A colorful, crunch-a-licious summer salad with shrimp and — yes — peaches.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of biting into an heirloom peach grown by the Masumoto Family Farm just south of Fresno, you know how life-changing it can be.
And if you’ve ever read any of farmer David Mas Masumoto’s books about farming life, you know how deserving he is of the title, “poet of peaches.”
Now, the family that’s endeavored to grow the consummate peach has written the aptly named cookbook, “The Perfect Peach” (Ten Speed Press), of which I recently received a review copy. Included are stories and recipes by Mas, his wife Marcy, and daughter Nikiko, who has taken over the 80-acre organic farm, which has been owned for four generations.
Of course, a wonderful peach can be enjoyed just out of hand, eaten over the sink as the juice drips down your chin. But the Masumoto family has provided a wealth of recipes that make inventive use of over-ripe, gushy peaches (make a Peach-Rosemary Bellini) and firmer peaches in dishes such as “Peach Day Pickles” and “Shaking Beef with Peaches.” There are plenty of sweet treats, too, including “Peach-Date Bars” and “Blackberry-Peach Bread Pudding.”
For those who know the major sweet tooth that I have, you may be surprised to learn that the recipe I zeroed in on was a savory one. Yes, imagine that! But “Summer Thai Shrimp and Noodle Salad” (With Peaches) sounded like the perfect one-bowl meal to tuck into at this sunny time of year.
Buttermilk ice cream with chunks of peaches and nectarines.
I have done a very dangerous thing.
I have taken the plunge to buy an ice cream machine.
My freezer’s not going to know what hit it.
For years, I contemplated buying an ice cream machine because, well, who doesn’t love ice cream? But each time the temptation hit, I pushed it aside, fearing I’d be making ice cream all the time if it was that convenient. And well, eating ice cream all the time does have its consequences.
But as I started work on my first cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” (Lyons Press), which will publish in November, I realized I would need to test the ice cream recipes from the chefs contributing to the book.
I could no longer say “no” to the Cuisinart ice cream maker that I’d coveted.
I did the deed a couple weeks ago. And I’ve already used the dang thing three times. God, help me.
Chef Dave Cruz will be cooking in Oakland. (Photo courtesy of the chef)
Chef Dave Cruz To Do Pop-Ups in Oakland
You know him as the original chef for Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc restaurant in Yountville. Now, after leaving the Keller fold, Chef Dave Cruz is embarking on a series of pop-up events in Oakland — a prelude to opening his own restaurant some day.
The first dinner, May 18, will feature Chefs Simone Fung and Sebastian Mendieta of S+S Gastropub, cooking with Cruz at their downtown loft on Jackson Street in Oakland. The five-course dinner that night will be reminiscent of the hearty, seasonal meals he did at Ad Hoc. Dishes will include salad of Asian baby greens with slow cooked egg; crisp pork belly and clams; and strawberry shortcake with strawberry sorbet, Tokaiji-macerated strawberries and arlette cookies. Price is $85 per person.
Two seatings are available for the BYOB dinner: 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The exact location of the dinner will be emailed to guests after a reservation is made.
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.
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.
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.