Category Archives: Fruit

What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 9

These non-alcoholic grape juices drink like fine wines -- without the buzz. Featured in the glass is the new Castello di Amorosa Gewurtztraminer Grape Juice.
These non-alcoholic grape juices drink like fine wines — without the buzz. Featured in the glass is the new Castello di Amorosa Gewurtztraminer Grape Juice.

Castello di Amorosa Non-Alcoholic Grape Juices

Maybe it’s because so many of us took to imbibing more during our cloistered time at home in the pandemic, but now in the aftermath, there’s been a definite uptick in the thirst for non-alcoholic alternatives.

Which makes Castello di Amorosa’s debut of three new non-alcoholic grape juices all the more timely and on trend now.

The winery may be better known for its wines, as well as its dramatic winery that’s modeled after a 13th century Tuscan castle. But these grape juices will surely add even more luster. That’s how good they are, as I found when I was sent samples recently to try.

Aside from their screw caps, these are nothing like the grape juices found on the shelves of your local supermarket. They come in three varieties: Muscat Canelli Grape Juice, Sparkling Grape Juice Red Blend, and Gewurztraminer Grape Juice. They are packaged in 750ml bottles and are made from the same fine varietals, meaning they each taste markedly different from one another and are not just saccharine-sweet, but boast the sophistication and complexity of actual premium wines. To be sure, these grape juices are definitely as sweet as soda or even dessert wines, so they’re made for sipping, not gulping.

The grape juices are made much like the wines, with the grapes hand-harvested, then pressed, with the resulting juice chilled to 32 degrees. The only difference is that no yeast is added to convert the grape sugars to alcohol.

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Baked Goods With A Twist, Part II: A Lemon Cake To Be Reckoned With

A simple, lemon-scented cake. But it's the topping where things get interesting.
A simple, lemon-scented cake. But it’s the topping where things get interesting.

I’ve baked many a cake with Meyer lemons and Eureka lemons.

But never with preserved lemons.

Yes, the salted ones typically used in savory Moroccan dishes.

That is, until I spotted this recipe for “Preserved Lemon Sheet Cake” in the new cookbook, “Time to Eat: Delicious Meals for Busy Lives” (Clarkson Potter).

It’s by Nadiya Hussain, the 2015 winner of “The Great British Baking Show” and star of Netflix’s “Nadiya Bakes.” The collection of recipes is ideal for busy families like her own. The breezy recipes include everything from “Peanut Butter and Jelly Sheetpan Pancake” and “Crustless Spinach Quiche” to “Honey Mustard Chow Mein” and “Pizza Parathas.”

My homemade preserved lemons. A new jar in the making, plus a lemon from a batch made earlier.
My homemade preserved lemons. A new jar in the making, plus a lemon from a batch made earlier.

Let me state at the get-go that this cake might not be everyone’s cup of tea. You have to be willing to take your taste buds on a bit of an adventurous ride.

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Head Over Heels For Upside-Down Clementine Cake

Sliced clementines decorate the top of this upside-down cake so very prettily.
Sliced clementines decorate the top of this upside-down cake so very prettily.

No matter if winter has brought torrential rain, hail, sleet or snow to your doorstep, this simple little golden cake is pure sunshine sure to brighten any day or mood.

“Upside-Down Clementine Cake” is the quintessential one-pan cake — with the bonus of cheery, bright slices of clementines dotting it.

The recipe is from “Petite Patisserie: 180 Easy Recipes for Elegant French Treats” (Rizzoli). Inspired by the treats at neighborhood patisseries, this sweetly designed book is by Christophe Felder, who for 15 years was the pastry chef at the Michelin-starred Hôtel de Crillon in Paris before opening his eponymous pastry school in Alsace; and Camille Lesecq, a former pastry chef of Le Meurice in Paris. Together, the two also operate the patisserie, Les Pâtissiers, in Mutzig, Alsace.

The book starts out with a series of foundational recipes that others build upon. The rest of the book is divided into chapters not by specific dessert categories, as you might imagine, but by the days of the week. Only in the world of Felder and Lesecq, the week has not seven days but eight, with the addition of “Funday” — a concept that I can completely get behind.

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Sponsored Post: Cheese Focaccia with Pazazz

Pecorino focaccia gets even more delicious depth with fresh rosemary and Pazazz apples.
Pecorino focaccia gets even more delicious depth with fresh rosemary and Pazazz apples.

Think of this as a subtle riff on a cheddar apple pie.

Because this focaccia that’s loaded with salty-nutty tasting Pecorino also gets a pretty crowning touch of thinly sliced, sweet apple rings over the top.

This tender, airy Italian bread started out life simply as “Cheese Focaccia.”

But when life gives you a bounty of fresh, crunchy, and juicy Pazazz apples, you want to put them on simply everything.

After all, these delicious apples, a relative of the popular Honeycrisp, are a great source of fiber, too. In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research has joined with Pazazz apples in the fight against cancer. February is National Cancer Awareness Month, the perfect time to double-down on a diet rich in healthful foods such as apples.

Red-skinned with sunshine-yellow striations, the Pazazz is a relative of the Honeycrisp.
Red-skinned with sunshine-yellow striations, the Pazazz is a relative of the Honeycrisp.

You can do your part even further by uploading your photo to the Pazazz superhero filter here, and Pazazz will donate $1 to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Or simply text PAZ to 797979 to generate the $1 donation, too.

Find Pazazz apples now through summer at local Safeway stores. Then, get ready to bake a big pan of this focaccia.

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Cranberry-Pomegranate Mousse Pie For the Holidays

The perfect ending to Thanksgiving.
The perfect ending to Thanksgiving.

Dessert Person.

That’s the name of the new cookbook by Claire Saffitz, a New York-based pastry chef and former Bon Appetit test kitchen on-air personality.

It’s also how I would very much define myself.

Yes, I am one of those people, the kind who wholeheartedly doesn’t think a meal is complete without dessert — even if 20 savory courses preceded it. So, even after a mega feast like on Thanksgiving, I always look forward most to the sweet finale.

“Cranberry-Pomegranate Mousse Pie” is worth that wait, too.

As Saffitz acknowledges in her “Dessert Person: Recipes and Guidance for Baking with Confidence” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy, after a groaning holiday meal, you don’t necessarily want something especially heavy at the end. Nope, now that is not the time for bread pudding or cheesecake. What you want is something a little lighter, a little brighter, yet still pleasingly indulgent.

This pie is all that.

This recipe includes the best tip for making a graham cracker crust, too.
This recipe includes the best tip for making a graham cracker crust, too.

It’s one of the more than 100 exceptionally detailed recipes in the cookbook, which are imminently doable, and beyond tempting.

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