Category Archives: Fruit

August Means Ricotta and Olive Oil Muffins with Figs

Moist and fluffy from ricotta and olive oil, these incredible muffins get crowned with a honey-drizzled fig half.
Moist and fluffy from ricotta and olive oil, these incredible muffins get crowned with a honey-drizzled fig half.

If you’re blessed with your own backyard fig tree, you never have this problem.

But for those of us who are left with buying fresh figs at the market or through grocery delivery services these days, figs can be a bit confounding. You want them squishy-ripe so they’re at their sweetest — yet that’s also when they’re prone to go moldy in a flash. If you happen to find yourself with ones that are not soft at all, you wait with bated breath, checking them each day, in hopes that they will finally yield to the push of a fingertip.

But you realize soon enough that’s all in vain because figs actually don’t ripen much once they are picked. And if they are picked too early, forget about it.

However, less than ideal figs can be salvaged by baking or roasting them. Their natural sugars, no matter how modest, will exude and caramelize in the heat of an oven, rendering them enjoyable after all.

That’s what prompted me to bake a batch of “Ricotta and Olive Oil Muffins with Figs.”

This wonderful recipe more than rescued my less-than-perfect figs. It’s from the cookbook, “365: A Year of Everyday Cooking and Baking” (Prestel, 2019) by James Beard Award-winning Meike Peters, a food writer who splits her time between Berlin and Malta.

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Going Goaty, Part I: Strawberry Buttermilk (Or Kefir) Tart

I swapped out raspberries for strawberries, and buttermilk for goat's milk kefir, to make this summery tart.
I swapped out raspberries for strawberries, and buttermilk for goat’s milk kefir, to make this summery tart.

2020 may very well be most remembered for the pandemic, but perhaps also for the Year of the Goat.

Maybe it was the early run on traditional baking and dairy supplies in March and April. Or maybe it’s the fact that with nowhere to go, people branched out in their tastes, longing for a taste of something new to combat the doldrums.

Whatever the case, the country’s two leading goat dairies are reporting a rise in sales. In fact, Meyenberg, the top producer of goat milk that sources from more than two dozen West Coast Dairies, saw its goat butter sales spike by 50 percent from last year. Its sales powdered goat milk also grew by 67 percent this year. Sonoma County’s Redwood Hill Farm also saw increases in sales of its goat yogurt and kefir.

Redwood Hill Farms goat milk kefir and yogurt.
Redwood Hill Farms goat milk kefir and yogurt.

I readily jumped on the goat milk bandwagon when Meyenberg and Redwood Hill Farms sent me some product samples to try.

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Summery Creamy Corn Pasta & A Discount Code For A Great Farm Box Delivery

Fresh corn is used two ways in this delicious pasta dish.
Fresh corn is used two ways in this delicious pasta dish.

A tangle of pasta. Dolloped with fresh corn kernels, basil leaves, and soft cheese. All lavished with a naturally sweet corn sauce that’s creamy yet not heavy in the least.

If that dish doesn’t say summer, what does?

And if that doesn’t get your mouth watering, what will?

When the folks behind the Bay Area’s Farm Box company delivered one of their stellar produce boxes over the weekend, it’s no surprise that’s the dish I was inspired to make first.

What this coming weekend's Farm Box contains.
What this coming weekend’s Farm Box contains.

Farm Box is a weekly curated farmers market box that customers can get delivered to their door or pick up at the Ferry Plaza farmers market on Saturdays or the Menlo Park farmers market on Sundays. The company was co-founded by Andreas Winsberg, son of David Winsberg, who owns Happy Quail Farms in East Palo Alto, a premier grower of peppers, including the beloved pimentos de Padron.

Each week, Andreas and his team put together a different Farm Box, made up of peak-produce from small local farmers who sell regularly at the Ferry Building and Menlo Park farmers markets.

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A Peachy Keen Peach Tart

A lovely peach tart that's a cinch to make.
A lovely peach tart that’s a cinch to make.

With its fanciful spiral of glossy, syrupy, tender fruit, this peach tart looks impressive yet is fairly effortless to make.

In fact, it’s so easy that it’s ideal to bake on a whim, for those times when unexpected company shows up at your house.

You know, in those good ol’ days, pre-pandemic.

Sigh.

Until life gets back to normal, though, you definitely deserve this wonderful “Peach Tart.” Just because it’s prime peach season. Just because it’s been an unfathomable year. Just because you can.

The recipe is from Food52 Baking: 60 Sensational Treats You Can Pull Off in a Snap” (Ten Speed Press, 2015).

You don’t even need a mixer to whip it up — just a couple bowls, a fork, a spoon, and your own elbow grease.

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Sigona’s Launches Home Delivery Produce Boxes

The mango and nectarine in my Sigona's Home Delivery produce box inspired me to make this.
The mango and nectarine in my Sigona’s Home Delivery produce box inspired me to make this.

Everyone’s favorite family-owned fresh produce market on the Peninsula has started offering home delivery of its stellar fruits and veggies.

It’s a new service by Sigona, spurred by the decline of its office delivery program due to shelter-in-place.

Sigona’s Farmers Market has brick-and-mortar locations in Redwood City and the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, which offer more extensive offerings through curbside pick-up or Instacart delivery.

But the separate Sigona’s Home Deliveries sure is convenient if you happen to live within its delivery zone. That encompasses: Millbrae, Hillsborough, Burlingame, San Mateo, Foster City, Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood Shores, Emerald Hills, Redwood City, Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Cupertino.

The home delivery boxes range in size, suited to feeding anywhere from 1 to 4 people. Choose boxes that highlight fruits only, veggies only, berries only, dried fruits and nuts, or a combination of fruits and veggies. You can even add on a seasonal berry pie ($17.99) from Pietisserie, Upper Crust Bakery or Gizdich Ranch.

Test driving the new Sigona Home Delivery Fruit & Veggie Box.
Test driving the new Sigona Home Delivery Fruit & Veggie Box.
The contents of last week's box.
The contents of last week’s box.

Delivery is free for orders over $75; for orders under $75, there is a delivery fee of $3. Deliveries are made on Wednesdays and Fridays, and orders must be finalized three days ahead of time.

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