Have you heard about Cronuts? The creation of New York baker Dominique Ansel, they’re donuts made from croissant dough. And people are waiting in line for hours to get one, or buying them from scalpers for $40 apiece.
I admit to being curious. Not so curious I’m going to fly to New York and wait in line for hours, or even head to one of the 3 or 4 bakeries in LA that are selling their versions. I’m also not so curious that I’m going to make croissant dough from scratch. I have a 13 month old. In the time it would take me to laminate dough, my house would probably be burned down around me. Or at least all the dog food would be eaten. And not by the dogs.
HOWEVER, Trader Joe’s makes pretty darn good bake at home croissants. Have you tried them? They’re little frozen nuggets that you let rise overnight and then they bake into - maybe not the best croissants by Parisian standards, but some of the better croissants I’ve had in the US. My brainy idea was to proof these babies and then fry instead of bake. How hard could it be? I could make cronuts at home! I had visions of a $40 pastry empire.
Continue reading In which I attempt to make Cronuts at home …
January, arbitrary though it may be, is a time for taking stock. What’s been good, what’s been bad, and what you want to change.
This year, the fourth of Savour Fare, I want to change how I eat. No, I’m not going vegetarian. Or paleo. You won’t suddenly see a rash of recipes with points values, or gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free foods. I’m more of a moderate, and I like my resolutions to be additive. So this year I am resolving to eat more fruits and vegetables, and I want you to come with me.
We all know we should eat more fruits and vegetables, right? At least five servings a day. But if you’re anything like me, by the time you’ve gotten the chicken on the table, with some starch so your five year old eats SOMETHING, adding another vegetable dish just seems like too much work. And why snack on apples when crackers are so crunchy and salty?
Well, I want to change that, for my sake and my kids’ sake. I’m going to spend this year on the blog exploring new recipes using fruits and vegetables, strategies for incorporating more produce in my life, and tips and tricks on purchasing and even growing your own. 2013 is officially the Year of Living Vegetally here on Savour Fare, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
I will admit the traffic sucks. And the home prices are insane. And yes, we have earthquakes. And fires. And floods. But I can’t escape the feeling that living in Southern California is like having won the lottery. With the fruits and flowers, the birds and the animals – I do believe that it’s not too far from living in the Garden of Eden. And this month’s bounty has been loquats.
If you don’t have a backyard tree, you may never have had a loquat. They’re a fruit that’s related to the quince and the apple (both of which we’ve planted in our yard) that originated in China. They are small ( about the size of a large walnut), orange, and juicy, with large (but very pretty) seeds. And when your loquat tree is bearing, you have a wealth of loquats. (If you can beat the squirrels to them.)
It’s rare to see loquats in the market — the bruise extraordinarily easily – but if you’re lucky enough to have a tree (or a neighbor with a tree, or a friend with a tree) they’re also extraordinarily easy to grow. The flavor isn’t remarkable but is nice — a good balance of sweetness and acidity with a lot of juice. They’re easy to peel (although the peels are also edible) and although the ratio of fruit to pit is lower than the ideal, the pits are easy to remove. They’re good for eating out of hand, or if you have some patience to peel and pit, it’s worth cooking with them too.
When faced with a bounty of loquats, I turned for ideas to my friend Erika Penzer Kerekes of In Erika’s Kitchen, who is a loquat queen. She advised jam, but also said she had made a very good loquat crisp recently. I wasn’t up for canning, but the following crumble was short work (if less than perfectly photogenic) and really showed off the flavor balance and juiciness of this great backyard treasure.
Continue reading From my Garden: Loquats, and a Loquat Crumble Recipe
The first time I ever went apple picking was my senior year of college. Ken had his car on campus that year — a little blue Ford Festiva, that had been spray painted, and had no air conditioning or radio. We were celebrating one year of dating, still shiny and happy and young and new, and decided to head off into the wilds of Connecticut to pick apples. I wore my appropriate apple picking attire — a red and green gingham shirt, and we discovered the joys of fresh air in an orchard, of plucking apples off the tree, of cold pressed cider and hot apple cider donuts.
After that first year, we went every year we lived in the Northeast. When we lived in New York, we borrowed my father in law’s car, or rented one (we could barely fit ourselves in our tiny Manhattan studio — where were we going to park a car?), and hit New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut to get out of the city and load up on apples. Apple picking was never about the apples — they’re readily available at the Greenmarket after all — but about simple entertainment, fresh air, getting out of the city. And donuts. Don’t forget the donuts.
When we moved to Los Angeles six years ago, I thought my apple picking days were through. Our climate is too warm to have apple orchards — we can pick oranges in our own back yard, but the autumnal fest was lost to me. Until this year. We piled into the little blue car (now, so many years later, a Prius, with air conditioning and an iphone connection), with the Nuni in tow and headed into the mountains, into the “mile high” town of Oak Glen. Nestled in the San Bernardino mountains just east of Redlands, Oak Glen boast six or seven apple orchards, and the crowds that go with them.
Continue reading Finding Fall in Southern California