Posts tagged ‘fruit’

Summer Fruit Cobbler

Summer Fruit Cobbler

Just in time for Labor Day, a perfect classic fruit cobbler recipe!

Black Berries

Somehow this summer has completely blown past me.  How did I displace the entire month of August?!  For that matter, what about July and June?  I guess this is just what happens when you launch your own business and handle every aspect of it yourself.  It’s been a fun summer though, full of beautiful flowers and new friendships with the lovely folks that buy them.   And since I now spend two days a week selling my blooms at farmers markets, I’ve been getting quite the assortment of fresh seasonal fruit from other farmers to bring home.   These guys have the best peaches.  And these guys have the most amazing Asian pears.  And these guys have to-die-for black berries. 

Summer Fruit

I’m still growing nearly all my own vegetables, but fruit, particularly anything growing on trees, is tough to manage in pots on the deck so I depend on getting to know a few key fruit growers to be sure I stay fully stocked with nature’s candy.  There have been two notable growing- fruit-in-a-pot successes this season though.   There were a half dozen of the most darling and delicious miniature melons.  Little Gem is an heirloom variety that was quite happy to climb up the lattice around our deck and dangle delicate melons from the vines without fear of them falling from their own weight.  The taste was sweet and superb. 

Summer Fruit

The other success story was the blueberries.  Last year I put a blueberry bush (‘Bluegold’) in a very large pot on the deck and crossed my fingers that it would make it through the winter in one piece.  Not only did it survive, it thrived!   I picked gobs of perfect blue orbs off it over the course of late June and July.  I had to protect the bush from marauding birds and squirrels by fitting it with a custom-made “shower cap” (row cover fleece with an elastic band sown around the bottom so I could put the fleece over the bush and secure it with the elastic around the pot).  

Take a bite

The berries went into my breakfast yogurt and pancakes mostly.   But I did save a pint of them specially to make a wonderful summer fruit cobbler.  This is just the perfect thing for a relaxing backyard get-together…perhaps you’re having one of those real soon for Labor Day.  It should be mandatory to serve it with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream, but I won’t go so far as to dictate your entire dessert menu.  Peaches are at their peak still, but local blue berries might be hard to find.  The recipe is really just a blueprint for a cobbler that will showcase any combination of fruits.  Just stroll through your local farmers market and pick out what looks the most tempting and juiciest.  You really can’t go wrong. 

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August 29, 2010 at 9:30 pm 12 comments

From the Archives: Summer Berry Pavolova

Summer Berry Pavlova
 

Years after this post was originally put up on the blog, I’m still as smitten with this pillowy dessert as ever!  My own blueberry bush, growing in a five-gallon pot on my deck, produced a bumper crop this year.  I knew I needed to pull up this recipe from the archives and show it to you again.  In addition to the blueberries, a neighboring gardener gifted me with beautiful and sweet raspberries and blackberries. And of course the eggs are farm fresh from free range chickens.   Delicious!  

Eggs and Berries  

From the Archives  

There’s something magical about summer twilights.   And something even more magical about fresh blueberries on 4th of July celebration desserts.  I have many a fond memory of eating homemade ice cream topped with fresh blueberries and then running through dewy grass in the twilight with sparklers or chasing lightning bugs.    

Berries in a teacup  

I first came across fresh fruit pavlova while living in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  I can remember everything about the scene of my first bite – it was that delightful.  A crisp shell of a meringue with a melt-y middle topped with ever-so-slightly sweet fresh whipped cream and (for that first encounter) kiwis and blueberries spilling off the plate.   If ever the heavens should point a sunbeam directly on my head and issue forth an angelic chorus, it should have been at the moment of my first bite in that roadside Irish inn.     

Blueberries and Pavolova   

Since then, I’ve learned this dessert really hails from New Zealand and was named after a Russian ballerina so I think it classifies as an international dish even though there’s nothing regionally distinctive in its flavors.  Don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe directions.  It really is just a lot of mixing and that’s all.  These little puffs of marshmallow-y delight are well worth the 20 minutes of shouting required to be heard over the mixer.   

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August 1, 2010 at 10:32 am 18 comments

Fall Fruit Compote

Fall Fruit

As diverse as I am with my cooking experiments, I’m rather ho-hum when it comes to my week day breakfast routine.  I have the same non-fat vanilla yogurt every single morning before heading out for the day.  You’d think a person would get sick of this after, oh let’s say six years, but I don’t.  At least not the yogurt part.  I have found myself lately a bit bored with the vanilla flavor, and yet, I really don’t like the fruit flavors available in the store, mostly because the fruit really is just a shadow of itself thanks to over-processing. 

Fall Fruit Compote

Apple Halves

Lately, I’ve started eating my morning bowl of yogurt with a generous spoonful of this Fall Fruit Compote swirled in, which has been a real wake up to my tired old routine.  The flavor is immense.  In fact, it’s a bit too strong when eaten by the spoonful (not that I’ve tried that or anything…) but it’s just right with the yogurt.  It would also be smashing with a stack of pancakes, stuffed into French toast, or, for those of you who don’t eat breakfast (for shame!), warmed up and spooned over a savory meat dish.  Oh, and let’s not forget ice cream! 

Making compote

This compote, unlike the processed fruits in yogurts, is full of simple goodness, capitalizing on the scrumptious qualities of locally grown pears, apples, and cranberries coupled with the spice of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla bean, and star anise.  There’s very little sugar per serving to boot.  My last batch kept in the fridge for two weeks in a sealed container so that I could get that big spoonful for breakfast each day in my hurried and sometimes harried rush to get out the door. 

Fall Fruit Compote in Yogurt

So, tell me, what’s your breakfast routine?  Am I the only one that sticks with the same thing for years on end? 

Oh dear.

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November 16, 2009 at 8:27 pm 11 comments

Ground Cherry & Chamomile Jam

Spoonful of jam

Forgive me.  This post is about to be one of the shortest on SFTF.  I’m in the throes of a week of final exams and it’s not been pretty:  studying ‘til the wee hours of the night and cheese and crackers for dinner two nights running so far.  But I didn’t want to leave you for too long without some culinary inspiration and one last recipe for ground cherries that I have tucked away in my drafts. 

Ground cherries in husks

 
Ground cherry season is just about at a close.  I have some fruit left on my plants which I’ll harvest when I pull them out of the ground next week during the process of putting my garden to bed for the winter.  I knew right from the start I wanted to make jam with these lovely little fruits, but was wondering what I could to spice up the jam idea a bit.  I ran across another blogger’s account of making Ground Cherry and Chamomile Jam and I knew right away that’s what I wanted to make.  I used my own honey I’d harvested from my hive earlier this year.  I didn’t have my own chamomile to use for this batch, but I’ve just harvested a bunch of chamomile flowers to dry that I’ll be sure to use for the next batch. 

Ground cherries cooking

This jam is floral and fruity, with the ground cherry itself playing a rather secondary role to the honey and chamomile.  That is until you hold it for a moment on your tongue and realize the ground cherry’s pineapple-y zest is doing quite a lively dance itself in the very pleasant aftertaste of this jam. 

Jam with spoon in jar

This jam is quite beautiful too: glowing amber suspends little pearls that once were seeds.  Those seeds might put some folks off, in which case you could always just strain the hot jam before putting it in jars.  I personally like the subtle contrasting crunch of the seeds amid the silky sweetness of the jam. 

Upside down jam jars

recipe after the jump

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October 16, 2008 at 8:05 am 16 comments

Cult Fruit

Ground cherries in bowl

Wanna join a cult?  Don’t raise your eyebrows at me!  This cult is one you’ll want to be a part of, trust me.  It revolves around a small golden orb that appears out of a papery vessel that fell out of the sky.  Really!  I swear!  Alright, before half of you click the little “X” in the upper corner of the screen, I’ll stop being goofy.  I’m talking about ground cherries (Physalis pruinosa): a crop that was new to me this year and one that’s got me smitten. 

Rinsed ground cherries

I was very curious about ground cherries after my mom sent me an article on them out of a newspaper dedicated to farming topics in Pennsylvania. Purportedly, they have been a long-time favorite of the state’s “plain folk” (Amish and Mennonite), especially for pie making.  That being said, I grew up in a valley full of plain folk and never once ran across these delicious little relatives of Solanaceae crops you may be more familiar with such as tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. I decided to give them the end of a row in my vegetable garden to see what they would do.  Let me tell you, these are tough plants!  I rarely remembered to water them because they were hidden by my giant popcorn stalks and while everything else in my garden succumbed to one variety or another of disease or insect, these babies remained lush and producing like mad! 

Slice of ground cherry pie

However, I was completely in the dark about how and when to harvest their little fruits encased in a papery husk not unlike tomatillos or goose berries or, even, Chinese lanterns (they are not the same thing though).  With repeated testing over the season, I finally realized they’re ripening when the husk turns tan/brown.  But the truly ripe ones are the ones that are….wait for it…wait for it… ON THE GROUND!  Ha, I finally understood why they’re call ground cherries! They do have several other common names though, including husk tomato and husk cherry.  Whatever you call them, they’re delicious!

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September 18, 2008 at 8:56 pm 33 comments

Old to You, New to Me

Triangles for bread and butter pudding 

Bread and butter puddings.  How many have you made?  A few?  Maybe a dozen?  Well, apparently I’m way behind the rest of you because I’d never even heard of bread and butter puddings until just the other day when VegeYum mentioned them as one of the things she cooked when she was first starting out.  I have, mind you, made bread puddings before, but they are decidedly different, or so it seems to me.  For one thing, bread and butter puddings let you play with your food by cutting sandwiches into triangles.  I always cut my sandwiches into triangles when the fillings allow so this was a real selling point for me.

Bread and butter

From what I can gather, I guess bread and butter puddings are rather a staple in the U.K. and its former colonies. I wonder where it got lost along the way when the pilgrims came to these shores?  Oh well, it doesn’t matter now.  I’ve happily claimed any long lost bread and butter pudding heritage after making this Berry Bread and Butter Pudding.

Spreading jam

I’ve still got a few jars of Sparkling Holiday Jam hanging out in my cupboards so I thought that would be a great flavor to use in my very first bread and butter pudding.  I then decided I’d even go so far as to make the bread, using that old trusty stand-by, Miracle Bread.  (I didn’t have to though as I remembed a loaf I had in the freezer still. Sweet!)  I just wish I still had some of that fresh milk left from the ice cream I made last week.  Store-bought worked just fine.  Although, after considering the amount of butter going into this dish, I decided to use fat free milk and was please with how creamy the flavor was still.  

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March 31, 2008 at 12:18 pm 20 comments

Poached Apples

Green Tea and Citrus Poached Apples 

Port Wine and Pastries:  Yes, my dear readers, I am currently away from my desk/computer, hiking around the steep hills of Lisbon and rural sections of the northern Minho region of pint-sized Portugal.  I can’t wait to get back and tell you all about the rich old-world culture of this unique little country oft forgotten by European travelers intent on getting to Italy and Spain.  In the meantime, enjoy this post for Citrus and Green Tea Poached Apples, and please have patience with my delay in responding to comments. 

Obrigada e adeus (thank you and farewell)!

Behold, an apple!
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Behold, a grapefruit!
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Behold, green tea!
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fresh apple slices
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Behold, apples poached with green tea and grapefruit
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Green Tea and Citrus Poached Apples
Adaptation of a recipe clipped from Martha Stewart Living Magazine

4 bags of jasmine green tea
2 ½ c. boiling water
2/3 c. sugar
Juice of half a large pink grapefruit
½ t. finely grated grapefruit zest
2 firm sweet eating apples, such as Nittany or Honeycrisp

Place tea bags in boiling water and steep for 3-4 minutes.  Do not steep for any longer or the tea will turn bitter.  In a medium saucepan, combine tea with sugar and stir to dissolve.  Add the grapefruit juice and zest and simmer very gently for 2 minutes.

Peel, halve, core and cut the apples into ¼ inch thick slices.  Add immediately to the saucepan with the tea mixture to avoid apples turning brown.  Cook over low heat so that steam rises from the pot but it does not bubble.  When apples turn translucent and soft, about 10 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl. 

Gently boil the liquid in the saucepan until it reduces by about half, 6-8 minutes.  Pour over apples and serve either warm or chilled.  Apples can be refrigerated in syrup for up to two days. 

(serves 3-4)

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Poached Apples and Wooden Fork
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March 5, 2008 at 12:00 pm 13 comments


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