Blog Posts

Sour Cherry–Glazed Ribs

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Active: 1 hr, Total: 3 hrs 30 mins, Yield: 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • Two 2-pound racks baby back ribs, membrane removed from the underside of each rack

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 small shallots, minced

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2.5 cups of Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 275°. Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and set the meat side up on the rack. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots and half of the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1.5 cups of Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly and cook until melted. Let the barbecue sauce cool, then season with salt and pepper.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup of Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly with the stock and the remaining garlic. Stack four 18-inch-long sheets of heavy-duty foil in 2 piles on a work surface. Set 1 rack of ribs meat side down in the center of each. Fold up the foil to form 4 sides and pour half of the stock mixture on each rack. Wrap the ribs tightly in the foil, then transfer the packets to the rack and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, until the ribs are very tender. Remove from the oven and open the packets. Let stand for 5 minutes, then discard the cooking liquid and foil. Return the ribs to the rack meat side up.

  4. Increase the oven temperature to 450°. Brush the ribs liberally with the Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly barbecue sauce and bake, turning and brushing occasionally with the sauce, for 10 to 12 minutes, until nicely glazed. Let rest for 5 minutes, then cut in between the bones and serve.

Make-Ahead: The barbecue sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

U

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

<3 minutes reading time

  • Ube is also often called the purple yam. It’s a type of tuber that’s known for its deep purple color, but you can also find it in white.

  • You’ll usually find ube in Asian countries, where it is cooked into many desserts, including cakes & pastries. It has recently started to appear in the United States.

  • They are starchy root vegetables that are rich in carbs, potassium, vitamins A & C, anthocyanins, & phytonutrients, all of which are important for maintaining good health. They have been shown to protect against cell damage & cancer. They may help promote blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. They also have a low glycemic index, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes.

  • The resistant starch in ube helps increase the growth of Bifidobacteria, which are healthy bacteria that play a vital role in maintaining your gut health.

  • Ulluco is native to Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, & to a lesser extent in Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, & Chile. It is one of the most economically important & widely grown plants in the Andean region of South America.

  • Most people eat only the tuber, although you can eat the leaf, which has a taste like spinach. The leaves & tubers of this plant are found to contain high levels of nutrients like carotene, calcium, & protein.

  • One of the most striking features of this vegetable is that its tubers are varying in color which includes yellow, pink, purple, & red colors. Some are even candy-striped with waxy & shiny skins.

  • Health benefits: Removes skin spots, consists of a good amount of Vitamin C, Eliminates acne problems, Prevents & protects us against rheumatism, Eliminates stretch marks, Removes the scars, Delays cell aging, Anti-inflammatory, & antibacterial food, Relieves & cures digestive problems, Fights Alzheimer’s, contains B complex, Good for growing children & pregnant women, high content of Zinc & Calcium

  • With a slightly sweet taste, ulluco is a great source of protein, carbs, & vitamin C, especially to the people living at high altitudes in the mountainous regions of South America. It also has less than 2% fat content.

  • In Bolivia, ullucos are a traditional food in Catholic Holy Week celebrations. They are not suitable for baking or frying but they can be cooked in many other ways. One of the more popular forms is pickled ullucos.

  • An ugli fruit is a cross between a grapefruit & a mandarin orange. It's about the size of a grapefruit but tastes a bit sweeter & has wrinkly skin that peels easily. This fruit comes from Jamaica & is also grown in the US. Despite its name, it's not that ugly although it can look strange because its yellowy-green skin is thick, rough & puffy, & sometimes a bit blotchy. It is also known as Jamaican tangelo.

  • It was developed by Trout Hall Ltd in 1924 in Jamaica.

  • Ugli fruit has a fragrant rind & the flesh is very juicy that contains 70% vitamin C, 2% iron, & 8% dietary fiber, & is low in calories.

  • Ugli fruit taste is sourer than an orange & less bitter than a grapefruit. It is slightly larger than grapefruit & doesn’t have a lot of seeds. It is rich in vitamin C.

  • The polyphenol & anti-inflammatory antioxidants flavonoid compounds in Ugli fruit may help us to protect against viral infections, allergies, & fungal conditions.

  • Ugni fruit is a very fragrant, purplish-red fruit that looks like berries. They are very small, only growing up to about 1/2 inch wide. Each fruit grows on a 1-inch stalk.

  • The fruit has a very delicate flavor, somewhat like strawberries, but with a bit of tartness to it. The seeds are very small.

  • Some of the commercial strawberry flavors are actually made from ugni berries, not strawberries.

  • It grows on an evergreen shrub related to myrtle, which grows up to 15 feet tall. It can be grown from seed or cuttings. It has glossy, dark-green leaves, & small, white or pink, bell-shaped flowers in the spring. -The fruit appears in the autumn. There is not much fruit before the third year. By its third year, each Ugni bush will bear about 2 pounds of fruit. After that, each year, fruit production will increase by another 2 pounds per year.

  • Australian growers have coined & trademarked the name “Tazziberries” for the fruit. They are being grown in Australia in Victoria & Tasmania. New Zealand growers are marketing it as “NZ Cranberries.”

  • Ugni is native to Chile & Bolivia. It was identified in 1844. Part of its scientific name is in honor of Juan Ignacio Molina (1737-1829.)


Spicy Pizza Portuguesa with Eggs, Ham, & Olives

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Serving Size: 12-inch pizza

  • 1 pre-made pizza dough

  • 3 boiled eggs, peeled

  • 7-8 green or black olives

  • ½ white or yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 8 ounces shredded ham

  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced

  • Chopped fresh oregano (optional)

  • Apple Hot Pepper Jelly

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F and hold at this temperature for 30 - 40 minutes. If a pizza stone is available, place it on the middle rack and heat with the oven

  2. Place cherry tomatoes on parchment paper-lined sheet tray, roast for 7 minutes then remove from oven and set aside

  3. Stretch pizza dough to approximately 12” on a floured surface

  4. Spread 3-4 Tbsp Apple Hot Pepper Jelly on your dough

  5. Add ham, onion, and olives, then slice hard-boiled eggs into 3-4 slices and place around the pizza

  6. Add cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and finish with a sprinkle of chopped fresh oregano (optional)

  7. Bake pizza for 15-18 minutes on the middle rack, or stone, of your oven, then slice and Enjoy!

Tomatoes

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

<1.5 minutes reading time

  • Tomatoes are not a veggie but a fruit. They are regarded as the world’s most popular fruit and have more genes than humans.

  • Tomatoes are actually fruits and are made of 94.5% water. The tomato plant originates from the

  • nightshade family (which includes eggplant, potato, capsicum, and chilli) from Central America.

  • A farmer in Oregon managed to successfully grow a ‘tomacco’ plant. This is a hybrid of a tobacco and tomato plant. This fascinating endeavor, straight out of a Simpsons episode, managed to bear fruit for a year and a half! Now the question is, does it get smoked or eaten?

  • Fruits and vegetables are defined differently, depending on whether you’re a gardener or a chef. The word ‘fruit’ is a botanical term, and ‘vegetable’ is a culinary term. The Oxford Dictionary defines fruit as being developed from the ovary of a flowering plant, containing the seed of the flower. The term ‘vegetable’ refers to the edible parts of plants, such as the roots, stems, and leaves (think potatoes, celery, and lettuce) and which are not strictly the fruit of the plant from which they come. So, a tomato can be considered a fruit and a vegetable. These common veggies are actually fruit: Zucchini, Eggplant, Olives, Peapods, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Butternut Pumpkin, Avocado, Peppers

  • In the extreme case of Nix vs. Hedden in 1893, a Supreme Court in the United States had to settle a case between a food importer and tax collector, who contested whether the tomato was a fruit or vegetable. The importer wanted to label the tomato a fruit (which had a lower import tax) but the tax collector demanded that it be recognized as a vegetable. Verdict: The court ruled that the tomato was most commonly known as a vegetable and should therefore be treated as such when imported.

Cheesy French Onion Tartiflette

Friday, October 8, 2021

Serving Size: 4

Ingredient

  • 2.5 lbs Russet potatoes, cut into 1/8 inch thin slices

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1/3 cup white wine

  • 14 ounces cheese, half aged cheddar, and half-soft cheese

  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose or gluten-free flour

  • Sweet & Spicy Double Onion Marmalade

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F

2. Stack potato slices vertically then spread out horizontally in a casserole dish and drizzle with a dash of olive oil

3. Melt butter in a medium-heat saucepan, add flour, and stir constantly for 2 - 3 minutes to make a roux

4. Add milk and wine to your roux, simmer until thickens, then add 1/4 jar Sweet & Spicy Double Onion Marmalade and melt in cheddar

5. Pour sauce over potatoes, top with soft cheese slices, and finish with dollops of Sweet & Spicy Double Onion Marmalade

6. Cover with foil, bake 1 hour, remove foil, then bake further 40 minutes until potatoes are cooked and golden

7. Garnish with parsley ~ and Enjoy!

We also love Tartiflette with Curried Tomato Marmalade and cheddar, and our Garlic Jelly with a creamy blue ~ So Good!

Tangerines

Monday, October 4, 2021

~2.5 minutes reading time

  • Tangerines protect against heart disease blood clots and can lower your cholesterol. A fabulous little fruit, isn’t it? It is low in carbs, fats, proteins, and calories,. Also known as mandarin oranges, tangerines are a tasty and refreshing citrus fruit packed with nutrition, including vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, folate, fiber, and potassium to name a few. One tangerine has half the vitamin C you need for the whole day!

  • Tangerines are named after the place from where they were first shipped to Europe – Tangier in Morocco.

  • they are the second-most produced citrus fruit in the world, after the sweet orange. Around 21 million metric tons are harvested from two million hectares around the globe.

  • China sells and produces more tangerines than any other country, providing almost half of the global supply. Spain, Brazil, and Turkey are also large producers of tangerines.

  • Tangerines have been cultivated for over three thousand years in counties like Japan and China.

  • However, this amazing fruit did not arrive in the US until the mid-nineteenth century. The first batch of tangerines was brought to America when the Italian consul in New Orleans decided to plant it on the grounds surrounding the consulate. From New Orleans, the tangerine was taken to Palatka, Florida and it became a commercial crop like other citrus fruits. Florida has become famous for its production of oranges as well as tangerines. Most of the tangerines produced in the United States come from Florida and California.

  • A tangerine tree is much smaller than most of the other citrus fruit trees. A mature tree is usually between 15 and 20 feet tall.

  • Tangerines are easier to peel than other citrus fruits and are sometimes known as ‘easy peelers’.

  • Tangerines used to be nicknamed the ‘Christmas Orange’ because they were often stuffed in children’s Christmas stockings.

  • Tangerines are typically in their prime from late October through January.

  • Because tangerines are easily crossed with other types of citrus, about 200 different types of tangerines have been created.

  • Tangerine essential oil can be used to help soothe anxious feelings and manage stress.

  • The peel contains a super-flavonoid, or antioxidant, called tangeretin. Super-flavonoids have shown promise in studies as an effective way to lower cholesterol.

  • When selecting tangerines you should look for the ones that do not have any blemishes and are slightly heavy for their size and are firm to slightly soft. Also when choosing any type of citrus fruit, including tangerine and grapefruit, choose the ones that have thinner skins. This means that they are really juicy and should be very sweet. You will want to avoid tangerines that feature soft spots, dents, cuts, or mold.

  • The color of a tangerine is generally not a good indication of sweetness, so do not be fooled into thinking the brightest orange tangerines are the sweetest.

  • Tangerine trees grow best in subtropical environments where the nights are cool

  • The secret to storing them is to make sure they stay chilled but not necessarily cold.

  • Tangelos are a cross between tangerine and grapefruit. They are generally very juicy and have a mild sweet flavor.

  • If you enjoy your fruit being really sweet, you will want to try honeybell tangerines. These honey tangerines are known for their sweet, honey flavor and are the sweetest tangerines produced. If you don’t like seedy fruit, this seedless tangerine is a great option.

  • Citrus fruits are actually a kind of berry with a tough, leathery rind, known as a hesperidium.

  • A single citrus plant can have as many as 60,000 flowers, but only 1 percent of those flowers will turn into fruit.

  • Citrus fruits that are grown in tropical climates without a proper winter will stay green on the outside. That’s because citrus fruit needs to get cold to turn orange or yellow.

Almond Rice Pudding with Spicy Cherry Sauce and Caramel Cream

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Active: 50 mins, Total: 2 hrs, Yield: 8

Ingredient

  • 1 cup arborio rice

  • 5 cups whole milk

  • 1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise, seeds scraped and pods reserved)

  • 6 tablespoons sugar

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 cups Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • ¼ cup water (boiling)

  • 2 ¼ cups heavy cream

  • 1 ¼ cups almonds (7 ounces whole blanched)

Directions

  1. Bring 1 1/4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the milk and one of the vanilla bean pods and its seeds and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Immediately stir in 6 tablespoons of the sugar and 2 pinches of salt. Let cool, then discard the vanilla bean pod. Cover the rice pudding and refrigerate overnight.

  2. In a medium saucepan, keep the Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly warm.

  3. In another medium saucepan, cook the remaining 1 cup of sugar over moderate heat, stirring, until a golden caramel forms, about 9 minutes; brush down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush if crystals form. While whisking, slowly and carefully pour the boiling water into the caramel. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

  4. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat 1 1/4 cups of the cream until soft peaks form. Using a spatula, fold the caramel into the whipped cream.

  5. Stir the almonds into the chilled rice pudding. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the remaining 1 cup of cream until firm peaks form, about 3 minutes. Fold the cream into the pudding and serve with the Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly and caramel sauce.

Make-Ahead: The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight.

Strawberries

Sunday, September 26, 2021

~1 minutes reading time

  • Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. The average strawberry—which, by the way, isn’t technically a berry—contains about 200 seeds.

  • Unlike some other fruits, strawberries don’t continue to ripen after being picked, so if they don’t look ripe, they never will be.

  • Strawberries and cream is a popular dessert during the British summer, famously consumed at the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

  • There is a museum in Belgium dedicated to strawberries. In the gift shop at Le Musée de la Fraise (The Strawberry Museum), you can buy everything from strawberry jam to strawberry beer.

  • Strawberries are actually flowering plants that belong to the rose family. When strawberries first became commercial products, the plants were cultivated in straw. Many think that's where they got their name.

  • Strawberries are not really berries at all. They are the enlarged receptacle of a flower.

  • If you bite into an apple you would expect to find the "seeds" inside. With the strawberry, the "seeds" are on the outside. Actually, strawberry seeds aren't really seeds. They are 'achenes', which are actually tiny fruits that contain seeds.

  • The strawberry was first cultivated in Brittany, France almost 300 years ago, however ancient herbiaries list strawberries as a medicinal cure as early as the 13th century.

  • Strawberries are not berries or even a fruit, technically. Berries are defined as having their seeds on the inside. The plant produces a fleshy "false fruit" aka pseudocarp from its flower, and what we think of as the seeds on the outside are the "true" fruits.

  • Wild strawberries can be yellow

  • Strawberries have more Vitamin C than oranges.

Grilled Strawberry-Rhubarb Sangria

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Total: 30 mins, Yield: 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Moscato Wine Jelly

  • 1/2 cup Strawberry Margarita Preserves

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

  • 2 pints strawberries, hulled

  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped rhubarb (2 large stalks), plus six 4-inch grilled stalks for garnish (optional)

  • One 2-inch piece of vanilla bean split lengthwise

  • 1 sprig of lemon verbena or lemon thyme, plus more for garnish

  • 6 wooden skewers, soaked in water

  • One 750-ml bottle Prosecco Brut, chilled

  • Ice

Directions

In a small pot, combine the brown sugar and white wine with 1/2 cup of water and bring to a simmer, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Dice 4 of the strawberries and add them to the syrup along with the chopped rhubarb and the vanilla bean. Simmer until the rhubarb is tender, 4 minutes. Transfer the syrup to a heatproof bowl and add the sprig of lemon verbena. Let cool, then refrigerate until cooled completely, about 45 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the solids.

Light a grill. Thread the remaining strawberries on the skewers and grill over moderately high heat until lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Let cool completely, then cut the strawberries in half lengthwise.

In a pitcher, combine Moscato Wine Jelly, Strawberry Margarita Preserves, the rhubarb syrup with half of the grilled strawberries, and the Prosecco. Serve the sangria over ice, garnished with the remaining grilled strawberries, lemon verbena sprigs, and grilled rhubarb stalks, if using.

Rhubarb

Saturday, September 18, 2021

~7.5 minutes reading time

  • Rhubarb originally grew in Asia and later exported to Europe in the 14th century by way of the Silk Road trade route thanks to Marco Polo, eventually making its way to North America via Ben Franklin, who sent the seed in the early 1800’s.

  • Rhubarb is a laxative. 3,000 years ago, rhubarb was used specifically for medicinal purposes. It was dried and consumed as a purgative (cleansing of the bowels), a carminative (reduce excess gas), and for ulcer treatment.

  • Rhubarb can be used for the purification of the blood, to induce vomiting (and elimination of toxins), prevent disease of gums, and as a cure for constipation.

  • Besides in the treatment of various disorders, rhubarb can be used as a source of food, pigments, and fibers.

  • Due to the numerous beneficial properties of this plant, rhubarb was more valuable than cinnamon in the 16th century in France and more expensive than opium in the 17th century in England.

  • Rhubarb saved the 1770’s Canadian fur traders from dying! Isolated on forts with a fiber-less diet of fish and meat, prolonged constipation was a major problem and could be deadly. Rhubarb grew well and became a necessity in the tradesmen’s medicinal forts due to its laxative effects and high vitamin C content, preventing any form of constipation or scurvy from occurring.

  • The darker the red stalk, the sweeter the rhubarb! The older, more traditional variety of green stalks are more mellow in flavor. If your rhubarb stalks are green, they’re not underripe or something. Some cultivars have greener stalks than others. The red color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, the same chemicals that make the leaves of some deciduous trees turn red in the autumn. All rhubarb is quite bitter in taste and therefore a great substitute for cranberries, and a good match with a sweeter fruit like strawberries.

  • Rhubarb is a perennial plant that can survive from 10 to 15 years in the wild. It is supremely tough and cold-hardy, so you usually have to do something really, really horrific to kill it once it becomes established. Like, drive over it with a truck. Or set it on fire. And it may even survive those things.

  • Rhubarb can reach 6 to 10 feet in height. Cultivated varieties are usually smaller. Rhubarb giants are common in Alaska where the summer days are very long and the extra hours of sun help the rhubarb grow. It prefers a temperate climate, moderately moist soil, and areas that provide plenty of sun.

  • Rhubarb likes cool weather and is best harvested in mid-spring to early summer.

  • Rhubarb develops long, thin stalks with rounded ridges on the surface. They grow from a short, thick rhizome. The color of the stalks varies from deep red to light green. The flesh is always white-colored. Stalks (petioles of the leaf) are the edible part of rhubarb. The shape of the rhubarb stalks resembles celery.

  • Fresh stalks have a sour taste and they are usually dipped in sugar before consumption. Small amounts of oxalic acid are found in the stalks, which we eat – the acidity gives rhubarb its “tang.” (You’ll find small amounts of oxalic acid present in sorrel and spinach, as well).

  • Rhubarb stalks are a rich source of dietary fibers, vitamin K and C, and minerals such as calcium, manganese, and potassium.

  • Each rhubarb stalk ends with a large, triangular, drooping leaf with a prominent midrib. Unlike stalks, leaves are not edible. They contain a high percent of oxalic acid which is toxic for humans. If eaten in large doses, the leaves can cause throat closure due to their high levels of oxalic acid, which is a poisonous acid used in stain remover, inks, and metal polish.

  • Leaves of rhubarb contain substances that repel insects. By boiling the leaves in water, people can produce a homemade insecticide that can eliminate pests from the garden.

  • Contrary to popular belief, even though rhubarb leaves are poisonous, they actually can be composted. The acids in them will break down like any other natural chemical found in plants and will not cause the compost to become toxic. Just make sure you chop those gigantic leaves up so that they’re easier for your composter to break down quickly. And you might not want to put too many in the composter at once, as not to upset the balance of the carbon to nitrogen ratio.

  • Rhubarb blooms in summer and produces small greenish-white or red flowers arranged in large clusters. Flowers are designed for pollination by wind. They are also able to perform self-pollination.

  • Even though most people consume rhubarb as a fruit in cooking and often eat it in desserts., botanically speaking it belongs to the group of vegetables. It is a part of the Polygonaceae buckwheat family. It's also known as the smartweed family which also includes sorrel. A New York court ruling in 1947 made it an official fruit in the United States to avoid the high tariffs imposed on imported vegetables. (It was cheaper at the time to bring fruits into the country).

  • Rhubarb’s binomial name is Rheum rhabarbarum – the specific epithet is from Latin and means “root of the barbarians.

  • The term rhubarb means a heated dispute. Ever wonder what background actors on stage are yelling about during a play? In the 1930’s, the word “rhubarb” would be repeated as their go-to ‘conversation’. This method was so popular that the Merriam-Webster dictionary added a heated dispute to the definition of rhubarb. In the 1940’s, it was commonly used as a descriptor of the on- and off-field shenanigans of fans and players at raucous baseball games.

  • In the United Kingdom, it is common to force an early rhubarb crop under pots in January and February. A second crop is planted outdoors for later harvest.

  • 90% of the world’s sweetest rhubarb is located in The Rhubarb Triangle of West Yorkshire, England. England was the first country to grow rhubarb for eating (not just medicinal purposes). The variety of rhubarb called Victorian Rhubarb was easy to grow, reliable, and consistently sweet and tender. So began the jams, jellies, custards, and tarts.

  • Rhubarb is often consumed in combination with strawberries, blueberries, and peaches and used for the preparation of various cakes, pies, fruit salads, and muffins.

  • Rhubarb is also known as "pie plant" because it is most commonly used for the preparation of pies.

  • Rhubarb can be also consumed in the form of jams, jellies, smoothies, and wines.

  • Fibers obtained from rhubarb can be used for the manufacture of paper.

  • f you like to dye textiles with natural plant-based dyes, rhubarb leaves make a good mordant (just be really careful while handling them!). The roots will produce a brown dye that can be used for the dyeing of hair. Leaves and stalks are sources of yellow and red dyes.

  • Store harvested rhubarb stalks in the fridge and use them up as soon as you can. Rhubarb freezes well so that’s an option if you have a huge harvest.

  • Do not harvest rhubarb in the heat, as the stalks will quickly wilt.

  • Speaking of harvesting rhubarb – pull or cut? Always pull! If you cut the stalks, you might encourage rot. And never, ever, take more than half of the stalks of the plant at a time.

  • If your rhubarb is damaged by a late spring frost, you can remove most of the stalks (leave at least 3 to 5 on the plant) and allow the plant to regrow – it should produce another crop shortly. Don’t eat the frozen stalks.

  • Rhubarb has really pretty, dramatic flowers – and as long as you don’t allow them to set seed, you can enjoy the flowers for a very brief time. You can keep harvesting the rhubarb stalks while the plant flowers – the quality of the produce does not suffer. If the plants set seed, however, the energy that would be devoted to the creation of delicious stalks is then diverted to the seeds, which you don’t want. You’ll end up with smaller stalks as a result. So if you want flowers AND yummy stalks, watch carefully to remove the blooms at just the right time.

  • 1 pound of fresh rhubarb yields about 3 cups chopped or 2 cups cooked

Strawberry Cake with Sour Whipped Cream

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Active: 30 mins, Total: 3 hrs, Yield: 8

Ingredients:

Cake-

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered, plus more for serving

  • 1 ¼ cups sugar

  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing

  • 2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 egg yolks (large at room temperature)

  • 2 eggs (large at room temperature)

  • 1/4 Strawberry Margarita Preserves

  • ⅓ cup sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Toppings-

  • 1 cup Strawberry Margarita Preserves

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 cup sour cream

Directions

  1. Make the cake In a medium bowl, mix the 1 pound of strawberries with 1/4 cup of sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Strain the berries through a fine-mesh sieve set over a small bowl. In a food processor, pulse the macerated strawberries until finely chopped.

  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. Generously butter a 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. In a medium bowl, whisk the 2 1/3 cups of flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the 1 1/2 sticks of butter with the remaining 1 cup of sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the egg yolks and eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated; scrape down the side of the bowl. At low speed, beat in the 1/4 cup of Strawberry Margarita Preserves, sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat in the dry ingredients until just combined, then beat in the chopped strawberries. Scrape the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Transfer to a rack and let cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Invert the cake onto the cooling rack, then set the rack on the baking sheet.

  3. Meanwhile, make the toppings. In a small saucepan, warm 1 cup of Strawberry Margarita Preserves, stirring until the jam is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Using a wooden skewer, gently poke holes all over the cake. Slowly pour the Strawberry Margarita Preserves over the top, letting it get absorbed before adding more. Let the cake cool completely.

  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the heavy cream, sour cream, and a tad of sugar until soft peaks form. Slice the cake and serve with the sour whipped cream, reserved Strawberry Margarita Preserves, and more fresh strawberries.

Make-Ahead: The cake can be prepared through Step 2 and loosely wrapped in foil. Store at room temperature overnight.

R

Friday, September 10, 2021

>1 Minute Reading Time

  • In early Christian artwork, raspberries were used to symbolize kindness.

  • Most raspberries are red, but some are actually white, yellow, or black.

  • Raspberries and blackberries are called aggregate fruit. They are made up of hundreds of little fruits. Each one contains a seed.

  • Until 2015, raisin farmers in the United States had to set aside a certain amount of raisins to the “national raisin reserve.” There is even a Raisin Administrative Committee to enforce the law. This was done to control the price of raisins. U.S. raisin farmers aren't allowed to sell all the raisins they grow; they must contribute to a "national raisin reserve" if supply exceeds demand. The Raisin Administrative Committee is currently pursuing a legal vendetta against farmer Marvin Horne for refusing to contribute to the reserve and selling all of his raisins instead. This isn't as crazy as it sounds; most fruit growers sell according to rules set by associations intended to offset market fluctuation and protect their economic interests. But raisins are naturally more reservable than fresh, perishable fruit — & the RAC seems hell-bent on getting this raisin outlaw to toe the line.

  • The leaves of the rhubarb plant are extremely poisonous. The leaves contain kidney-damaging and potentially fatal amounts of oxalic acid, "a chemical compound found in bleach, metal cleaners and anti-rust products." But the stalks are totally safe to eat, which, thank goodness, because they sure make tasty pie.

BRITISH SEVILLE ORANGE MARMALADE CAKE

Monday, September 6, 2021

Yield: 1 cake

  • 10 ounces all-purpose flour

  • 10 ½ ounces cane sugar

  • 4 free-range eggs

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • Orange Cinnamon Marmalade

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F, grease a medium-size cake pan, and line with parchment paper

  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time continuing to mix well. Gradually add flour, a pinch of salt, and ⅓ jar Orange Cinnamon Marmalade

  3. Pour cake mix into cake pan and bake 50-60 minutes until golden

  4. Let cake cool, glaze with ⅓ jar Orange Cinnamon Marmalade, slice, and Enjoy!

Quince

Thursday, September 2, 2021

~2.5 Minutes Reading Time

  • Because apples were unknown in the ancient world, a quince might well have tempted Eve, and the golden apples of the Hesperides, given to Aphrodite by Paris of Troy, were probably quinces, too.

  • Quince is best known for its strong, tropical, and fruity aroma. This fruit was an inevitable part of wedding ceremonies in ancient Greece. Bride consumed quince to ensure pleasantly smelling, "perfumed lips".

  • Ancient Greeks associated the quince with fertility, and it played an important role in wedding celebrations. It was offered as a gift, used to sweeten the bride’s breath before entering the bridal chamber, and shared by the bride and groom. Thanks to these associations, the quince has become known as the “fruit of love, marriage, and fertility.”

  • In Greece, quince was sacred to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and fertility.

  • Quince was popular and often consumed in ancient Rome. Romans usually prepared quince by mixing it with honey and leek.

  • The alchemist and confectioner Nostradamus left several written recipes for quince compote in his book. His writings explained that chefs who peeled the fruit before cooking it did not know what they were doing, as the skin actually accentuates the smell of the fruit.

  • In the Middle Ages, quince was highly valued. It was often served at tables of monarchs and aristocrats, who ate it at banquets and luxury culinary events as a sign of their greatness.

  • The medicinal qualities of quince have been appreciated to be true since ancient times. Shakespeare wrote that quince was the “stomach’s comforter.”

  • Quince is a small tree that can reach 16 to 26 feet in height.

  • Quince develops simple, ovate leaves with smooth margins. They are pale green-colored due to a dense layer of white hairs on the surface. Leaves are alternately arranged on the branches.

  • Quince produces large, pink, or white individual flowers at the end of the branches. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs.

  • Quince blooms during the spring and summer. Flowers attract bees (natural pollinators), but they are also able to perform self-pollination.

  • The fruit of quince is large pome. The fruit has yellowish-white flesh filled with stone cells and numerous seeds in the middle. The surface of the fruit is covered with yellow skin that has a rough and woolly texture.

  • Quince which grows in the temperate regions produces unpalatable, tart, and astringent fruit that needs to be thermally processed before consumption (high temperatures destroy tannins, bitter compounds). Quince can be consumed in the form of compotes, preserves, jellies, or as an ingredient of dishes made of seafood, poultry, and lamb.

  • Quince which grows in tropical areas produces fruit with soft flesh which tastes like a blend of apple and pear. Tropical quince can be consumed raw.

  • Quince is rich in Vitamins A, B, and C, fiber, as well as minerals like potassium, copper, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Also, quince is rich in certain organic compounds like catechin, epicatechin, limonene, and various other phytonutrients, all of which contribute to the health benefits of quince.

  • Quince is often used as a rootstock for grafting the pears. Created hybrids remain small in size, but they produce a substantial amount of fruit that reaches maturity more quickly.

  • Turkey is the greatest manufacturer of quince in the world with nearly 128.000 metric tons of fruit produced each year.

  • Health benefits include an ability to help prevent cancer, aid in weight loss, improving digestive health, reducing cholesterol, boosting immune system strength, preventing gastrointestinal diseases, soothing inflammation, increasing the health of your skin, decreasing blood pressure, preventing allergic reactions, & stimulating circulation in the cardiovascular system.

  • Mucus obtained by soaking the seed of quince into the water can be used in the treatment of skin irritation and gastrointestinal discomfort.

  • Quince is a perennial plant that can survive more than 50 years in the wild.

  • The term “marmalade”, originally meaning a quince jam, derives from marmelo, the Portuguese word for this fruit.

Prime Rib with Spicy Cherry Conserva, Truffle, & Chocolate

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Active: 1 hr 15 mins, Total: 5 hrs 15 mins, Yield: 12 to 14

Ingredient

-One 14-pound 50-day dry-aged prime rib roast, rib bones frenched

-Kosher salt

-Pepper

-2 bunches of long rosemary sprigs

-1.5 - 2 cups of Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly

-Softened beurre de baratte or other European-style butter

-Finely grated bitter chocolate (80%)

-Shaved summer truffle, such as Périgord, for serving

Directions

1. Put the prime rib roast on a large rimmed baking sheet and generously season all over with salt. Refrigerate uncovered overnight. Let the roast stand at room temperature for 2 hours before cooking.

2. Preheat the oven to 475°. Set a rack in a large roasting pan and lay the rosemary sprigs across the rack. Season the roast all over with salt and set it on the rosemary, fat side up. Roast for 30 minutes, until browned. Reduce the oven temperature to 275° and roast for 40 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers about 65°. Remove from the oven and let stand for 30 minutes. Return the roast to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 125°, 40 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let rest for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly with a pinch of salt and pepper over moderately high heat until soft. Keep warm over very low heat.

4. Transfer the roast to a very large carving board. Carve between the bones. Spread the steaks with some softened butter and top with the warm Scotch Bonnet Cherry conserva, finely grated chocolate, and shaved truffle. Serve.

P

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

~1.5 Minutes Reading Time

  • Low-acid white-fleshed peaches are the most popular kinds in China, Japan, and neighboring Asian countries, while Europeans and North Americans have historically favored the acidic, yellow-fleshed cultivars. In China, peach is a symbol of good luck, protection, and longevity.

  • Donut peaches are a natural mutant peach variety, not a human-engineered fruit. And not, alas, a cross between a donut and a peach. But they ARE delicious — firmer and more sweet and fragrant than most boring old spherical peaches. The lil flatties originated in China but have found enthusiastic fans worldwide in recent years.

  • Pear trees can grow up to a whopping 60 feet tall and can be over 300 years old.

  • Pears ripen from the inside out – and are the only fruit to do so.

  • World’s most expensive pear is Buddha shaped pears $9.00 each. These pears look exactly like a Buddha statue, even down to the facial details. A mold was made by Chinese farmer Xianzhang Hao of the Hebei province.

  • The name pomegranate derives from medieval Latin pōmum meaning “apple” and grānātum eaning “seeded.”

  • One pomegranate can hold more than 1,400 seeds or 'arils'. Contrary to the Torah-based myth that every pomegranate has 613 seeds.

  • Pomegranates are high in vitamin C, K, folate, and fiber.

  • Pumpkin seeds contain more protein than an equal amount of ground beef. Broccoli also has more protein per calorie than steak. Guess those vegetarians and vegans were on to something.

  • Peppers are great even if most people use them as a spice rather than using them as a food. A little-known fact about cayenne peppers is that they can promote the clotting of blood over wounds. According to experts, you can sprinkle some cayenne pepper into a wound where it will act as gauze. This will help stop the bleeding. Eating cayenne pepper can also help equalize blood pressure and promote clotting from the inside. That means it doesn’t matter if you eat it or literally put it on the wound, it will help it heal faster.

  • In October 1995, NASA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison collaborated to help grow the first vegetable to be grown in space: potatoes.

  • The shiniest living thing on Earth is an African fruit known as pollia condensate

  • Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that grows papayas to market and sell.

  • Consuming passion fruit might help with falling asleep and lowering anxiety levels.

Yucatán Garlic Butter Shrimp

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Prep Time: 5 Minutes, Cook Time: 8 Minutes, Total Time: 13 Minutes, Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, 1 stick

  • 4 tablespoons of Garlic Jelly

  • 1 tablespoon of Habanero Jelly

  • 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 3 tablespoons fresh key lime juice

  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. Place a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the butter, Garlic Jelly, Habanero Jelly, and the crushed red pepper and melt for 2-3 minutes.

  2. Add the shrimp to the skillet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, stir, and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink and form C's. (If they shrink into O's, you've overcooked them.)

  3. Turn the heat off and stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Taste, then season with salt as needed.

  4. Serve warm.

Pineapples

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

~1.5 Minutes Reading Time

  • Pineapples regenerate! You can plant pineapple leaves to grow a new plant. You can grow a pineapple by twisting the crown off a store-bought pineapple, allowing it to air dry for a few days, and then planting it.

  • Is that pineapple in your kitchen ripening too slowly? Stand it on the spiky end. Pineapples are actually berries and it’s ripening can be speeded up by making it stand upside down (leafy side down).

  • Pineapple has protein bromelain that degrades meat. So, if you put a piece of pineapple somewhere in your mouth it will start eating you.

  • A pineapple is not an "apple" it is actually a berry.

  • Each pineapple plant only produces one pineapple per year.

  • Most fruits develop in 3 to 4 months, but it takes about 18 months to two years for a pineapple to grow to its full size.

  • The name "pineapple" came from European explorers who thought the fruit looked like a pinecone with flesh like an apple.

  • Canned pineapple was first made in 1901 but wasn't widely available until engineer Henry Ginaca invented a machine in 1911 that could remove the outer shell, inner core, and both ends of 100 pineapples in less than a minute! This machine, known as the "Ginaca machine", is still used in pineapple canneries today.

  • You can't put fresh pineapple in Jell-O because the bromelain content prevents gelatin from setting. Canned pineapple, on the other hand, can be added to Jell-O because the canning process destroys the bromelain.

  • The pineapple is a combination of many individual flowers, or berries fused together around a core. Pineapples contain about 75% of the daily recommended amount of manganese for strong bones. It takes three years for a pineapple to mature.

  • Believe it or not, it’s absolutely true. A little-known fact about pineapple is that it contains an enzyme called bromelain. If you read other sources they all say pretty much the same things. This enzyme breaks down proteins in your mouth, namely your taste buds. This can wreck your palate for the rest of the day until your mouth can heal itself. A fun fact that a lot of people throw around is that the enzyme bromelain is used in meat tenderizers. Pineapple is a fruit and that means it’s great for you, but you should probably let a freshly sliced pineapple sit in the fridge for a bit before eating it so the enzymes can break down.

  • As pineapples were so expensive in colonial times, people would simply rent these flavorful fruits and show them off to others as a sign of wealth.

Strawberry, Banana, and Almond Butter Smoothie

Friday, August 13, 2021

Total: 10 mins, Yield: 1 drink

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen peeled banana (cut into -inch pieces)

  • ½ cup frozen strawberries

  • ¼ cup plain low-fat yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon plus teaspoon almond butter

  • 3 tablespoons of Strawberry Banana Jam

  • 1 cup water

Directions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth

O

Monday, August 9, 2021

<30 Seconds Reading Time

  • Onions can make you cry and make your breath smell terrible. Believe it or not, the reason onions do those things are the exact same reason why onions are good for you. Onions contain over 100 sulfide-containing compounds. These contain a number of health benefits such as the prevention of asthma and some types of cancer. Onions are related to leeks, garlic, chives, and scallions. While they don’t all have the same level of health benefits, they do all have similar health benefits.

  • Olives are actually fruits and their trees can be old – really old – standing tall for more than 1,500 years.

ALBÓNDIGAS EN SALSA DE ALMENDRAS

(SPANISH MEATBALLS WITH ALMOND SAUCE)

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Serving Size: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2lbs ground beef

  • 3 small bell peppers, diced

  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs and 2 whole slices of bread

  • 6 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 cup white wine

  • Parsley, chopped

  • Sweet & Spicy Double Onion Marmalade

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F

  2. In a bowl, combine beef, egg, breadcrumbs, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and a handful of parsley with your hands

  3. Shape meatballs by rolling portions of the beef mixture between the palms of your hands

  4. Coat each meatball in flour and set it aside

  5. Preheat a skillet over high heat and add 3 Tbsp olive oil

  6. Add meatballs to skillet and brown on the outside to seal in the juices and create a delicious crust. Remove from heat

  7. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add remaining olive oil and toast almonds, stirring occasionally

  8. Tear bread slices into large pieces and add to saucepan, letting ingredients absorb the oils then remove from heat

  9. Add wine, ⅓ cup water, Sweet & Spicy Double Onion Marmalade, diced bell peppers and simmer to reduce the sauce and emulsify the mixture

  10. Add meatballs to the sauce, simmer for a further 10 minutes, and season with salt and pepper to taste

  11. Transfer to a casserole dish and bake in the oven for 10 minutes then garnish with parsley

  12. Serve with rice or - the Spanish way - with patatas fritas (French fries) and Enjoy!

Oranges

Sunday, August 1, 2021

<2 Minutes Reading Time

  • The color orange is named after the orange fruit. Before orange made its way from China to Europe, yellow-red was called simply that: yellow-red, or even just red. Orange peel can be used by gardeners to sprinkle over vegetables as a slug repellent.

  • Oranges are the largest citrus crop in the world.

  • Brazil is the leading orange-producing country in the world while Florida and California together produce nearly 25 billion pounds of oranges each year!

  • Florida oranges may be greener than California oranges because the night temperatures in Florida are warmer, which causes more chlorophyll to migrate into the peel; they are still ripe and sweet though.

  • There is more fiber in an orange than in most other fruits and veggies.

  • Technically the orange is a berry called hesperidium, indicating that the fruit has sections and grows on evergreen trees.

  • The peels of oranges contain essential oils that are used aromatherapy, cleaning products, and cooking.

  • Contrary to what most of us think, this fruit was not named for its color. Instead, the word orange comes from a transliteration of the Sanskrit 'naranga', which comes from the Tamil 'naru', which means "fragrant."!

  • The peel of an orange fruit has four times more fiber than the actual fruit. There are also a significant amount of antioxidants in the peel too. You can get some of those benefits by grating some peel into your next meal. Wonder if candied peels count too?

  • In sub-tropical growing regions (like Brazil, the country that grows the most oranges in the world) there are never temperatures cold enough to break down the chlorophyll in the fruit's skin, which means it may still be yellow or green even when it's ripe. But because American consumers can't fathom such a phenomenon, imported oranges get treated with ethylene gas to get rid of the chlorophyll and turn them orange.

  • This also means that Florida oranges tend to be yellower than California oranges, because they're grown further south.

  • Orange peels have over four times the amount of fiber of the actual fruit. It also contains more antioxidants than the actual fruit. The only downside is that it’s difficult to find a way to eat it. The best way is to grate it up like cheese into an orange zest. You can use that to season all sorts of foods. This is how they make orange chicken in Chinese restaurants. Not bad for a part of the fruit that almost everyone simply throws away.

  • If you plant a single orange seed, you’ll probably get more than one plant from it.

  • Some oranges-mainly those grown in tropical areas of land-are green and/or yellow in color

No-Cook Blackberry Lemon Ice Cream

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Makes 2 quarts

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups pureed blackberries

  • 1/4 cup Blackberry Jam

  • 1/4 cup Meyer Lemon Marmalade

  • 3 cups half and half

  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

  1. Whisk all your ingredients in a large bowl.  If you want the ice cream to be extra smooth, straining the mixture through a sieve to remove the blackberry seeds.

  2. Chill the mixture in the fridge for 8 hours.

  3. Add the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Stick the finished ice cream in the freezer for at least an hour before serving to harden it even more.  

Nopal

Saturday, July 24, 2021

<1 Minutes Reading Time

  • Nopal, commonly referred to as “prickly pear cactus” in English, is a staple in Mexican dishes. Nopales have citrus and tart flavor characteristics, making them easy to use in a side dish or to include in the main course. The high liquid content allows you to avoid adding liquid when making a stir fry. Nopales can also be consumed raw. Popular Mexican nopal dishes include huevos con nopales, and tacos de nopales.

  • Nopal plants are easily shareable. All you need to do is find a friend or neighbor with a nopal plant, cut off a piece and plant it in your own yard. This is a popular tradition among Mexican families and is an easy addition to any garden.

  • Nopal plants spout twice a year: in the spring and the fall. This is the best time to eat fresh nopal, as they are at their juiciest.

  • It’s one of the most drought-tolerant vegetables. With water conservation of rising concern, growing drought-tolerant plants for consumption is more important and popular than ever. Nopales are a darling of drought tolerance and only need to be watered once a month!

Summer Berry Pudding

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

~PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES, 10 Servings

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of Tutti Frutti Preserves

  • 2 Tbsp. sugar

  • 1-lb. loaf brioche or challah bread, cut crosswise into 1' slices

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation

  1. Line pan with plastic wrap. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.

  2. Spread bread slices with butter. Mix 2 Tbsp. sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle over bread slices.

  3. Drizzle 1/2 cup warm Tutti Frutti Preserves over the bottom of the pan. Line pan with a single layer of bread, cutting to fit as needed. Pour 1 1/2 cups Tutti Frutti Preserves over. Repeat layering 2 more times. Pour any remaining Tutti Frutti Preserves over. Cover with plastic. Set a plate slightly smaller than the pan on top of the pudding to weigh down, keeping bread submerged. Chill for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Remove plate and plastic from the top of the pudding. Invert onto a plate. Release pan sides; remove pan and plastic.

N

Friday, July 16, 2021

~1 Minutes Reading Time

  • Nectarines can be a pale white color, instead of their typical yellow, on the inside.

  • A nectarine (Prunus persica variety nectarina) is a fuzzless variety of peach. Fuzziness is a dominant trait of peaches. The expression of a recessive allele is thought to be responsible for the smooth skin of nectarine fruits, which lack the fuzzy trichomes (plant hairs) characteristic of peach fruits.

  • Occasionally when peach trees are crossed or even self pollinated they will produce some fruit whose seeds will grow into nectarine trees and others which will be peach trees. Nectarines will sometimes appear on peach trees, and peaches sometimes appear on nectarine trees!

  • It is impossible to tell which seeds from nectarine trees will produce nectarine bearing trees, so commercial growers take branches which produce nectarines and graft them onto peach trees. The branches will continue to produce nectarines.

  • In appearance, nectarine trees are the same as peach trees, and are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Tree size and shape, leaves, and even buds look the same. Nectarines, however, are smaller and smooth skinned (looking more like plums), golden yellow with large blushes of red (ripe fruit looks the same as unripe - the color does not change significantly, but they do get sweeter and softer). Their yellow flesh has a noticeable pink tinge, with a distinct aroma and a more pronounced flavor.

  • There are over 100 varieties of nectarine, both freestone and clingstone varieties, the same as for peaches. (Freestones flesh separates from the 'pit' easily, while clingstones cling to the 'pit'). Nectarines are more delicate than peaches, bruising very easily.

  • Nectarines, like peaches, probably originated in China over 2,000 years ago and were cultivated in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. They spread via the Silk Road and were grown in Great Britain in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, and were introduced to America by the Spanish.

  • Today, California grows over 95% of the nectarines produced in the United States.

  • The name ‘nectarine’ comes from the sweet food the gods eat, sweet as ‘nectar’.

Grilled Corn with Mango-Habanero Butter

Monday, July 12, 2021

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mango Mango Peach Jalapeño Jam

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 tablespoons packed cilantro leaves, chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 8 ears of corn

Directions:

  1. In a food processor add Mango Peach Jalapeño Jam, the butter, cilantro leaves, and salt and puree until smooth. Scrape the mango butter into a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

  2. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Pull the corn husks down to the base of the stalks, leaving the husks attached. Discard the corn silk. Using butcher string, tie back the husks. Fill a large bowl with cold, salted water and submerge the corn for 10 minutes.

  3. Drain the corn but don't pat dry. Grill the corn over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until tender and browned in spots, about 8 minutes. Transfer the corn to plates, spread with the mango-habanero butter, and serve.

Make-Ahead: The mango-habanero butter can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

M

Thursday, July 8, 2021

<10 Seconds Reading Time

  • Miracle fruit is a fruit that, when eaten, causes sour foods to taste sweet for at least an hour or two after consumption.

  • The mangosteen is known as the “queen of fruits.”

A Blackberry Jam Bramble

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 ounces of gin

  • 1 ounce lemon juice

  • 3 tablespoons Blackberry Jam

Combine everything in a shaker filled with ice and shake until it gets too cold to hold. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a lowball filled with crushed ice, and garnish with a strip or lemon zest, or a blackberry if you have one lying around.

Mangos

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

<30 Seconds Reading Time

  • The world’s most popular fruit? The mango.

  • Orangutans love eating mangoes! Mangoes are the most loved and the No 1 fruit in the world.

  • Mangoes were first grown in India over 5,000 years ago. In fact, the paisley pattern which was first developed there is based on the shape of a mango. The Mango fruit is highly prized among the Tamil culture, as it is a symbol of health, peace and prosperity.

  • Mangos are known as “the King of Fruit” throughout most of the world.

  • A mango tree can grow to be 100 feet tall.

Elevated Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Saturday, June 26, 2021

~7 Minutes Reading Time

Today we're taking a page out of Insider's Erin McDowell's book with 20 easy ways to make grilled cheese sandwiches better using things you have in your kitchen. https://www.insider.com/easy-ways-elevate-grilled-cheese-sandwiches-2021-1?amp

Preserves

To add a ton of flavor to a simple grilled cheese, adding ingredients like chutney, tomato jam, or bacon jam can totally change the flavor profile... If you've got sweet or savory condiments like pepper jelly or onion relish sitting in the back of your fridge, those work great in a grilled cheese...

Sourdough Bread

"You don't want to choose a bread that's super dense or something that's not going to get crisp," Laura Werlin, the author of "Grilled Cheese, Please" and "Great Grilled Cheese" told Insider. "Sourdough is my go-to bread for grilled cheese sandwiches. It's the most versatile and keeps it interesting. Texturally, it's got all these little nooks and crannies that allow the butter, oil, or mayonnaise to really crisp up."

"You want to get the ratio of bread to cheese right, and you're not going to get that if your bread is too thick," she continued. "A half-inch slice of bread is what I recommend."

"What you want to be careful of is choosing a bread that has sugar in it," Heidi Gibson said. "If your bread has sugar in it, it will burn more quickly. You're going to be better off with a more rustic bread than a loaf of processed sandwich bread."

Grated Cheese

"With grilled cheese sandwiches, the world is your oyster," Laura Werlin told Insider. "You can put almost anything you like in between two slices of bread with cheese and grill it. However, it's called a grilled cheese for a reason — you still want the cheese to be the star."

"Grated cheese often works better than sliced cheese," Werlin said. "That's because you want the cheese to melt as quickly as possible, so the bread doesn't have a chance to burn. There's nothing more disappointing than making a grilled cheese sandwich and cutting it open to find the cheese isn't oozing out because it's not cooked through."

Werlin also explains that you can mix butter with some grated Parmesan and brush it on the outside to get a crispy coating.

Experimenting with different cheeses, like blue cheese, can seriously up your grilled cheese game.

Blue Cheese

Werlin recommends using cheeses that are "medium to medium-hard," such as Monterey Jack, Swiss, or Gruyere. Heidi Gibson also recommends a cheese like Havarti, which is a little softer and melts very easily.

You can also experiment with cheeses that have a distinct flavor, such as goat cheese, blue cheese, or ricotta. However, you want to be sure that none of the other ingredients compete or distract with the flavor of the cheese you choose.

"The cheese or cheeses that you use will determine the ooze factor," Werlin said. "There's nothing better than melted brie, but if you use just that on a grilled cheese sandwich it doesn't become a stretchy cheese, it just becomes kind of messy. If you want the stretchy factor, you're going to want to add a slightly harder cheese to get that stretch factor."

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise can add another savory flavor element to a grilled cheese sandwich, so you just want to be wary if you're using other strongly flavored ingredients. "Mayonnaise definitely makes for a crisp sandwich, there's no question," Laura Werlin said. Many home cooks swear by smearing your bread in mayonnaise to get your sandwich extra crispy.

Butter

However, butter is a chef-approved alternative that adds a deliciously rich flavor to grilled cheese. "With grilled cheese sandwiches, it's a canvas," Heidi Gibson, the co-owner of American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco, co-author of "Grilled Cheese Kitchen: Bread + Cheese + Everything in Between," and winner of multiple grilled cheese competitions, told Insider. "There's a lot of flexibility there. For me, that's part of the fun. How can I make a grilled cheese sandwich into something extraordinary with these humble beginnings?"

Both Laura Werlin and Heidi Gibson swear by using butter on the outside of grilled cheese sandwiches. "I just love butter so much and the richness it brings to a sandwich," Werlin said. "What's on the inside will really dictate what fat I'm using. For example, if I'm making a riff on an Italian Caprese sandwich with tomato and basil, I'm not going to use butter. I'm going to use olive oil."

"You can also make a compound butter by softening the butter and mixing in whichever spices you want to use," Gibson said. "You can add chipotle powder, garlic, sage, rosemary, or thyme and get even more flavor in there. When you spread it on the outside, you get those layers of flavor."

Olive Oil

You can also experiment with different kinds of oils on the outside of your grilled cheese. You can elevate the flavor of your grilled cheese by smearing the outside of your bread with everything from olive oil to truffle oil. Werlin recommends always spreading or brushing the oil directly onto the bread, rather than in the pan, so that the bread gets evenly crispy.

Whether you're using oil, butter, or mayonnaise, Werlin also recommends using a nonstick pan for cooking your grilled cheese sandwich and covering it to expedite the melting of the cheese.

Peanut Butter

In her book "Grilled Cheese, Please," Laura Werlin gives a recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich with whole wheat bread, peanut butter, bologna slices, cheese, and dill pickles. Though this might sound disgusting, she explains that, somehow, the flavors all come together. "I cook those bologna slices a little bit to get them crispy and put a little mayonnaise on the outside," she told Insider. "It sounds weird, but it's honestly really good."

Bacon

Bacon makes everything more delicious, including grilled cheese sandwiches. Bacon is an ingredient that might already be in your fridge or on your weekly grocery list, and adding it to a grilled cheese sandwich can take your meal to the next level.

Ham

Ham pairs perfectly with easily melted cheeses like Swiss or Gorgonzola and adds a ton of flavor without any extra prep work. Simply add a slice or two or your favorite sandwich ham and you're good to go. "Ham is great, but it should be thinly sliced," Werlin said. "You're adding that smokey flavor."

Pancetta

Cured meats like pancetta or bacon last longer in your fridge than fresh meats and make a great addition to most grilled cheese sandwich combinations. "I do like pancetta on grilled cheese sandwiches," Werlin said. "The only caveat is that, like bacon, you're going to have to cook it first."

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach, broccoli rabe, or arugula can add a fresh quality and cut through the richness of the cheese. A grilled cheese made with rich, gooey cheese and heavy bread can easily become too rich. Adding leafy greens and other vegetables can cut through that richness and make your sandwich more balanced. "Arugula and spinach will melt brilliantly," Werlin said. "Almost any vegetable will lend itself to a grilled cheese sandwich, but if it's a hard vegetable like a carrot or broccoli or cauliflower, but they have to be briefly cooked first."

Cream Cheese

Adding a smear of your favorite flavored cream cheese can also make for an extra creamy sandwich. Whether you opt for plain, scallion, or onion and chives, a light dolloping of cream cheese is sure to take your sandwich to the next level. However, be sure to either grill your sandwich quickly or go light on the cream cheese, as it will melt very quickly.

Avocado

Avocado adds a delicious creamy aspect to grilled cheeses, but you might want to choose a harder cheese with a slightly higher melting point so it doesn't make your sandwich too moist.

Roasted Peppers

Roasted or sautéed peppers also add a lot of flavor and texture to grilled cheese sandwiches. Bell peppers can be used in a number of different recipes, so they'll never go to waste in your fridge. However, if you're using them in a grilled cheese sandwich, Laura Werlin recommends cooking them a little bit before adding them.

"Bell peppers should be a little bit softer when you put them in, so you might want to roast them," she said. "The key with vegetables is getting the water out, otherwise you end up with a watery grilled cheese," Heidi Gibson told Insider.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Heidi Gibson explains that part of the magic of making a gourmet grilled cheese is taking the flavor combinations you love and figuring out how to incorporate them into a grilled cheese sandwich. "If you look at Italian dishes like butternut squash and sage ravioli, you can make that into a grilled cheese," she told Insider. "It's reformatting those beloved flavors. Butternut squash, Fontina cheese, and sage are great in a grilled cheese. You can make sage butter, roast slices of butternut squash, play with it, and voilà, you've got a really interesting grilled cheese."

Pickled Red Onion

Pickled red onion adds a briny flavor to grilled cheese sandwiches and can be prepared in a matter of minutes. Laura Werlin and Heidi Gibson that adding pickled red onions is one way to easily elevate your grilled cheese sandwiches without a ton of effort. "It takes five minutes to make pickled red onions and they work so well," Gibson said.

Pickles

Pickles also add a fantastic crunch to grilled cheese sandwiches. "Pickled items are really delicious, particularly when you're using Alpine-style cheeses like Gruyere or Raclette," Werlin told Insider.

"Olives and pickled okra also work really well in a grilled cheese," Gibson said. "Any time of pickle with a hard acid really balances out the cheese."

Tomato

Tomato slices are a fan-favorite addition to grilled cheese sandwiches. Cheese and tomato are a match made in heaven, so why not add this common ingredient to grilled cheese? Werlin also explains that tomatoes are a great addition because you don't have to pre-cook them before adding them to a grilled cheese sandwich.

Leftovers

If you have leftovers hanging around your kitchen, try incorporating them into your grilled cheese. "You can take Indian dishes like butter chicken or chicken tagine you might have prepared the night before and put that inside a grilled cheese," Heidi Gibson told Insider. "It's delicious."

L

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

<30 Seconds Reading Time

  • According to The Reams Biological Ionization Theory (RBTI), the lemon is the ONLY food in the world that is anionic (an ion with a negative charge). All other foods are cationic (the ion has a positive charge.) This makes it extremely useful to health as it is the interaction between anions and cations that ultimately provides all cell energy.

  • Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.

  • Lemons are a cross between sour oranges and citrons.

  • Most lime species are natives of Asia.

  • The loganberry is a mix of blackberries and raspberries.

  • The seeds of lychee are poisonous and should not be consumed.

A Sidecar Named Desire

Friday, June 18, 2021

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces cognac

  • 3 tablespoons Stone Fruit Jam

  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice, with a piece of the lemon zest set aside

Combine everything in a shaker filled with ice and shake until well chilled, about 12 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a chilled coupe glass, and express the oils from the zest over your drink. If you feel like throwing some cocktail bitter in there for extra depth, you can.

Kiwis

Monday, June 14, 2021

<15 Seconds Reading Time

  • A kiwi fruit has twice as much vitamin C as an orange.

  • Kiwi fruits are actually berries and grow like grapes on vines that can be up to 6 feet tall.

  • The tangy, fuzzy fruit is also rich in potassium and copper.

  • Kiwi fruits were originally called “melonettes”

  • Kiwis, at one time, were known as Chinese Gooseberries.

Four Ingredients Glazed Sous-Vide Lamb Shanks

Thursday, June 10, 2021

~Total: 40 mins, Yield: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 lamb shanks

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup of Scotch Bonnet Cherry Preserves

  • 1/4 cup mustard (Both Dijon and yellow work well.)

Liberally season every side of each shank with kosher salt—it should be coated, but not caked—and place them in a vacuum, sous-vide, or double freezer bag (just set one freezer bag inside another). Seal with a vacuum sealer or express the excess air using the water-immersion technique, then let the shanks hang out in the bath at 170℉ for 24 hours.

Once the cooking time has elapsed, remove the bag from the bath, set the shanks in an oven-safe dish, and pour the juices through a sieve into a sauce pan, along with the Scotch Bonnet Cherry Preserves and mustard. Whisk to combine, then heat over medium-high heat until simmering. Let reduce until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, then brush it over the lamb. Pop the lamb under the broiler for a few minutes, until the glaze starts to bubble and caramelize, then brush it with even more glaze. Serve with the rest of your feast.

Jackfruits

Sunday, June 6, 2021

<10 Seconds Reading Time

  • The jackfruit has been determined to be the largest tree fruit in the world. The jackfruit can weigh as much as 100 pounds. There has been jackfruit that has grown as tall as 4 feet in height!

A Morning Martini

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Ingredients:

  • 3 generous bar spoons of Mango Peach Jalapeño Jam

  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

  • 2 ounces gin

Add Mango Peach Jalapeño Jam and lemon juice to the bottom of an empty cocktail shaker and stir until jam dissolves. Add gin and fill shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe or martini glass. Sip and start your day off delightfully.

Honeydews

Saturday, May 29, 2021

<30 Seconds Reading Time

  • The honeydew was revered as a sacred food by the ancient Egyptians.

  • Napoleon and Pope John Paul II both considered Honeydew melons their favorite fruit. 

  • Honeydews were first cultivated in Persia and northern Africa nearly 4,000 years ago, and later by ancient Greeks and Romans. Introduced to western and northern Europe during the Middle Ages, melons were harvested by the Spaniards and later the French and British. Christopher Columbus brought over the first honeydew seeds to North America on his second expedition. The honeydew melon was introduced to California by Spanish missionaries in 1683. 

  • Honeydew is the American name for the cultivar White Antibes that has been grown for many years in southern France and Algeria.

  • The honeydew is considered the sweetest melon.

  • Honey Dew melons are also known as “Temptation Melons.”

  • The ancient Egyptians considered honeydew (melon) to be a sacred fruit.

Sweet Wine Glazed Bananas

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Ingredients:

  • 3 firm bananas sliced or halved

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1/4 cup Mulled Red Wine Jelly

Instructions:

Fry firm bananas in butter until cooked through. Add Mulled Red Wine Jelly and continue to cook until the bananas are coated. Serve over French toast, waffles, pancakes or French vanilla ice cream.

Grapefruits

Friday, May 21, 2021

<45 Seconds Reading Time

  • Taking a prescription cholesterol drug? Stay away from grapefruit, which contains an enzyme that can negate the drug’s effects. Drinking Grapefruit juice while taking some prescription medications can cause instant overdose and death.

  • Persons taking certain prescription drugs have to be careful what fruit they consume. Eating a grapefruit, which is a good source of Vitamin C, can become life-threatening. Since the grapefruit contains compounds which change how your body metabolizes certain drugs, the body can absorb larger amounts of the drug than is beneficial, which can cause medical problems and death.

  • Grapefruit can cause dangerous reactions with some prescription medications. From the New York Times, last year: "For 43 of the 85 drugs now on the list, consumption with grapefruit can be life-threatening, Dr. Bailey said. Many are linked to an increase in heart rhythm, known as torsade de pointes, that can lead to death."

  • "Under normal circumstances, the drugs are metabolized in the gastrointestinal tract, and relatively little is absorbed, because an enzyme in the gut called CYP3A4 deactivates them. But grapefruit contains natural chemicals called furanocoumarins, that inhibit the enzyme, and without it the gut absorbs much more of a drug and blood levels rise dramatically."

Blackberry-Mint Margarita

Monday, May 17, 2021

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. blanco tequila

  • .5 oz. Cointreau

  • 1/2 oz. Blackberry Jam

  • 1/2 oz. Mulled Red Wine Jelly

  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice

  • 3 sprigs of mint

Directions:

1. If you like salt on your margarita, run a quarter of a lime wedge around the rim of a rocks glass and dip the rim in salt.

2. In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, Cointreau, Blackberry Jam, Mulled Red Wine Jelly, and lime juice.

3. Using 2 sprigs of mint, put them in the palm of your hand and release some of the oils by clapping your hands together a few times.

4. Then add the mint to your cocktail shaker along with ice and shake for 10-15 seconds until chilled.

5. Fill your glass with fresh ice and strain the contents of the cocktail shaker into your glass.

6. Garnish with a mint sprig and enjoy.

Grapes

Thursday, May 13, 2021

<1 Minute Reading Time

  • About 71% of the world’s grapes are used for wine, 27% as fresh fruit, and 2% are used to make raisins.

  • It takes about 1,1 kg (2.5 pounds) of grape for the production of one bottle of wine.

  • Grapes don’t always grow in perfect bunches like the ones at the grocery store. They can actually group together in clusters that range from 6 to 300 grapes.

  • Grapes, when heated in a microwave, will actually explode.

How to Put Together a Charcuterie Board

Sunday, May 9, 2021

"Charcuterie spreads are gorgeous, delicious, and totally customizable, so it's no secret why they've stood the test of time. While "charcuterie" technically means a range of different cured meats, they can go way beyond salami and prosciutto, featuring various cheeses, crackers, spreads, and produce. The best part is that they don't require one second of actual cooking, but you probably know all this already. Here's what you might not know about cheese boards: They don't need to cost you an arm and a leg to put together. In fact, you can assemble a killer charcuterie board for less than $30.

Meats

Making a charcuterie board is sort of like conquering the world's tastiest puzzle. All it takes is breaking up the board's elements into categories and choosing complementary ingredients for each. Soft, easy-to-grab meats are arguably the most important. They can be rolled, fanned, laid flat, or even turned into roses, depending on how you want to organize your board. Don't forget to have tongs or toothpicks nearby for easy lifting. Deli salami or jamón Ibérico work with a wide range of cheeses, but prosciutto is no doubt a crowd favorite. If you're looking for quality, be prepared to pay a bit more per ounce for prosciutto di Parma (aka buttery, top-tier prosciutto that's made in Parma and aged twice as long). To save, buy any sliced prosciutto from a brand you trust. (P.S.: Odds are you'll find the best deals and lowest prices in person at the grocery store, not online.)

Hard meats that need to be sliced, like Spanish chorizo or a log of soppressata, should be placed by hard cheeses with the proper knives (unless you want to make it easy on your guests and slice them in advance). Again, quality is usually linked to price, but you can likely find a few links of affordable chorizo in the deli section of your local supermarket.

Cheeses

It's a lot easier to choose the cheeses once you've already chosen the meats, since they narrow down your pairing options. Think of the meat's most prominent notes and what sort of flavor profile would complement it best. For instance, if you choose to use sweet-and-spicy salami, gouda would be a solid pairing option, since it's creamy, nutty, and smooth. If you went with buttery prosciutto, you might opt for an aged, salty cheese like Parmesan or pecorino Romano instead. Soppressata or pepperoni, which are bursting with notes of herbs and spices, would pair great with buttery, rich, fatty cheeses like cheddar or Havarti. You can also play with flavored cheeses, like those infused with wine or truffles, if they fit the rest of the spread or an overall theme.

Soft cheeses are also popular to include in charcuterie boards. They tend to pair best with fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, jams, and nuts, as well as crackers and bread. Velvety soft cheeses like Brie go beautifully with sweet or acidic sides, like honeycomb, green apple slices, onion jam, or grapes, while mild soft cheeses like fresh mozzarella pair best with fresh produce, herbs, and tangy dressings or dips, like balsamic glaze. For salty, soft cheeses like feta or chèvre, add mild or sweet ingredients like roasted almonds or pine nuts, figs, sliced melon, or dried apricots to the board. Sweet soft cheeses, like mascarpone, shine brightest alongside berries, cherries, or chocolate.

Breads and Crackers

There's really no wrong choice when it comes to bread, crackers, and carbs in general. On a charcuterie board, their main purpose is typically to be a crispy vehicle for cheese, meat, and spreads. All you really need to consider is how their flavor will pair with the cheese and meat; it shouldn't be too tough, considering bread and crackers are pretty neutral tasting. For that reason, this section of your charcuterie board doubles can be an opportunity to play with visuals. Instead of rectangular crackers, why not go for long, thin breadsticks that you can arrange vertically in a jar? If you're including cheese crackers on the board, wouldn't Goldfish be a fun twist instead of standard square crackers? Then again, you truly can't go wrong with whole wheat crackers—they taste good with *everything* and are a bargain buy.

As for bread, baguette slices are classic, but we also love the idea of using toasted pita, hunks of sourdough, or crostini instead. Just be sure that there's 1) a cracker or bread to pair with the hard cheese and meat, 2) a cracker or bread that can hold up to being spread with the soft cheese and other spreads, and 3) a cracker or bread that's dippable, if you have dips or fondue on the board.

Produce and Snacks

Here's the part where you can show off your vast snacking experience. From your favorite roasted nuts to that special jar of olives you've been sitting on, every crudité and munchie can find a home on a charcuterie board. Here are a few boxes to check when you're planning your selections:

Something Fresh

When it comes to the price tag, apples are an easy win. You can lean tart or sweet depending on the other ingredients, and they're super cheap compared to some other popular charcuterie fruits, like berries. Oranges or clementines are also an affordable route, as well as celery, carrots, broccoli or radishes.

Something Briny or Acidic

There's truly no match for cheese like mouth-puckering olives, especially if your cheese selection is heavy on the salt (or includes feta). Their brininess also has the power to cut through fatty, rich cheeses like provolone or Camembert. We recommend heading to your local supermarket's olive bar so you can pick and choose exactly what you need.

That being said, we're also suckers for sweet gherkin pickles, which are super crisp, flavorful and less polarizing than uber-vinegary sour dill pickles. French cornichons are another great pickle to consider, since they're small and aesthetically adorable.

Something Crunchy

Nuts are traditional crunchy additions; a mix is always a hit, but almonds tend to be on the cheaper side. There are also a ton of flavored nuts to explore too, like the sweet Thai chili nuts. Wasabi peas, pork rinds, potato chips, fried garlic chips or roasted chickpeas are creative alternatives that will also get the job done. Whether you want to pile these snacks in loose or pour them into tiny bowls or jars first is up to you.

Dips and Spreads

Whether you want a pot of fig jam to pair with cheese and crackers or a bowl of tzatziki for dipping cucumber sticks and pita points in, dips and spreads are the final piece that pulls a charcuterie board together. Whole grain mustard is versatile and works with everything from sharp cheddar to smoked meats to pumpernickel bread. But most fruit jams are just as flexible and will add a pop of sweetness to soft and hard cheeses alike. Fancier options include pepper jelly (which tastes divine with buttery Havarti or white cheddar), onion jam, and hummus. You can even include Nutella or nut butter if your board is mostly fruit (or better yet, pancakes), or ranch dressing for raw vegetables. Just let your common sense and cravings lead the way."

https://www.yahoo.com/amphtml/lifestyle/put-together-adorable-charcuterie-board-020000227.html

Figs

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

<1 Minute Reading Time

  • Want calcium but don’t like milk? Try a half-cup of figs, which has as much calcium as a half-cup of milk.

  • Figs have a 55% natural sugar content, making them the sweetest of all fruits.

  • Figs are believed to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest cultivated fruit consumed by humans. Figs are high in fiber, iron, and potassium. Fig Newton cookies have been around since 1891, a testament to the popularity of figs. Sumerian tablets dated all the way from 2500 B.C. show the use of figs for cooking. Neolithic sites from 5000 B.C. revealed remains of fig trees during excavations. Fig trees can easily live 100 years!

Smokin' Sweet Chicken Wings with Cherry Barbecue Glaze

Saturday, May 1, 2021

~Total: 40 mins, Yield: 4

Ingredients:

  • -2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • -1/2 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, finely chopped

  • -3/4 cup of Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly

  • -1/3 cup fresh lime juice

  • -Salt

  • -Freshly ground black pepper

  • -3 1/2 pounds chicken wings, tips discarded and wings split

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the chopped sweet onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Scrape the onion into a blender, add the Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly and lime juice, and puree until smooth. Return the cherry glaze to the saucepan and bring it to a boil over moderately high heat. Season the glaze with salt and black pepper. Transfer the glaze to a small bowl.

  2. Light a grill or preheat a broiler and position a rack 8 inches from the heat source. Season the chicken wings all over with salt and black pepper and grill over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and crispy, about 20 minutes. Alternatively, broil the wings for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are crispy.

  3. Transfer the chicken wings to a large bowl and toss with one-third of the Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly glaze. Return the wings to the grill or broiler and cook, turning once, just until sticky and caramelized, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken wings to the bowl and toss with another one-third of the Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly glaze. Transfer the glazed chicken wings to a serving platter and serve with the remaining glaze on the side.

Make-Ahead: The cherry glaze can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

Suggested Pairing: Fresh, berry-rich Syrah from Washington state.

E

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

<10 Seconds Reading Time

Eggplants are actually fruits and not veggies. In fact, they are botanically known as berries.

Linzer Cookies with Spiced Jam

Friday, April 23, 2021

~Active: 1 hr, Total: 2 hrs, Yield: Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 large egg yolks

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 1/4 cups hazelnuts with skin

  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

  • 3/4 cup Raspberry Chipotle Jam

  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds, ground in a spice grinder

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander


Directions:

  1. In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the granulated sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add the egg yolks and lemon zest and beat until smooth. In a food processor, combine the hazelnuts with the bread flour and process until the nuts are finely ground. Add the cinnamon and cloves and pulse to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and beat on low speed until smooth. Pat the dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working in batches if necessary, roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Using a 2-inch round cutter, stamp out cookies as close together as possible. Using a small decorative cookie cutter, stamp out the centers of half of the cookies. Transfer the whole cookies to 1 prepared baking sheet and the cut-out cookies to another.

  3. Bake the cookies in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Let cool on the baking sheets. Meanwhile, refrigerate the scraps until chilled, then reroll, stamp out more cookies, and bake.

  4. Dust the tops of the cut-out cookies with confectioners' sugar. In a small bowl, whisk the Raspberry Chipotle Jam with the ground anise and coriander. Spoon the Raspberry Chipotle Jam onto the whole cookies, cover with the sugar-dusted cookies and serve.

Make-Ahead: The cookies can be kept in an airtight container for 5 days or frozen for 1 month. Redust with confectioners' sugar.

Facts Brought to You by the Letter D

Monday, April 19, 2021

<1 Minute Reading Time

  • Dragon Fruit is full of vitamin C and is even said to help reduce acne.

  • Durian: Indonesia and Malaysia are home to the durian which is known as the ‘king of fruits in many South Asian countries. This fruit is covered in little spikes and is said to smell horrendous, which can smell like a combination of rotten eggs, sweaty socks, wet garbage, and underlying notes of sweetness. In some places, like Japan and Thailand, it is unlawful to keep the durian fruit in public because of its pungent odor.

Sweet & Sticky Hot Wings

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Active: 15 mins, Total: 1 hr, Yield: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried onion

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 2 pounds chicken wingettes and drumettes

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red hot sauce, like Frank's Red Hot

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 tablespoons Apple Hot Pepper Jelly, melted


Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 500°. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with vegetable oil.  In a bowl, mix the flour with salt, garlic, onion, and paprika.  Add the chicken and toss to coat.  Spread the chicken on the baking sheet in a single layer and spray with vegetable oil.  Roast the chicken for 45 minutes, turning once or twice, until browned and crispy.

2. In a bowl, whisk the hot sauce with the butter and Apple Hot Pepper Jelly.  Add the chicken wings to the sauce and serve.

C Our Fun Facts

Sunday, April 11, 2021

<2 minute reading time

  • The African horned cucumber is one of the oldest fruits, with its origin of over 3,000 years ago in Africa. It is also called the ‘blowfish fruit’ because of its spine covered yellow outer shell. People use the juice of the African horned cucumber for eczema and renal problems.

  • A cucumber is not a vegetable but a fruit.

  • The COCO DE MER palm tree has the earth’s largest fruit, weighing 42 kg and seeds weighing 17 kg.

  • The European cantaloupe and the American cantaloupe, are both cantaloupe but they are totally different fruits. The European cantaloupe has a smooth gray-green skin while the American cantaloupe has a tough net-like skin.

  • Cantaloupe originated in ancient times in India and Africa but soon found their way to Europe.

  • Cantaloupe is named for the papal gardens of Cantaloupe, Italy, where some historians say this species of melon was first grown.

  • Cantaloupe was first introduced to North America by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1494.

  • Cantaloupe is the most popular melon in the United States.

  • Cantaloupes are in the lead for most popular melon in the U.S.

  • In several English-speaking countries, including “Down under” in Australia, cantaloupes are actually referred to as Rockmelons. They are also considered a luxury and are commonly given as gifts in Japan!

  • Coconuts are an extremely popular fruit which contains antioxidants and many vitamins and minerals. The name coconut comes from 16th century Portuguese sailors. It is believed that the three holes on the coconut resembled a face, so the fruit was honored with the word ‘coco,’ meaning ‘grin’ or ‘grinning face.’ The nut part was added later on with the English language.

  • Chilli Peppers are often used as a spice, but they have the power to promote wound healing and blood clotting. Cayenne pepper helps regulate blood pressure and heal injuries. Whether you eat cayenne pepper or sprinkle it into a wound, it will help you heal faster. Pepper power to the rescue!

  • Coffee beans are the pit of a berry, and thus a fruit. Coffee has psychoactive properties and can make you hallucinate. 100 cups of coffee can give the human body a lethal dose of caffeine.

  • Cherry farmers hire helicopter pilots to air-dry their trees after it rains so that the cherries don't split open. Pilots get paid hundreds of dollars a day to be on stand-by during the summer in case it rains and trees need an emergency blow-drying. It sounds ridiculous, but it's worth it for farmers who raise the delicate, expensive fruit. The job is dangerous; pilots are often injured in orchard crashes.

  • Cherries are said to help calm one’s nervous system.

Herb-Crusted Pork Roast with Ginger-Eggplant Compote

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Active: 45 mins, Total: 1 hr 35 mins, Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped

  • 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary

  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme

  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard

  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • One 1 1/2-pound boneless pork loin roast

  • Eggplant Cinnamon Jam

  • One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced

  • 6 allspice berries, cracked

  • 6 black peppercorns, cracked

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1/4 cup raisins

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth


Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine the garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, lavender, and 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Add the pork and coat with the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.  Bring the pork to room temperature before roasting.

  2. In a small saucepan, combine the Eggplant Cinnamon Jam, ginger, allspice, and peppercorns and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and let steep for 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper. 

  3. Preheat the oven to 400°.  Scrape the garlic and herbs from the pork and set them aside.  Season the pork with salt and pepper. In a medium, ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Add the pork and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 4 minutes per side.  Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the pork for about 20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 145° for medium.  Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.

  4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet.  Add the reserved garlic and herbs and cook over low heat until the garlic is golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the raisins and wine and boil over moderately high heat until the wine is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and boil for 3 minutes.  Carve the pork into 1/2-inch slices and serve with the Eggplant Cinnamon Jam compote.

Cranberries

Saturday, April 3, 2021

~30 seconds reading time

  • Cranberries don't actually grow underwater.

  • Despite what you might imagine based on those Ocean Spray commercials, it's only at harvest time that sandy cranberry bogs are artificially flooded with water. Cranberries have air pockets inside that let them float, which makes them easy to pick en masse.

  • But that's only for berries that are destined to be juice, jelly, Craisins, etc. Whole fresh cranberries — the kind you buy in bags at Thanksgiving — are never flooded, instead getting "dry-harvested" by picking machines that comb the berries out.

  • This magic property (which is thanks to the same air pockets that lets cranberries float) was discovered in 1880 by the compellingly named cranberry innovator John "Peg Leg" Webb, who dropped a bunch of cranberries down the stairs. Growers today actually still test berries' athletic abilities to determine their quality, and sort them accordingly, with a tool called the "bounce board separator" — the higher the bounce, the better the berry.

Apple Butter Meatball Subs

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup apple butter

  • 1 cup BBQ sauce

  • 16 ounces of frozen meatballs

  • 6 hoagie rolls

  • 12-18 slices of provolone cheese

  • butter

  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

Instructions

  1. Mix apple butter and BBQ sauce together. Add meatballs to crockpot and pour the sauce over top, coating all the meatballs well. Slow cook on high for 4 hours.

  2. Lightly butter and toast the hoagie rolls. Divide the meatballs evenly between the rolls. Top with cheese. Garnish with green onions.

B Side Facts

Friday, March 26, 2021

~1 minute reading time

  • In many countries around the world, Brussels sprouts reign as the least enjoyable vegetable out there. Some claim that their bitter flavor prevents true enjoyment and cooking them to remove the bitterness is more of an art than a skill. What you likely don’t know is that Brussels sprouts are among the most nutritious veggies out there. It is packed with vitamins and minerals, has virtually no calories, no fat, no cholesterol, and it even fills you up. You can find a variety of recipes that help deal with the occasionally bitter flavor but you should definitely try to pack more of these puppies into your diet.

  • Broccoli got a bad rap a few years ago when President George W Bush proclaimed that he would never eat it again. Sadly, that was probably a bad move because broccoli is actually quite good for you. Aside from the usual nutrition one garners from eating veggies, broccoli in general has a great deal of protein. Calorie for calorie, there is more protein in broccoli than steak. Since it doesn’t come with all those saturated and trans fats or cholesterol, you can get all the protein you need with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Let’s not forget all of the other awesome nutrition it provides. Pumpkin seeds are also a good choice as they have more protein than a similar amount of ground beef.

  • Blueberries were called “star berries” by Native Americans because the five points of blueberry blossoms make a star shape.

  • Blackberry juice was used to dye clothes.

  • There are more than 1,000 known species of blackberries.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies

Monday, March 22, 2021

Active: 40 mins, Total: 1 hr. 30 mins, Yield: Makes 12 sandwich cookies

Ingredients:

Cookie Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter

  • 1/4 cup chopped honey-roasted peanuts


Filling

  • 1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup jam, such as Mulled Red Wine Jelly, Raspberry Chipotle Jam, or Strawberry Margarita Preserves


Directions:

Make the dough

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt. In another medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, mixing well between additions. Fold in the peanut butter until fully incorporated.

2. Scoop 24 one-inch balls of dough onto the baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Press the balls down slightly; they should be about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the tops with the chopped peanuts. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are light golden brown and the tops are slightly cracked; rotate the baking sheets halfway through. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack to let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the filling

3. In a bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the peanut butter with the butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt at medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Refrigerate for about 45 minutes, until chilled.

4. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of the filling on the underside of 12 cookies. Spread 1 teaspoon of jam on the underside of the remaining cookies. Sandwich the halves together and serve.

Make-Ahead: The assembled cookies can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Banana Facts

Thursday, March 18, 2021

~3 minutes reading time

  • Bananas can cheer up your mood! They are the only fruit that contains amino acids, tryptophan plus Vitamin B6, which together help the body produce serotonin. So, if you are ever feeling down, make sure to eat a banana. It’s a win-win.

  • Humans and bananas have 50% of the same DNA.

  • Bananas are a natural antacid. Feeling a bit of heartburn? Down a banana and you’ll feel better. Bananas are also a great way to chase away muscle cramps, thanks to their potassium content.

  • Want your bananas to ripen more quickly? Put them in a brown paper bag with a tomato.

  • Bananas are the most popular fruit in the world: in fact, over 100 billion bananas are eaten around the world every year, and around 51% of these are eaten at breakfast time.

  • Horticulturists believe bananas to have originated up to 10,000 years ago and some scientists believe they may have been the world’s first fruit.

  • A banana is not a fruit, it is a herb! Bananas are considered an herb in botanical terms because it never forms a woody stem (or trunk) the way a tree does. Rather, it forms a succulent stalk, or pseudostem.

  • Being easy to digest and highly nutritious, these are the first fruits offered to babies.

  • There are over 100 different kinds of bananas and not all of them are yellow. Some varieties are actually red.

  • It is also the most interesting fruit in the world.

  • In the 1950s, a disease called the Panama Disease all but wiped out an entire species of banana which motivated farmers to use the Cavendish banana which we all eat today. The bananas we eat are actually all cloned from a single banana plant in southeast Asia which means that every single banana is exactly the same banana.

  • There are over 1,000 different varieties of bananas in nature but most of them are not good to eat. Most bananas sold in stores today are the Cavendish Banana chosen because of its resistance to a fungal disease. Although it is resistant to that one disease, it is now being threatened by others and because of a lack of genetic diversity, the entire banana species is at risk of being eradicated.

  • Bananas, as we know them, are in danger of being completely wiped out by disease. Despite the fact that there are more than 1,000 banana varieties on earth, almost every single imported banana on the commercial market belongs to a single variety, called the Cavendish. These bananas became dominant throughout the industry in the 1960s because they were resistant to a fungal disease (called Panama Race One) that wiped out what had previously been the most popular banana, the Gros Michel. But signs point, pretty convincingly, to the Cavendish's own demise within the next decade. Here's why:

  • Cavendish bananas are sterile and seedless, so they reproduce asexually (through suckers that grow off the "mother" plant), meaning that each plant is genetically identical.

  • This lack of genetic diversity makes all Cavendish bananas vulnerable to the threat of Tropical Race Four, a new, even more, devastating fungal disease.

  • Race Four has already wiped out Cavendish bananas throughout Asia and Australia. Most growers view it as only a matter of time before the disease makes its way to Latin America, where it will make short work of the plantations that supply North American consumers.

  • If you're interested to know more, read this fascinating 2011 New Yorker report on growers' efforts to cope with Race Four, or check out journalist Dan Koeppel's book Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World. And then eat a banana while tears stream down your face.

  • Bananas get artificially ripened (after being shipped) to one of seven "shades" of ripeness. Bananas are shipped green because they're too delicate and perishable otherwise, so distribution facilities use extremely precise storage technology to then trick bananas into ripening before they go to market.

  • "The most popular shades are between 2.5 and 3.5, but much depends on the retailer’s size and target market. The grocery chain Fairway, which sources its bananas from Banana Distributors of New York, expects to hold bananas for a couple of days, and will therefore buy greener bananas than a smaller bodega that turns its stock over on a daily basis. 'Street vendors,' Rosenblatt notes, as well as shops serving a mostly Latin American customer base, 'like full yellow.'"

  • The Banana Distributors of New York in the Bronx is one of just three facilities that process about 2 million bananas each week for all of New York City's stores and vendors.

  • Bananas are a favorite fruit around the world. It tastes good, it’s high in potassium, and it’s delicious when placed in a dish with ice cream and chocolate syrup.

Eggplant Cinnamon Bars with Red Wine and Anise Seeds

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Active: 1 hr, Total: 2 hrs 30 mins, Yield: about 4 dozen bars

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 10 ounces Eggplant Cinnamon Jam

  • 3/4 cup Red Wine Jelly

  • 3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest

  • 3/4 teaspoon anise seeds

Dough:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Directions:

Make the filling: In a saucepan, combine the Eggplant Cinnamon Jam, Red Wine Jelly, lemon zest, and anise seeds. Simmer over low heat until the liquid is syrupy and reduced to 1/2 cup. Let the figs cool in their syrup, then puree in a food processor until smooth. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip.

Make the dough:

  1. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the sugar, vanilla, zest, and salt at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the egg. At low speed, beat in the 1 1/2 cups of flour. Divide the dough in half, shape it into rectangles and wrap in plastic. Freeze until firm, 20 minutes.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out 1 piece of dough between 2 sheets of floured parchment to a 9-by-12-inch rectangle, dusting with flour as needed. Remove the top sheet of parchment. Cut the rectangle into three 3-by-12-inch strips through the parchment and transfer to a baking sheet. Pipe two 1/2-inch-wide ropes of eggplant filling down the middle of each strip of dough. Refrigerate just until firm enough to fold, 5 minutes. Fold the dough over the filling and turn onto a work surface, seam side down; discard the parchment.

  3. Cut each roll into 8 bars and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until the dough is golden on the bottom. Let cool. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

5 A+ Fruity Facts

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

  1. According to one study, avocados are the most nutritious fruits in the world.

  2. Avocados contain the most fat of any fruit or vegetable on the planet.

  3. Since avocado trees release an enzyme that prevents the fruit from maturing fully while on the tree, farmers can use the trees to store avocados until ready to go to market.

  4. Avocado leaves can prove fatal to various types of birds.

5. The almond is a member of the peach family and is not actually a nut.

6. The Asian Pear is sometimes referred to as a Nashi. Because of their texture, they are sometimes referred to as Apple pears, but they’re not related to apples. Even though it looks like a cross between an apple and a pear, the resemblance is only skin deep.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Skillet Cake

Saturday, March 6, 2021

PREP TIME: 15 minutes, COOK TIME: 25 minutes, TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAKE

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup oats ground up

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • dash or cardamom, optional

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter to dollop on top of pre-baked cake

  • 1/4 cup Strawberry Margarita Preserves- also to dollop on top of pre-baked cake

FOR THE DRIZZLE

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

  • 1/4 cup Strawberry Margarita Preserves

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350

  2. Place a 1/4 cup of coconut oil and a 1/4 cup of peanut butter in an oven proof skillet on a very low flame, just so the peanut butter and coconut oil melt a bit.

  3. Remove this off the stove and making sure this mixture isn't hot, whisk in 3 eggs.

  4. Then fold in 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar), 1/2 cup ground up oats (or oat flour), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and a couple of dashes of cardamom (which is totally optional).

  5. Just before you bake it, add dollops of peanut butter and Strawberry Margarita Preserves onto the mixture (this will sink as the cake bakes).

  6. Place the skillet in the preheated oven and let it bake for 25 minutes.

  7. After the skillet cake comes to room temperature, melt a 1/4 cup of peanut butter with 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a microwave for 30 seconds. Heat up a 1/4 cup of Strawberry Margarita Preserves. And, then drizzle the melted peanut butter and Strawberry Margarita Preserves on the top of the skillet cake.

Apples

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

~2 minutes reading time

  • Apples float because 25% of their mass is air.

  • An apple tree will start bearing fruit 8-10 years after it is planted.

  • The average apple tree produces 400 apples each year.

  • There are more than 7,500 varieties of apples cultivated around the world and none of them are native to America. Actually, they’re said to have originated from Kazakhstan.

  • 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States.

  • The apple is the official state fruit of Washington, New York, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

  • The apple is popularly known as the supposed forbidden fruit of Eden. But this is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible! Contrary to popular belief, there is no mention of an apple as the forbidden fruit in the Bible. It is referred to as "fruit from the Tree of Knowledge" with no specification as to which kind of fruit. It was Hugo van der Goes who first implicated the apple as the forbidden fruit in his 1470 A.D. painting, 'The Fall of Man'. After that, it became popular to depict the apple as the forbidden fruit.

  • There is a classic story that Sir Isaac Newton came up with his law of gravity when an apple fell on his head.

  • In Chinese culture, the word for apples is pronounced as ‘ping’ which also stands for peace. This is why apples are a popular gift to give when visiting someone in China.

  • Eating an apple is a more reliable method of staying awake than consuming a cup of coffee as it gives you more energy. The natural sugar in an apple is more potent than the caffeine in coffee.

  • Apples are a member of the rose family of plants along with pears, peaches, plums, and cherries.

  • Apples come in all shades of reds, greens, and yellows.

  • Every American eats 19.6 pounds of apples every year.

  • The science of apple growing is called pomology.

  • The apple you're eating might be a year old. Apples are one of those fruits that are available for sale year-round, even though the actual season for harvesting is rather short. Apples are for sale in grocery stores and farmers' markets year-round, even though their harvesting season (at least in the U.S.) only lasts a few months in the fall. Thanks to increasingly sophisticated cold storage technology, apples are able to be stored and preserved, between the gap of being harvested and actually making it to market. So in short, an apple purchased and eaten today may actually be up to a year old. It's possible (and/or likely) that the crisp, juicy apple you're eating in August 2020 was actually harvested in October 2019.

  • Apples increase mental alertness, thanks to their high levels of boron. Eating an apple will deliver a more healthy energy boost, than drinking a cup of coffee. Thanks to its high carbohydrate, vitamin, and mineral content, apples have the perfect storm of nutrition to help you stay energized all day.

  • Apples are also a member of the rose family. If you ever don’t feel like paying for a dozen roses, just get a dozen apples … basically the same thing!

  • People were pretty serious about playing catch in ancient Greece. If a boy tossed an apple at a girl it was seen as a marriage proposal. If she caught it, she accepted.