Category Archives: Fruit

Plumb Good Plum Cake

Summer was made for plum-filled cake.
Summer was made for plum-filled cake.

When Zoë Francois singles out a particular recipe as being her favorite in her new cookbook, you’d be a fool not to make that one first.

Her “Plum Cake” from “Zoë Bakes Cakes: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Favorite Layers, Bundts, Loaves, and More” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, easily merits that adoration.

Francois, who studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and worked as a pastry chef at several Minneapolis-St. Paul restaurants, is also the creator of the wildly popular web site, ZoëBakes.

The cookbook is a must for anyone who loves baking cakes. Many of the recipes are unfussy enough for any home-cook to bake, such as “Lemon-Curd Pound Cake,” “Banana Cream Cake,” and “Olive-Oil Chiffon Cake.” For those who want to take things to the next level, Francois also includes detailed advice on working with fondant and piping bags, along with more ambitious recipes for “Blackberry Diva Cake” and a DIY “Wedding Cake.”

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Cool Off With Honeydew Salad with Peanuts and Lime

Honeydew melon goes savory.
Honeydew melon goes savory.

When summer heat is at its full force, few things satisfy more than sinking your teeth into a wedge of sweet, ice-cold melon.

But give honeydew an unexpected savory spin to enjoy a thoroughly head-turning and palate-popping experience.

“Honeydew Salad with Peanuts and Lime” definitely surprises and satisfies as a side or starter on a balmy day.

It’s from “The Complete Salad Cookbook: A Fresh Guide to 200+ Vibrant Dishes Using Greens, Vegetables, Grains, Proteins, and More” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.

It showcases more than 200 recipes for salads that will take you through summer and beyond, including “Southwest Beef Salad with Cornbread Croutons,” “Roasted Grape and Cauliflower Salad with Chermoula,” “Shaved Salad with Pan-Seared Scallops” and “Cherry and Goat Cheese Couscous Salad.”

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Cool Off With Pineapple, Thyme, and Coconut Water Whip

Hot weather was made for icy, fruity drinks like this one.
Hot weather was made for icy, fruity drinks like this one.

When temperatures soar, you definitely want to “Eat Cool: Good Food for Hot Days: 100 Easy, Satisfying, and Refreshing Recipes that Won’t Heat Up Your Kitchen.”

That’s the apropos title of this cookbook (Rizzoli), of which I received a review copy, that couldn’t have debuted at a more opportune time, given that the first day of summer starts this Sunday, and we’re already in a full-blown heatwave.

The book is by Maine-based Vanessa Seder, former associate food editor for Ladies Home Journal and a culinary instructor at Stonewall Kitchen.

It includes 100 recipes to beat the heat. They’re designed to nourish and refresh without requiring hours at a hot stove. Among them are “Chilled Corn and Lobster Soup,” “Pan-Seared Pork Sandwich With Spicy Papaya Slaw and Spicy Pepper Jelly on Sourdough,” “Coconut Milk, Turmeric, Ginger, and Black Pepper-Poached Cod With Israeli Couscous,” and “Red Grapefruit-Rose Sorbet.”

I couldn’t resist trying my hand — and blender — at “Pineapple, Thyme, and Coconut Water Whip.”

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Kid-Friendly Dino Bars

Dino Bar's mango, pear, and banana snack bar that's coated with edible paper for neatness.
Dino Bar’s mango, pear, and banana snack bar that’s coated with edible paper for neatness.

When Jessica and Ian Saultz realized their son Liam couldn’t tolerate refined sugar, they set out to do something about that.

The result was Dino Bars, a kid-friendly, convenient snack bar that’s made with USDA-certified organic ingredients, and free of nuts, gluten, soy, and dairy. They’re also wrapped in edible paper made of potato starch, so kiddos won’t get their hands sticky, either.

Launched last year in Charleston, SC, Dino Bars are made with pear juice, banana flakes, oats, coconut oil, hemp hearts and organic fruit powders.

They come in three flavors: Strawberry, Blueberry, and Mango. Special limited-edition flavors get released periodically, too.

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Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce

Pistachios and prunes make up the filling and the sauce for this simple pork tenderloin roll.
Pistachios and prunes make up the filling and the sauce for this simple pork tenderloin roll.

This is one of those dishes that looks like you slaved over yet is really as simple as it gets.

“Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce” may have only seven ingredients, but it delivers on flavor and presence so much that it’s definitely worthy of being served to company.

This recipe is from the new “Tuscan Women Cook: Nonnas. Memories. Recipes.” (self-published), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Coleen Kirnan with Rhonda Vilardo, who run the aforementioned Tuscan Women Cook, a culinary immersion program in Italy, in which students learn authentic, time-honored dishes during hands-on, week-long classes.

The recipes in the book are inspired by the family recipes and culture of the Val d’Orsia region of Tuscany, just south of Siena.

Recipes such as “Zuppa di Stracci” (“Stracciatella Soup”), “Ravioli di Ricotta ed Erbe Aromatiche” (“Ravioli with Ricotta and Herbs”), and “Melanzane alla Parmigiana” (a lighter version of “Eggplant Parmesan” that forgoes breading and frying) are sure to appeal to any Italian food lover.

“Filetto di Maiale con Prugne e Pistachio” or “Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce” makes use of a mix of pistachios and prunes (yes, dried plums) in two ways.

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