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Archive for the ‘fruit desserts’ Category

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When it comes to cranberry sauce on my Thanksgiving table, I’m a traditionalist. I make this triple cranberry sauce every year. Made with fresh cranberries, dried cranberries and cranberry juice it is bright, full of flavor and I love it. I might make a second one, spiced with ginger or zapped with horseradish or whatnot to mix it up, but the triple-cranberry version is non-negotiable. I might even make an allowance for a canned jelly, which is as much a tradition in some families as the turkey, but a whole berry, chunky sauce is a must have. Regardless of which direction you go, canned or homemade, we can all agree that cranberry sauce in some manner is required, especially on a leftover turkey sandwich. But what about cranberries in other parts of the meal? Like dessert? This year I decided to try something different and came up with a cranberry tart to cap the meal. I have to say, I’m quite happy with the results.

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I’ve been doing quite a bit of recipe development work lately which is great but there is always the same end result: piles of random, leftover ingredients. The bags and boxes are open so I can’t donate them to the food pantry and it’s often too much for me to work through, knowing the next assignment is coming down the pike with even more stuff. In fact today, the FedEx guy delivered a 15 pound box of even more stuff from a client. Of the 9 things in the box, I really only need 2 of them and I’m not really sure why their light brown sugar is better or different than the brown sugar I have. But it is not for me to decide these things; I’ll use it at some point. The 5 pounds of lecithin, I’m not so sure. I’ve joked with my friends that when this round is over I’m going to have a pop-up grocery store in my dining room. Half filled bags of stuff for cheap! Kathy’s Store of Cheap Random Crap. C’mon down!

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I’m feeling rather tropical as of late. Must be the heat or maybe its the 24-hour cycle of Olympic events from Rio that is emanating from every electronic device I own. All this broadcasting from Copacabana Beach is making me crave tropical drinks with long straws and plastic monkey decorations like nobody’s business. A recent stop at the local produce market persuaded me to grab case of ripe mangoes bought on the cheap. I can never resist a deal. I immediately ate one warm out of the case, sticky orange juice running down my arm. The next day, I did the same thing with a cold one. I like them better cold. Two down, six to go. I made some coconut sticky rice and sliced the third one on top. Five left.

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During these long hot days of summer my cooking mojo takes a nose dive. I don’t feel like doing much of anything and the thought of turning on the oven makes me cringe. Case in point: this weekend I baked two slab pies for a party that were delicious if incredibly frustrating. Hot kitchen and cold dough are not compatible in any way. It was a struggle that required a nap directly in front of a fan to cool down. While the pies were enthusiastically greeted at the party, I ditched them on the buffet table and immediately went to the bar to calm my overheated nerves. Not wanting to repeat that situation, today I wanted something sweet but something easy and nothing that would work up a sweat. I dug around in my unusually well stocked refrigerator, the result of enthusiastic shopping trips and the lack of energy to do much with my purchases. There was a pineapple with unfulfilled ambitions and a bunch of lemongrass that was supposed to go in something I never made. I looked at my little windowsill lime leaf tree and a decision was made.

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A few years ago I was in Bangkok, suffering from some tremendously awful jetlag. After a full, hard day of work in a foreign and unfamiliar kitchen, I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep so around 1am I gave up and decided to explore. I caught a cab and told the driver to take me to the Flower Market (Pak Khlong Talat) which I read doesn’t really get hopping until 2am or later. If I couldn’t sleep, at least I’d see part of the city as my sight seeing had been pretty limited up to that point.

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On a random weekday before the July 4th holiday, a friend and I decided to take a little road trip. She was in the midst of selling her condo and I had just wrapped up a series of stressful meetings. Our nerves were frayed and we needed a change of scenery so we decided to go to a few Michigan beach towns and buy some blueberries. A short drive, less than two hours, and we were enjoying a much-needed change of scenery. The day was absolutely gorgeous; one of those bright sunny, breezy days that plants a smile firmly on your face. We had lunch, went whiskey and beer tasting, roamed a local farmers market, wandered in an out of antique shops and art galleries and hit a favorite produce stand.

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It’s grotesquely hot around here. I know, its mid July, it’s supposed to be hot yet somehow I’m caught by surprise. Mother Nature fools with us, you know? She’ll sneak in a couple absolutely gorgeous days then, BOOM, 90 degrees with 90% humidity. My energy goes down as the temperature goes up, as does my motivation to cook anything. During times like this, I only want to eat two things: watermelon and ice cream. I eat and ungodly amount of watermelon and ice cream during these sweltering weeks.

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