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Japanese Plums

Japanese Plums

The wife of our branch manager in Reno, Nevada has the most wonderful orchard that she cultivates in their yard! When I was there last month, she proudly showed me these plums, which by now are probably perfectly ripened! There is almost nothing that thrills me more then the sight of fruit growing on the trees! These were beautiful, with a shimmering, cloudlike shading against their green flesh. She said that they were a specific sort of Japanese plum with a gentle and sweet flavor. This is when I wish that i could be several places at once!


Japanese Plums

Japanese Plums

The wife of our branch manager in Reno, Nevada has the most wonderful orchard that she cultivates in their yard! When I was there last month, she proudly showed me these plums, which by now are probably perfectly ripened! There is almost nothing that thrills me more then the sight of fruit growing on the trees! These were beautiful, with a shimmering, cloudlike shading against their green flesh. She said that they were a specific sort of Japanese plum with a gentle and sweet flavor. This is when I wish that i could be several places at once!


Sour Cherries

Sour Cherries

Okay, this was my favorite part of Reno! These are the sour cherries that were ripening during my visit. Pam was amazed that I was eating them by the handful off of the tree! Sour cherries aren't really all that sour unless you try to compare them to Bing cherries or the Queen Anne varieties. They are definitely tart, but with a flowery flavour all their own, and a subtle sweetness that is yummy. These were warm and juicy when I was eating them, absolutely blissful. If you are ever lucky enough to try them fresh like this, don't let others discourage you! They are incredible mixed with a bit of brown sugar or maple syrup and poured over ice cream. I also love to eat them in pie (obviously!) or cooked with pork or beef (and a lot of spices) for a  medieval flavor that is surprising and wonderful!


Sour Cherries

Sour Cherries

Okay, this was my favorite part of Reno! These are the sour cherries that were ripening during my visit. Pam was amazed that I was eating them by the handful off of the tree! Sour cherries aren't really all that sour unless you try to compare them to Bing cherries or the Queen Anne varieties. They are definitely tart, but with a flowery flavour all their own, and a subtle sweetness that is yummy. These were warm and juicy when I was eating them, absolutely blissful. If you are ever lucky enough to try them fresh like this, don't let others discourage you! They are incredible mixed with a bit of brown sugar or maple syrup and poured over ice cream. I also love to eat them in pie (obviously!) or cooked with pork or beef (and a lot of spices) for a  medieval flavor that is surprising and wonderful!


Chicken Salad Nicoise!

Crab_nicoise The highlight of the Merrill Lynch Hunter Jumper Classic is always Grand Prix day, when old friends gather in the box section to share a meal and catch up on all of the years happenings! Everyone brings a dish to share, and this  year I decided to bring a chilled Nicoise salad.

A Nicoise salad is usually made with very good canned tuna, the kind from Italy canned in olive oil or chilled lump crabmeat. Given the heat of the day , I decided to use chicken and the results were really good. I was so flattered because everyone loved it and asked for the recipe! It's really so easy, and takes about 5 minutes to put together! 

The main ingredients are:

Chicken breasts that you have roled in mayonnaise (Helmanns!) and then dipped into a mixture of onion powder, parmesan cheese and Italian bread crumbs.  Bake them at 350 for about 40 minutes and let them chill overnight , then thinly slice.

Fresh Haricot Vert   (  skinny French  green beans!)that you have blanched, chilled well and  tossed   in a mixture of good olive oil, sun dried or roasted tomatoes, freshly minced garlic and pine nuts.

Quartered Redskin potatoes that you have roasted with some olive oil, paprika, salt , pepper and rosemary and chilled overnight!

Fresh (the kind in brine) Feta Cheese

Pitted Kalamata olives

Hard boiled egg quartered lengthwise

Really fresh romaine and raddichio lettuces!

Pine nuts for garnish

Now for the easy part!

Find a pretty platter (not silver or metal because of the reaction with the egg and vinegar!) and spread out the lettuce. After this, it's up to you to be the artist! You can layer the ingredients, make lovely vertical patterns with them, whatever you fancy! This salad also is a very pretty plated first course! Just do the arranging on smaller plates!

The dressing can be any really good garlic vinegrette, either bottled or homemade, but the special word here is GARLIC!

This salad should be lightly dressed, and your guests can always add more to taste!

If you can't find Garlic Expressions! salad dressing, it's very easy to make your own.  Some olive oil, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, champagne vinegar and LOTS of freshly minced garlic whisked together to your taste should do the trick!

Serve with a French baguette and butter, some fresh summer fruit and some chilled champagne for a feast  straight from a Manet painting!  Manet20_1


Chicken Salad Nicoise!

Crab_nicoise The highlight of the Merrill Lynch Hunter Jumper Classic is always Grand Prix day, when old friends gather in the box section to share a meal and catch up on all of the years happenings! Everyone brings a dish to share, and this  year I decided to bring a chilled Nicoise salad.

A Nicoise salad is usually made with very good canned tuna, the kind from Italy canned in olive oil or chilled lump crabmeat. Given the heat of the day , I decided to use chicken and the results were really good. I was so flattered because everyone loved it and asked for the recipe! It's really so easy, and takes about 5 minutes to put together! 

The main ingredients are:

Chicken breasts that you have roled in mayonnaise (Helmanns!) and then dipped into a mixture of onion powder, parmesan cheese and Italian bread crumbs.  Bake them at 350 for about 40 minutes and let them chill overnight , then thinly slice.

Fresh Haricot Vert   (  skinny French  green beans!)that you have blanched, chilled well and  tossed   in a mixture of good olive oil, sun dried or roasted tomatoes, freshly minced garlic and pine nuts.

Quartered Redskin potatoes that you have roasted with some olive oil, paprika, salt , pepper and rosemary and chilled overnight!

Fresh (the kind in brine) Feta Cheese

Pitted Kalamata olives

Hard boiled egg quartered lengthwise

Really fresh romaine and raddichio lettuces!

Pine nuts for garnish

Now for the easy part!

Find a pretty platter (not silver or metal because of the reaction with the egg and vinegar!) and spread out the lettuce. After this, it's up to you to be the artist! You can layer the ingredients, make lovely vertical patterns with them, whatever you fancy! This salad also is a very pretty plated first course! Just do the arranging on smaller plates!

The dressing can be any really good garlic vinegrette, either bottled or homemade, but the special word here is GARLIC!

This salad should be lightly dressed, and your guests can always add more to taste!

If you can't find Garlic Expressions! salad dressing, it's very easy to make your own.  Some olive oil, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, champagne vinegar and LOTS of freshly minced garlic whisked together to your taste should do the trick!

Serve with a French baguette and butter, some fresh summer fruit and some chilled champagne for a feast  straight from a Manet painting!  Manet20_1


Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Bar!

Olive Oil Bar
Yesterday, I had a bit of time on my hands, so I went to the Miles Farmers Market, a lovely place that has been around since I was just a child! It has really grown since then, transforming from a small fruit and vegetable stand to a huge gourmet business, and you can get millions of wonderful ingredients there. If you combined the best farmers market in the world with Dean & Deluca's in New York City, you'd have it. www.milesfarmersmarket.com

At any rate when I walked in, I was greeted with a wonderful surprise, actually more like a gift from the olive oil gods! They have installed a beautiful tasting bar for olive oils and all different types of vinegars, and you can taste as many as you would like! So I went to work, filling little cups with the different oils and really tasting them , enjoying them all and finally decided on an organic cold pressed oil from Spain that had the freshness of newly harvested hay. I could just as easily chosen a vintage oil from Napa, or a beautifully silky virgin oil from France, but the Spanish oil was captivating, a bit  unfiltered and very buttery.

Then I moved on to the vinegars, and ended up with two lovely yet very different flavors, one a california champagne vinegar infused with pomegranates, and the other, a hearty balsamic vinegar infused with dates, that was incrediblyperfect stirred into the drippings from the lamb shanks that  I cooked last night.

It is incredible to me, the many nuances of flavor that you can discover in olive oils. Almost like good wines, you can begin to taste the flavor of the soils they were grown in, the nature of the land and the people that harvested them. By the time I left , I was still tasting the oils on my tongue and it was a feeling of bliss! Tasting pure foods in that way really makes you want to cook well and travel more! I'd love to see them harvest the olives and press the oil.  I think that everyone should try to grow some of their own foods, even if it's several pots of herbs on a windowsill, or a hanging basket of tomatoes or a full blown garden. Being responsible for some of my food helps me make good choices, I eat better and I really enjoy providing food for my family and friends that I've nurtured myself. Growing some of your food keeps you close to the earth in a way that simply buying it in packages at the grocery store doesn't. In the long run, it's also less expensive,especially if you eat seasonally. Those are all really good reasons I think to grow some food of your own, but I really do it for the joyous taste of the tomato that I just ate off of the vine still warm from the midday sun.

Bon Appetit'!


Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Bar!

Olive Oil Bar
Yesterday, I had a bit of time on my hands, so I went to the Miles Farmers Market, a lovely place that has been around since I was just a child! It has really grown since then, transforming from a small fruit and vegetable stand to a huge gourmet business, and you can get millions of wonderful ingredients there. If you combined the best farmers market in the world with Dean & Deluca's in New York City, you'd have it. www.milesfarmersmarket.com

At any rate when I walked in, I was greeted with a wonderful surprise, actually more like a gift from the olive oil gods! They have installed a beautiful tasting bar for olive oils and all different types of vinegars, and you can taste as many as you would like! So I went to work, filling little cups with the different oils and really tasting them , enjoying them all and finally decided on an organic cold pressed oil from Spain that had the freshness of newly harvested hay. I could just as easily chosen a vintage oil from Napa, or a beautifully silky virgin oil from France, but the Spanish oil was captivating, a bit  unfiltered and very buttery.

Then I moved on to the vinegars, and ended up with two lovely yet very different flavors, one a california champagne vinegar infused with pomegranates, and the other, a hearty balsamic vinegar infused with dates, that was incrediblyperfect stirred into the drippings from the lamb shanks that  I cooked last night.

It is incredible to me, the many nuances of flavor that you can discover in olive oils. Almost like good wines, you can begin to taste the flavor of the soils they were grown in, the nature of the land and the people that harvested them. By the time I left , I was still tasting the oils on my tongue and it was a feeling of bliss! Tasting pure foods in that way really makes you want to cook well and travel more! I'd love to see them harvest the olives and press the oil.  I think that everyone should try to grow some of their own foods, even if it's several pots of herbs on a windowsill, or a hanging basket of tomatoes or a full blown garden. Being responsible for some of my food helps me make good choices, I eat better and I really enjoy providing food for my family and friends that I've nurtured myself. Growing some of your food keeps you close to the earth in a way that simply buying it in packages at the grocery store doesn't. In the long run, it's also less expensive,especially if you eat seasonally. Those are all really good reasons I think to grow some food of your own, but I really do it for the joyous taste of the tomato that I just ate off of the vine still warm from the midday sun.

Bon Appetit'!