Category Archives: Fruit

Celebrate with Roast Duck with Quince & Brussels Sprouts

A celebratory roast duck with quince, potatoes and Brussels sprouts to get the holiday season started.
A celebratory roast duck with quince, potatoes and Brussels sprouts to get the holiday season started.

And just like that, we’re into the holiday season again.

Not quite ready for it? Me, neither.

But this grand looking “Roast Duck with Quince & Brussels Sprouts (and Potatoes)” will surely put you in a festive mood.

This simple recipe is from “Pipers Farm The Sustainable Meat Cookbook” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy.

Family-owned in Devon in southwest England, Pipers Farm was founded more than 30 years ago and adheres to regenerative farming techniques to raise native breeds that are grass-fed and free-range. It also now works with 40 small-scale farms in the area.

The cookbook was written by Abby Allen, who operates Pipers Farm, and Rachel Lovell, a food writer who has worked with the farm for years.

While this is a cookbook with plenty of carnivore recipes, Allen’s intent is to get you to eat meat more wisely by supporting family farms that raise animals the right way. She also encourages you to eat less of it, making every bit count by choosing quality over quantity; and to not waste anything, even offering up detailed recipes to make fortifying chicken and beef stocks, as well as one to use up off-cuts in “Haggis.”

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Chewy-licious Blueberry & Apricot Bars

Chewy, sweet, and loaded with dried fruit, there's a wonderful old-fashioned quality about these tasty bars.
Chewy, sweet, and loaded with dried fruit, there’s a wonderful old-fashioned quality about these tasty bars.

There’s a lovely wholesome taste to these chewy-soft fruit bars, which is not surprising, given that the recipe hails from a baker who got his start selling farmhouse-baked treats out of an old red truck.

“Blueberry & Apricot Bars” is a recipe in the new “The Red Truck Bakery Farmhouse Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy.

It was written by Brian Noyes, founder of the Red Truck Bakery in Marshall, VA, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and at the King Arthur Baking School in Vermont.

In his previous career as the art director at the Washington Post and Smithsonian magazines, he would spend his free time baking pies and breads at his Virginia Piedmont farmhouse, which he sold from that vintage red truck that he bought from none other than designer Tommy Hilfiger.

Noyes now operates two Red Truck bakeries, both in historic buildings, and has fans in Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama.

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Spoil Yourself With Blackberry & White Chocolate Muffins

Fresh blackberries, white chocolate, a little bit of yogurt, and a little bit of cream cheese star in these muffins.
Fresh blackberries, white chocolate, a little bit of yogurt, and a little bit of cream cheese star in these muffins.

The one and only time I rafted down the American River was truly memorable.

It wasn’t just the camaraderie of friends laughing and paddling together in three rafts down the relatively calm part of the river.

It was also the wild blackberry bushes our guide had us maneuver our way to near the shore as we waited for the other rafts to catch up to us.

Truth be told, we were all secretly wishing those other folks would just take their sweet time, because we were as content as can be, reaching over the side of our raft to pluck berries that we devoured voraciously.

Nowadays, I get my blackberries from the farmers market or grocery store. Maybe it’s not as adventurous. But it is convenient, especially as blackberries are abundant even through early fall.

In fact, I eagerly picked some up recently specifically to highlight in “Blackberry & White Chocolate Muffins.”

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Cauliflower with Raisins — Indian-Style

Embrace the raisins in this dish.
Embrace the raisins in this dish.

Admit it, we all have our unusual food predilections.

My husband doesn’t enjoy sour foods, but loves ceviche. He is not fond of raw carrots, but will happily chomp on them if they’re cut into sticks.

Me? I am typically not the biggest fan of coconut. Yet I dream of Tom Douglas’ famed coconut cream pie, and the coconut layer cakes I devoured in South Carolina. Neither am I usually a fan of raisins in baked goods. Yet I somehow adore them in savory dishes.

Go figure.

That’s why the recipe for “Cauliflower with Raisins” stopped me in my tracks in the best of ways.

It’s from the new “6 Spices, 60 Dishes” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. Ruta Kahate, a veteran cookbook author who own Ruta’s, an Indian cafe in Milwaukee.

Kahate recognizes that the intoxicating array of spices that makes Indian cuisine so exciting can also prove intimidating to a home-cook. With this book, she demonstrates that with only six spices in the pantry — cayenne, coriander, cumin, turmeric, mustard seeds, and asafetida — you can make 60 vibrant and distinct dishes that aren’t taxing.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late: Santana Row Farmers Market

Behold the Roli Roti chicken and potatoes.
Behold the Roli Roti chicken and potatoes.

It’s not big, but it’s mighty — as in good.

That’s what the farmers market at San Jose’s Santana Row is — all one block of it on the main drag between Olin Avenue and Olsen Drive), with vendors on both sides plying fresh produce, flowers, and gourmet prepared foods.

The market, Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., is seasonal. So, if you want to check it out, you have until the end of this month before it’s gone until next year.

Because it’s an evening market, it’s an ideal place to pick up dinner or the fixings for it. Just follow your nose to find the Roli Roti truck parked in the center of the Row with spinning rotisseries packed with whole chickens and sides of ribs.

Just be warned that on a hot day before sunset, this truck is parked in full sun with heat radiating off the rotisseries, so bring a hat and a cool drink as you wait in line, as there almost always is one.

The Roli Roti rotisserie.
The Roli Roti rotisserie.
The farmers market on the Row.
The farmers market on the Row.

Who can blame people for flocking here when the rosemary-flecked chicken is so juicy, bronzed, and succulent that you barely need a knife. A whole chicken ($15.50) gets wrapped up hot off the rotisserie, ensuring it will still be warm by the time you dive into it at home.

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