Category Archives: Fruit

Spoil Yourself — Or Someone Else — With Cherry Almond Bundt Cake

Chopped fresh cherries hide inside this Bundt cake.
Chopped fresh cherries hide inside this Bundt cake.

As a kid at this time of year, I fondly remember pulling open the fridge door to snatch a big handful of fresh cherries waiting and ready in a colander in all their crunchy, ice-cold sweetness.

Whether because my family lacked a pitter in our tiny kitchen or didn’t yet know about the drinking straw or paper clip method to pop out the pits, I never baked with them back then. I just happily ate them out of hand, picking up each one by the stem to plop into my mouth with gusto.

As a proud pitter owner now, though, I revel in staining my fingers fuchsia as I methodically dislodge one pit after the other until amassing enough to bake in something special.

Something exactly like this moist, rich tasting “Cherry Almond Bundt.”

This cake, full of 1 1/2 heaping cups of — ahem — pitted and chopped cherries, is from the new cookbook, “Around Our Table” (Hardie Grant), of which I received a review copy.

Version 1.0.0

It was written by James Beard Award-nominated cookbook author Sara Forte, who lives with her husband and two kids in Southern California.

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Confetti — A Different Type of Crunchy Snack

Confetti Snacks' newest product is crunchy Mandarin Oranges.
Confetti Snacks’ newest product is crunchy Mandarin Oranges.

If you told me that one day I’d be noshing on whole shiitake mushrooms like they were potato chips, I’d have called you totally bonkers.

Yet, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing with Confetti Snacks Black Truffle Mushroom Chips, which are baked low and slow, then seasoned with spices to create a crunchy, umami bomb that’s pretty darn addictive.

Singaporean entrepreneur Betty Lu came up with her line of Confetti Snacks to fuel herself on backpacking trips. Best yet, she hit on the idea to use upcycled produce, the misshapen fruits and veggies that often don’t get sold and end up going to waste.

Last month, the company even won the Pitch Competition at the SNAC International’s SNX 2024 snack food industry trade show.

Confetti's Black Truffle Mushroom Chips.
Confetti’s Black Truffle Mushroom Chips.

I had a chance to try a few samples of Confetti Snacks. Made with minimal ingredients — just vegetables, seasonings, bran oil, maltose, and sea salt — they are crisp and airy, almost like dehydrated vegetables.

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A Visit to the New Il Mercato de Che Fico

La Mortazza fociaccia sandwich, sold by the pound, at Il Mercato de Che Fico.
La Mortazza fociaccia sandwich, sold by the pound, at Il Mercato de Che Fico.

If you’re a fan of the food at Che Fico in Menlo Park and San Francisco, you’ll be glad to know you can now easily tote some of those same specialty Italian dishes home to enjoy.

That’s thanks to the new Il Mercato de Che Fico by owners Chef David Nayfeld and Matt Brewer, that opened last month across the way from Che Fico Parco in Menlo Park’s Springline mixed-use development.

Chef Chris Timm, who oversees the market, was kind enough to show me around and let me sample some of the goods on a recent afternoon.

Chef Chris Timm.
Chef Chris Timm.
The entrance on El Camino Real.
The entrance on El Camino Real.

The gourmet market’s entrance is right on El Camino Real, so it’s easy to access, especially if you snag street parking or opt for the development’s underground garage that’s patrolled by a robot sentry no less.

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Sponsored Post: Happiness Is Cider Braised Pazazz Apples With Coconut “Bacon,” and Garlic

Pazazz apples go savory in this delightful wintry side dish.
Pazazz apples go savory in this delightful wintry side dish.

When I say, “apple,” you say…”pie”?

Chances are you automatically do.

Any way you slice it, there’s nothing wrong with sweet apple pie, especially fresh-baked and still warm. But let’s not forget that apples are also sensational starring in savory fare.

Case in point: “Cider Braised Apples with Coconut ‘Bacon,’ and Garlic,” a fabulous accompaniment to roast chicken, Cornish game hens, turkey, pork loin, sausages, duck or even grilled firm tofu planks.

February is the perfect time to tuck into it, too, since it’s National Cancer Prevention Month. I’m proud to partner with the American Institute for Cancer Research and Pazazz Apples to help spread the word about how apples are high in fiber and antioxidants that can help reduce the risks of some cancers. To learn more about how nutritious apples are and to assess how your own lifestyle choices affect your risk of cancer, go to the informative health check here.

What’s more, those antioxidants also fuel neurotransmitters in the brain that trigger the release of dopamine that boosts mood. That makes apples a veritable “happy” fruit.

Yours truly shopping for Pazazz apples at Safeway.
Yours truly shopping for Pazazz apples at Safeway.

And who wouldn’t want more bliss in their lives, right? All it takes is heading to Albertsons, Safeway, or Vons like I did to pick up some Pazazz apples (about $2.99 per pound), now at peak flavor through June.

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Refresh and Reset with Sicilian Orange Semolina Cake

Your happy cake.
Your happy cake.

If you’ve ever been guilty of procrastibaking, raise your hand.

Uh, yes, that would be me, multiple times when I’ve pushed aside writing deadlines for a few hours because I just felt the urge to bake a batch of cookies.

And if you’ve ever stressed baked, raise your other hand,

Yes, me again, both arms up, as I’ve been guilty of sliding a Bundt cake or pan of brownies into the oven when everything else has seemed too overwhelming.

Jack Hazan knows those times all too well. After all, he’s an actual New York City psychotherapist and founder of Modern Therapy Group, who also happens to be the chief baking officer of JackBakes, a baked goods company whose breads are now carried in more than 5– online and brick-and-mortar stores.

He’s also the author of “Mind Over Batter” (Chronicle Books, 2022), of which I received a review copy. It’s a novel self-care cookbook that touts baking as therapy.

Let’s face it, as merry and fun as the holidays are, they can also raise the roof on anxiety as we all try to be everything to everyone and feel obligated to accept every invitation that comes our way.

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