Tag Archives: fruit

key lime pineapple citrus martini

Do you ever have that perfect storm when you have random ingredients that you don’t normally have and it suddenly hits you that you can make something fabulous by combining them? Last Sunday afternoon we sitting around taking it easy and enjoying the nice spring weather.  Joseph suggested a drink on the porch, thinking of the bottle of Gremona Gessami Bianco we had picked up the day before.  But I was thinking of the pineapple juice we had.

When I was a kid, I loved pineapple orange banana juice, but almost never got to have it. I had forgotten all about that, but was reminded when I was looking for pineapple juice at the store to use for our Easter ham in pineapple mustard sauce. There was pineapple peach mango juice and pineapple orange banana, and oh man, I wanted to try them. But our fridge was already bursting, so we just got what we had come for.  All this came back to me when Joseph suggested the drink on the porch.

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cranberry upside-down cake

cranberry upside-down cake

Last Friday night the Aggies were playing their bowl game and my intention had been to make this cake because the Aggies colors are maroon and white.  But between going to the gym, going to the grocery store, making dinner and then a wine and beer tasting at Spirited Gourmet, well, it just didn’t happen. Luckily I had made meringues for my sister who was in town because they’re her favorite.  I mean, you just don’t want to get caught without any options for dessert now do you?

So it wasn’t until the next night that I made the cake. It’s not at all that the recipe is too complicated or anything — it’s quite easy actually — I just ran out of time Friday night.  In fact, I almost forgot about the cake again the next night, so didn’t make it until around midnight.  We had plans to meet up with my sister at a bar and I didn’t have time to prep and bake the cake before we’d have to leave.  I prepped everything (all the way down to having the cranberries, sugar, spices, and zest in the buttered pan with some saran wrap on top) and then when we got back I whipped the rest together and threw it in the oven.  It was so good warm that second and third helpings may have occurred.  It wasn’t so bad the next day either.  I can’t tell you what it would have been like by the third day because there wasn’t any left….

orange zest

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apple crumb pie

apple crumb pie

I don’t know exactly how old I was (10ish?), but I still remember standing at the kitchen counter trying to roll out my pie dough and my grandmother guiding me through this process that was proving to be so much more complicated than I had thought it would be.  I’ve made an apple pie every Thanksgiving since.

In fact, every Thanksgiving I made the exact same recipe, an apple pie loaded with spices from the 18th century in Recipes from the Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop.  It’s a unique recipe (the only reason I have mace in my spice cabinet), and it’s good, but I got tired of making it.  More than that, I got tired of making a lattice top pie (pretty though they are) and wanted to try a crumb pie.  So last year I made a new recipe and I wish I could remember where I got it because it was the worst apple pie I’ve ever made and I want to be sure that I never make it again.  It’s funny because none of my family members remember it being that bad, but when I cut into it, all I really got were some soggy apples swimming in their juices.  I mean, it was edible, but it was definitely nothing to be proud of. Continue reading


apple butter

I love fall foods so much.  I have so many great memories of getting apple cider and making apple pie growing up.  Apple stuff just reminds me of my childhood.  I’ve always loved apple butter, but I had never considered making it until last year when I was suddenly curious how hard it would be to make it.  Then I forgot all about it, but stumbled across a recipe recently and it looked pretty easy.

Yes, it is in fact very easy.  The hardest part is peeling the apples.  And it is ohhh so very good.  I’m afraid we’re going to finish this batch pretty quickly, but no worries!  We’ll just make more! Continue reading


Blueberry pickin’

blueberries

When we came to West Branch Pond as kids, my sister and the kids of our close family friends often went blueberry picking. It always made me think of Blueberries for Sal, one of my favorite books, and I was always on the lookout for a mama bear and her cubs. We never saw them, but I don’t think I will ever be able to go blueberry picking in Maine without thinking I’ll also see a bear.

This trip was no different than past trips (you know, other than the fact that we were now much older and picking berries with our husbands) and we didn’t see any bears. But we did end up with a bunch of berries to bring back to the kitchen at WBPC. The next morning there was no question about what we were going to pick for breakfast. I only wish we’d gone picking earlier (and frequently!) so we could have had berry pancakes every morning! Alas, these blueberry pancakes were our last breakfast before heading back to Boston to return to the daily grind of real life. It was pretty sweet while it lasted.

blueberry pancakes


Quick and Easy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

banana chocolate chip muffins

My husband knows me pretty well. The other day I was going to bake a carrot cake for a coworker’s birthday and I also wanted to bake something for a picnic and Shakespeare in the park the next night. At first Joseph thought this was a great idea and then he got this look in his eye — one could call it panic — and insisted I should only make the cake. I guess you can say that my nearest and dearest all know how much I love to bake, but also what a ridiculous mess I become when I get stressed in the kitchen. That night we went to the gym, made dinner, and went to the grocery before I could get started, not to mention the fact that it was HOT and we have no AC in the kitchen. So I decided to nix the Cooks Illustrated brownies I’d been thinking about making and just make some simple banana muffins with chocolate chips for the picnic in addition to the cake. Joseph still looked concerned, but I assured him that I could practically make these muffins blindfolded as long as I had some super ripe bananas (which we did).

I’ve tried many, many banana bread recipes and this is my favorite so far. I still need to try the Cook’s Illustrated recipe, but it looks so complex and part of what I love about this recipe is how quick and easy it is. The nuts are optional, but I think it really adds to the depth of flavor as well as the texture. I like to break the pieces up fairly small so that there’s just enough subtle crunch to keep things interesting. Since these were going to be dessert-like, I also added chocolate chips. I would normally use smaller chips, but I had the Ghirardelli bittersweet chips on hand which are kind of on the big side. C’est la vie, I didn’t think anyone was going to complain about big chunks of chocolate in their muffins. Lo and behold, they were a hit and we came home empty-handed which is a very good thing because after that carrot cake, the last thing I needed was muffins in the house!

Banana Muffins
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts

Sigh. I feel that I should add that you can also add raisins, but you already know how I feel about raisins and if you ask me, you’d be ruining the muffins.

Makes 12 muffins

1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
3 large ripe bananas (about 3 cups mashed)*
2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)**
1/2 cup chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin or use paper liners.
  2. Beat oil, sugar, eggs, and mashed bananas until well blended in large bowl. You can do this in a mixer, but save yourself the mess and just do it by hand.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold into the wet ingredients being careful not to overmix. Add the vanilla and chocolate chips and nuts if using.
  4. Spoon into prepared tin and bake 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the tin and cool on a rack.

* We actually had a big bunch of these little tiny bananas we got at Whole Foods (Joseph was hoping they were the same as some bananas he used to get back in the Philippines, but no) and I had no idea if it would be enough. It ended up only being 2 cups, but everything worked out just fine. Just make sure that the banana is really, really ripe (i.e. black). It will yield much better flavor, not to mention it will be easier to mash.

** I never bother measuring the chocolate chips and just add until it looks like the right ratio. It is quite likely that it is usually more than half a cup 🙂