Friday, July 10, 2009

For the Love of Fruit

I love, love,, summer fruit! I have my favorites in this order.....

grapes, melons, cherries, figs, peaches/nectarines

Cherimoyas would be on the list except that they are extremely hard to find (they're not local), and super expensive....not to mention a little higher in calories. Let's talk about calories for a second..... I haven't eaten a banana in, oh, I can't remember when! (years though) I don't count bananas as fruit, I count them as a starch, and for that reason I don't believe "dieter's" should include them in the same calorie catagory as most other is another high calorie fruit I limit myself to. I love these fruits, but as a person that hasn't yet, completely decided to break the habit of overeating, I'm just not to be trusted with these high calorie fruits. And speaking of overeating..... Not that I'm proud or anything, but I've been known to eat pounds of grapes in a day, and whole melons at a time.....yikes, did I just admit that?

I love dried fruit, raisins top my list (it makes sense since grapes top my fresh friut list....and wine.....good Lord, let's not start talking about wine!), but dried fruit needs to be closely monitored! I recently had to throw out over a pound of dried figs just to stop me from eating them, and I had to put down the package of prunes I picked up at the store the other day because I knew what would come of it....yep, if I buy it, I'll eat it......all.....and fast!

But poaching fruit in wine has become my "go to" dessert since the fall/winter because apples and pears were available, and I always have an open bottle of wine on my counter! For those reasons and for the fact that I don't keep flour in my house in case I get the urge to make pastry, cookies, or cake, lol! So, I started with those two fruits, adding a little sugar if needed, white or red doesn't matter....and then as a bonus, anything else I had in the house like,

ginger (fresh of course! this is my favorite addition)
orange juice
citrus peel (lemon, lime, orange)
cinnamon stick
any dried fruits (like rasins, lol)
fruit liquors

I eat my poached fruits over yogurt, making frozen yogurt in my ice cream machine these past couple of months....yogurt is my "new" ice cream! Yogurt is another food I buy in limited quantity because.....yep, if I buy it, I'll eat it! lol I've also used frozen sliced peaches in the winter time to poasch with red wine, serving it over zabaglione

The "recipe" for poached fruit of almost any kind is basically the same, and because the idea is to cook down the liquid you use (wine, juice, water), it needs to cook for 30-45 minutes, You an easily tell, when the liquid reduces to a thick syrup....the exact time is not important.

Peel and slice, or dice, fresh fruit (2-4 cups), and place in a 2qt pot. Add liquid ,I add wine of course), but any kind of juice (orange, apple, etc., even water if you use other flavors like ginger) 1-2 cups, along with sugar, or any kind of sweetener you want to use. Make it as sweet as you like it, sometimes I add only about 1/4 c sugar, but rarely more than 1/2 c. White sugar, brown sugar (one of my favs!), raw sugar, honey, agave, etc., but sometimes the fruit is already super sweet, so use you own judgement. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until done!

Fruit that is hard, because it's not quite ripe yet, is perfect to use in poaching (like pears), but in these pictures of cherries, I bought some cherries from a grocery store (@ Molly Stones, because they were on sale for $1.88lb) and they weren't very sweet.....that's why you shouldn't buy cherries at the grocery store. They always look good, but they rarely taste good. So I decided to poach them.....problem? No cherry pitter! But I poured myself a glass of wine and went to work. I cut them "north/south" around the pit, twisted the to halves apart, and then used a teaspoon to lift out the pits on the one half. Labor of love! It was worth it.

2 lbs cherries, pitted
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. red wine

ps I, personally, almost always add a good pinch of salt



I haven't yet bought a tomato this year! If the tomatoes aren't ripe, outside in the sunshine, on the vine, then I don't buy them. But I did buy some homemade salsa at the farmers market last week which was very, very hot (damn serrano chiles, lol). I had to cool down that salsa somehow so I added a cup, or so, of diced honeydew melon.....try it! I also added some roasted corn and ate it with some grilled shrimp. The next day I added some baby greens, a little olive oil, and a squeeze of lime to the lefovers. Quinoa would be a nice addition, for sure, but I was watching my carbs, lol!

Basic salsa

tomato (or tomatillos)

onion (traditionally, white)

jalapeno (or other chile)


Add fresh fruit to your own homemade salsa, or try adding it to prepared salsa....I think it would be good that way too! Melons, mango, pineapple, peaches/nectarines, even grapes! Yum.

PS Although I like strawberries as much as most any fruit I have a problem buying it! Because it's available all year round, especially here, I feel as if the "true season" has been lost....I'm just weird that way. And besides for $3 bucks a basket, for organic, I'd rather buy something else. Strawberries (even frozen) would be super tasty poached, though!


La Saun Taylor, RKC, AFAA-CPT said...

Shrimp salsa w/melon looks very yummy! I may have to try that.

Tracy Reifkind said...

La Saun,

I'm making a deal with myself....the deal is that If I want a melon (or 2) I have to walk to the market and carry it back!

La Saun Taylor, RKC, AFAA-CPT said...