” are not overly sweet, especially because I was forced to cut the light brown sugar amount in half when I realized my box was nearly depleted and I was too lazy to run to the store. (Hey, what can I say?) But you can use the full 1/2 cup measure of brown sugar plus 1/2 cup granulated and they’d still be far from sugar bombs.

Pinata apples from Washington State.

The recipe is from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” (W.W. Norton & Company) by Amy Traverso. The book, of which I received a review copy, has become my go-to source for apple recipes, what with its range from savory apple uses (“Duck Panzanella with Apples and Thyme” to sweet ones (“Rustic Apple Brown Betty”).

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A Load of Lemons, Part II: Northern Greek Braised Pork and Leeks

A velvety sauce enriched with egg and lemon juice makes this pork stew irresistible.

Although I’ve traveled through parts of Europe, I’ve yet to make it to Greece.

(Cue melancholy violin music now.)

Yes, the white-washed buildings and mesmerizing blue sea there have yet to be explored.

Until I finally do journey there, I have to content myself with getting my fill of Greek food at Bay Area restaurants. Or by making it, myself.

Thankfully, Diane Kochilas’ new cookbook, “The Country Cooking of Greece” (Chronicle Books), makes that part easy. The cookbook, of which I received a review copy, is the latest by Kochilas, who has written 18 other books specializing in Greek cuisine.

The 200 recipes spotlight Greek country cooking, full of nutritious greens, whole grains and the bounty of the Mediterranean Sea.

“Northern Greek Braised Pork and Leeks” is a classic dish made all over northern Greece that’s a favorite Sunday repast.

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