Category Archives: Fruit

Gazpacho — Mexican-Style

Gaspacho -- done as a sweet, tangy, subtly spicy fruit salad instead.
Gaspacho — done as a sweet, tangy, subtly spicy fruit salad instead.

Rick Martinez says his mouth starts to water just thinking about this refreshing dish.

It’s easy to understand why, because his “Gaspacho Moreliano” is the antidote to the torrid heat of summer.

It’s quenching and cooling like Spanish gazpacho, but this Mexican version is far more substantial because it’s not a soup, but a sweet-tangy-spicy-savory fruit salad.

The recipe is from Martinez’s first cookbook, “Mi Cocina” (Penguin Random House), of which I received a review copy.

The host of the YouTube series, “Pruebalo,” and a contributor to Bon Appetit magazine and the New York Times, Martinez, he grew up in a small town outside of Austin, TX, where he was the first child of Mexican heritage to attend that then all-white elementary school.

It was his late mother who inspired his passion for cooking. Even though her own mother and aunties had passed away already, his mom decided to start anew the tradition of making tamales for the holidays, figuring out the exact recipe along the way through trial and error on her own. She hoped the practice would be passed down to her sons. For Martinez, it ignited a deep, unwavering love for his heritage, culture, and family.

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Two Scoops, Please, For Plum Crumble Ice Cream

Summer's juicy plums star in this homemade ice cream.
Summer’s juicy plums star in this homemade ice cream.

I am unabashedly a recovering freezer-space hoarder.

It didn’t take exactly a 12-step program to wean me off stuffing my freezer to the gills with meats, breads, veggies, stocks, cookies, and whatever else I could cram in.

All it took was a lessening of the ravages of the pandemic, and well, the ability to go to the grocery store regularly again (albeit masked up) without feeling as if I might run out of food any dire moment.

As a result, this is the first time in nearly three years that I’ve made my own ice cream at home.

What a triumph!

Because few things are as joyous as homemade ice cream, and in truth, sneaking that first spoonful out of the top of the ice cream canister even as it still spins. Yup, I do that. Not gonna lie.

My homemade ice cream fast was broken in grand style by “Plum Crumble Ice Cream,” a recipe from the new “Great Scoops” (Figure 1), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Marlene Haley and Amelia Ryan of The Merry Dairy, a scoop shop and ice cream truck in Ottawa, Canada. Haley, who grew up on a farm, gave up teaching in 2012 to start the first food truck in that city to specialize in frozen custard.

Because it’s not possible to duplicate the silkiness of frozen custard without a commercial machine, this book concentrates instead on the range of ice creams she also makes.

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Hand Pies — With the Best Peaches In the World

The best peach hand pie made with the best peaches.
The best peach hand pie made with the best peaches.

Once you try your first one, there’s no going back.

I’m talking about Sun Crest peaches, the heritage variety so poetically immortalized in farmer Mas Masumoto’s famed book, “Epitaph for a Peach” (Harper One).

A freestone, yellow peach, it explodes with juice. Not too sweet, not too acidic, but just right, it has a full, well-rounded, harmonious taste . It reminds me of the nostalgically of cling peaches in a can, but way more intense and vibrant, and devoid of any syrup to mask its natural flavor. In short, it is the quintessential peach.

The Masumoto Family Farm in Fresno County lets folks adopt a peach tree, giving them rights to pick to their heart’s delight from their designated one when in season. But it is a commitment, an undertaking, and more peaches, perhaps, than most folks’ can handle at once.

Luckily, I’ve also spotted them at retailers such as Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco. Last week, when I saw a half flat was available (20 peaches for $34.99) via GoodEggs delivery, I jumped at the chance to buy some.

Behold -- the Sun Crest.
Behold — the Sun Crest.

Nothing beats just eating them out of hand over the sink. However, I also wanted to do something a little more grand, too. I found the perfect vehicle in “Peach Hand Pies,” a recipe by the gifted Southern baker Cheryl Day of Savannah’s Back in the Day Bakery.

The recipe is included in “Black Food’ (Penguin Random House, 2021), of which I received a review copy, that was edited by James Beard Award-winning chef and educator, Bryant Terry, who is the chef-in-residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.

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Shake Your Groovies Thang

Turn-Up The Heat plant-based snack made of sorghum, flavored with beets and paprika -- and made for kids.
Turn-Up The Heat plant-based snack made of sorghum, flavored with beets and paprika — and made for kids.

Mom and entrepreneur, Saskia Sorrosa, may have not enticed any sharks to bite when she appeared on TV’s “Shark Tank” in 2019.

But she’s sure shown them now, raising more than $4 million and getting her Fresh Bellies into 4,000 stores nationwide.

Her New York company makes plant-based, allergen-friendly snack foods, especially geared to toddlers, pre-schoolers, and beyond.

The daughter of a banana farmer and agricultural entrepreneur in Ecuador, she wanted to create crunchy snacks with the type of bold flavors she grew up on.

Fresh Bellies' line of plant-based, gluten-free snacks.
Fresh Bellies’ line of plant-based, gluten-free snacks.

Her Groovies are made from sorghum, sunflower oil, and just a handful of other flavoring ingredients such as paprika, onion powder, or dried rosemary. They are vegan, gluten-free, and have no artificial flavors. The sodium count weighs in at 110 to 125mg per 1-ounce serving.

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Cantaloupe & Fennel — Your New Favorite Summer Sip

A fresh cantaloupe drink to cool off with this summer.
A fresh cantaloupe drink to cool off with this summer.

Sometimes you feel like a tipsy drink. Sometimes you don’t.

“Just A Spritz” (Artisan), of which I received a review copy, hits the spot when you crave a festive, fun, and fizzy drink, but one that’s low- or no-alcohol.

The fun little book is by my friend and colleague, James Beard Award-winning food writer Danielle Centoni of Portland, OR.

It includes 57 recipes that range from classic to creative that are sure to sate a thirst.

A spritz is generally composed of a bitter liqueur, sparkling wine, and bubbly water, all over ice for a light, refreshing beverage.

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