Category Archives: Fruit

Fall for An Apple Pumpkin Galette and a Food Gal Giveaway

A taste of autumn with apples and pumpkin.

A taste of autumn with apples and pumpkin.


I admit I do mourn the end of summer’s sweet berries and peaches.

But the start of fall is definitely easier to swallow with a bounty of fresh apples to bake with.

“Apple Pumpkin Galette” caught my attention because of the addition of the autumn hard squash in it. The recipe is from the new “Sunset Cook Taste Savor” (Oxmoor House) of which I received a review copy.

The cookbook spotlights recipes for 16 ingredients including artichokes, avocados, chicken, cheese and apples.


The straightforward dough recipe for the galette makes enough for two of these free-form tarts, but you can just freeze half the batch to use at another time.

The dough is rolled out into a circle. You fill the center with slices of apples and pumpkin — or kabocha squash, as I used as recommended by the cookbook — that have been tossed with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, a dash of bourbon and sugar. Then, fold the edges of the dough over, before baking.

With Sunset’s meticulous testing, I was taken aback by the amount of sugar called for in the filling, which seemed like way too much. The recipe originally called for 1/3 cup brown sugar plus 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar for three apples and 1 1/2 pounds of squash (about half of a small pumpkin or kabocha). So, I decided to cut the amount of granulated sugar back to 3/4 cup, which turned out to be plenty. But feel free to add more if you have a big sweet tooth.

The pastry bakes up flaky with a hearty filling. My husband was not too keen on the addition of the squash. He would have preferred an unadulterated apple tart instead. Me? I kind of liked how the kabocha made this tart unique. It gave it a slightly savory quality and added a twist.

One of fall's earliest apples: the SweeTango.

One of fall’s earliest apples: the SweeTango.

The original recipe calls for Granny Smith apples, but I used SweeTango ones instead, of which I had received a sample. The SweeTango is a cross between a Honeycrisp and a Zestar! apple. It’s got a great crunch and wine-y, spicy flavor.

SweeTango apples are an early season variety. They’re available at Walmart through the end of September, and at Mollie Stone’s and Safeway stores hrough October.

CONTEST: Three lucky Food Gal readers will each win a couple of pounds of SweeTango apples, an apple timer, a cutting board, a T-shirt, and a reusable grocery bag. Entries are limited to those in the continental United States, as well as Alaska and Hawaii. Entries will be accepted through midnight PST Sept. 28. Winners will be announced Sept. 30.

How to win?

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You’ll Never Guess What’s in This Seafood Curry

Calamari and crab star in this curry dish -- along with an unexpected ingredient.

Calamari and crab star in this curry dish — along with an unexpected ingredient.


Yes, watermelon, of all things.

Crisp cubes of it, as well as its own bright pinky-red juice.

“Watermelon and Seafood Curry” is from “Full of Flavor” (Kyle Books), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Chef Maria Elia of Joe’s in London who has a way with unexpected flavor combinations such as with her “Blueberry and Coffee Muffins” and “Jerusalem Artichoke and Chestnut Soup with Chorizo and Apple.”

Of course, with summer watermelon in abundance, it was the curry recipe that really intrigued me. Sure, I’d enjoyed my share of watermelon just eaten out of hand in big cold wedges. And I’d eaten plenty of watermelon salads accented with salty feta or pops of chiles. But in a warm seafood stew? This was a new one.

Summer watermelon used in a unique way.

Summer watermelon used in a unique way.

The base of the broth is watermelon juice that is cooked down on the stovetop to concentrate its flavor. You think it’s going to be way too sweet, but not after you add in ginger, lemongrass, garlic, turmeric, coriander, cumin and chiles, as well as fresh lime juice and fish sauce.

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Fruit to Take Along Anywhere

(Front to back) Tangerine, cantaloupe and Asian pear -- freeze-dried.

(Front to back) Tangerine, cantaloupe and Asian pear — freeze-dried.


That’s exactly what Crispy Green is.

The New Jersey company takes fresh fruit and freeze dries them before packaging them in convenient pouches that you can throw in your purse or backpack or stash in a desk drawer or car glove box.

Crispy Green offers seven different fruits: apple, mango, Asian pears, banana, cantaloupe, pineapple and tangerine.

You have to love an ingredients label that includes only one thing. What’s in the freeze-dried Asian pears? Only Asian pears.

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A Peach of A Salad

A colorful, crunch-a-licious summer salad with shrimp and -- yes -- peaches.

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.

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Musings on Peach-Nectarine Buttermilk Ice Cream

Buttermilk ice cream with chunks of peaches and nectarines.

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.

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