We love simple preparations that highlight fresh ingredients. We’ve also been looking for easy appetizers for Thanksgiving guests and found a winner recently on BrooklynPlated, a local food blog. Their fresh fig and goat cheese bruschettas couldn’t be easier. Simply slice a baguette, spread slices on a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 350 (or broil briefly) until they brown slightly – this is our current favorite method of reusing day-old baguettes! Then remove from oven and top with a dollop of goat cheese and a dab of marmalade and top with a sliced fresh fig. We used a plum marmalade and Le Biquet goat cheese but the number of combinations are endless – the Valencay aged goat cheeses at the cheese counter are also looking great. With fresh fig season at an end (the ones we currently have come from Turkey), another option is to top the goat cheese with a dab of fig conserve – try the black fig we have from American Spoon.
Each week during the month of October in Brooklyn, we will be offering different tastes of apple-based spirits and seasonal cocktails. From Calvados to New Jersey’s Applejack brandy to New York’s own Core Vodka (made from, you guessed it, apples), we will have samples of spirits and cocktails to sip and an expert on hand to pass on mixology tips. All tastings are at the Brooklyn wine store at 765 Fulton from 5-7pm unless otherwise noted.
Friday, October 9: Laird’s applejack brandy from New Jersey
Thursday, October 15: Calvados apple brandy from France
Thursday, October 22: Core Vodka and Fuji Apple Brandy from New York
Thursday, October 29: Original Sin Cider (Tasting at Greene Grape Provisions, 753 Fulton Street)
Saturday, October 31: Halloween Surprise, To Be Announced
Now that it’s high fruit season, we thought you’d appreciate a reminder of the simple pleasure of a fruit crumble.
The joy our guests had in indulging in this dessert made us feel slightly guilty. We simply had a surplus of peaches and apples. We even had the kids mix the topping.
6 pieces of fruit (we used 3 apples, 3 peaches but you can also use pears, etc.)
1 1/2 cups flour
12 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup of granulated sugar
Cut fruit into 1″ sections or slices. Line buttered 9″ square pan with fruit slices. Combine flour, butter (cold, not room temperature), sugar in bowl. Combine by grinding with fingertips until consistency of coarse sand (or slightly lumpy). Sprinkle flour mixture on top of fruit and place into a 350F oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Ah Sarabeth, we knew you when. Congratulations for the Gold award you received for your Blood Orange Marmalade at the recent Fancy Food Show.
New to New York, we remember being wowed by the popovers at your eponymous Upper West Side breakfast nook, Sarabeth’s Kitchen. At that time, the jams you served were probably still made in your home kitchen. We’re thrilled that as you expanded, you still were able to keep the quality of your product high and New York City as your home for production. And now, over twenty five years later, your award-winning special edition Blood Orange Marmalade is on our shelves (along with many other fresh fruit jams of yours).
Who knows which of our homegrown gourmet goods will be the next little local done good?
If you’re putting in a thumb and think you’re pulling out a plum from our fruit baskets, you had better check the label. Pluots are in season masquerading as plums!
Pluots are the product of cross-breeding apricots and plums (like apriums). 70 percent plum and 30 percent apricot, ours look exactly like plums but are juicier and are sweet rather than tart. Rich in vitamin A and with a high sugar content, pluots are a great way to sweeten yogurt in the morning without additional sugar. They cut up well and can be used in summer fruit salads or simply eaten on their own!
Having worked through lunch and right up to the last minute, we were late to see Alain de Botton speak about his book “The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work” and needed a snack to tide us over. Right by the register we found the perfect thing – an Apricot Bum Bar from Luminous Kitchens. All-natural, calorie-dense fuel for your busy NYC lifestyle.
How apt the snack. De Botton spoke eloquently on how the workforce at a large UK cookie manufacturer felt alienated because they were too distant from the products they make to care about their jobs. Luminous Kitchen Bum Bars, the antithesis of industrially-produced biscuits, are handcrafted in small batches. In the store tonight after 7 pm you can meet Doug who will sample his apricot, hemp and peanut butter bum bars. Ask him how close to his product he feels. To give you a hint, after the tasting he may go to Long Island City to bake until the wee morning hours . . .
NYPL Live!, where we saw de Botton speak, is the best $25 ticket in New York. This year’s season is almost done but get thee on their olde mailing liste – their events are thought provoking and you will emerge refreshed, optimistic and intellectually satisfied.
Recently I was chatting with a friend of mine from Germany and as usual I began asking him about the drinking habits of a native German. He informed me of a drink I could never have imagined, the Bananenweizen. Basically it is banana juice and a hefeweizen, strange perhaps but I was intrigued. I decided to stay true to the country of origin and use two German weisse beers for my experiment.
The recipe involves filling the glass 1/6-1/4 with banana nectar and then you pour in your beer. I used a weizen glass, though this isn’t required. First I tried a Weihenstephaner Hefe-Weisse, a tried and true classic, which is smooth and not quite as heavy as many wheat beers. After my first taste I was unsure, after the second I was hooked. Often wheat beers are served with a slice of lemon or orange adding a splash of citrus, banana nectar adds a bit more texture and provides just the right amount of sweetness.
Next up was the Franziskaner Hefeweisse, another traditional German beer, which contains a bit more sediment and is a little heavier. I would recommend this combination for someone with a taste for more intense beers, not to say that it wasn’t still delicious. Though what I discovered with Franziskaner was due to the thickness of both ingredients the beer sat on top of the nectar, so I stirred them together, my suggestion would be to pour them into the glass at the same time. I am looking forward to forcing less adventurous beer drinkers to try a bananenweizen. If you have any beer cocktails you enjoy or have invented please leave them in the comments, help me in my quest to discover new and interesting things to do with beer!
The famous homemaker/humorist Erma Bombeck wrote “if life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?” Well it is probably because that’s what her kids left her to pick up after eating all the sweet cherry fruit.
With their delicate sweetness, appealing yellow color with a slight blush and creamy yellow flesh, Rainier cherries are particularly likely to go quick. That is if something else doesn’t get them before they get to you. Considered the “cream of the crop”, these cherries are very sensitive to temperature, wind, and rain and about a third of a Rainier cherry orchard’s crop is eaten by birds. Ours come from Washington State and are just beginning to appear in the produce case. They’ll finish sometime in July.
An aprium tastes like an apricot with amplified sweetness and an underlying tartness. Almost as if some Dr. Frankenfruit had, over several generations, bred plums and apricots together until the resulting fruit was exactly ¼ plum and ¾ apricot. And in fact that’s exactly how apriums are made. Unlike other experiments in fruit husbandry, apriums are bred for flavor, not just for durability and visual appeal. Our apriums come from California only during the month of June.
If you think apriums are weird, don’t even get us started on plumcots, nectaplums, nectarcots, peacotums, pluots, pie-ready rhuberries and easy-to-peel-and-deseed mangoranges. Okay, those last two are just wishful thinking.
These heirloom flat peaches are just as easy to pick up and snack on as a donut but are healthier for you. Sometimes referred to as Saturn peaches because of their saucer-like appearance, they hail from California and are in season now. The skin looks like a regular peach but inside their flesh is white, less sweet and drippy and has what some describe as an almond-y flavor. Like the round peaches we are most familiar with, once picked, this fruit can ripen at room temperature. Bring a dozen to your next breakfast get-together!