This weekend I had dinner at a fun new Japanese fried chicken restaurant in the suburbs of LA, and while I've been thinking about the perfectly crunchy and juicy chicken, what's really haunting me is the memory of the Kyoho grape popsicle that concluded the meal. It was a purple, grapey punch to the mouth that reminded me, It's grape season! Time to shove aside the soft, sad grapes of the rest of the year and take advantage of the best autumn has to offer.
I couldn't believe when I went to pick up my CSA this week that it was the last week! No more corn (which I'm still getting), no more apples (thank goodness, I have so many!), no more kale. Well, of course I can get all of these things any time at the grocery store, but it's not quite the same. So here it is — my final CSA box and what I plan to do with it:
Who: Don Gregory of Cherry Bay Orchards What: Tart Cherries Where: Traverse City and Leelanau County, Michigan
This summer I took a jaunt to the beautiful shores of northern Michigan with a pack of food writers and dietitians to see how cherries — tart cherries, to be precise — are grown, harvested, and sent to market. This was thrilling, to be perfectly frank, because if I could choose just one fruit to eat, cherries would be near the top of the list, and tart cherries are a particular passion as they are certainly my favorite fruit to bake with.
But why am I showing you this now? Isn't the cherry season long over? Well, that's the thing about tart cherries: did you know that 99% of them are actually frozen or preserved? They're too delicate to ship fresh. This means that it's actually tart cherry season all year round, at least in my house. Here's a peek into how and where they're grown, some of the challenges facing the industry, and why I have a bag of tart cherries in my freezer right now.
When it's too cold, and it's still dark, Honeycrisp apples are the reason I get up in the morning. I'm sure some of you can relate. Oftentimes instead of making anything with apples (not just Honeycrisp) I get antsy and just eat it plain, but this fall I want to explore the apple's potential. These Pinterest boards have inspired me to step up my game.
When I toured a commercial apple orchard a couple years ago, I was struck by the grower's reverence for the Honeycrisp apple and its overwhelming popularity. Everyone, it seems, is looking for the next great apple — and I'm always willing to try new varieties vying for the spot. Crisp and sweet with a wonderfully balanced tartness, the SweeTango apple is a contender to watch for.
I've never been a fan of the fruit bowl. I love storing fruit out in the open as a friendly reminder to eat it, but I've been burned too many times by the secretly-bruised piece of fruit getting sticky and moldy at the bottom of the bowl. That's why Fruit-Wall is so appealing — it gives your fruit plenty of room without taking up any counter space and turns your produce into an ever-changing work of art.
Is there a truer harbinger of fall than the pumpkin? This time of year we start to see pumpkin-flavored everything, but hardly any of it uses the real thing, relying instead on spices, syrups, and canned versions. But this week I got a lovely little pumpkin in my CSA box, which has me wondering what to do with it besides carving it up for Halloween...
When I picked 10 pounds of damson plums at the end of summer, I had plans to make plum butter with them. But after a few hours of pitting those gorgeous little devils, slaving over the stovetop watching them simmer all day no longer seemed a labor of love. I was over it and ready for a shortcut:
If I'm not feeling like making something elaborate and just want an easy, warm dessert to top off the evening, this is where I turn: baked apples. Scoop out the core and stuff the insides with a mix of oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The baked apples soften into a spoonable treat while the brown sugar melts down into a caramel syrup.
The only thing that could make this simple autumn dessert even better? A scoop of ice cream on the side, naturally.