I’ve been slacking off when it comes to blog posts lately. I think a lot of it has to do with this post. There was so much to say about our Thanksgivukkah celebration and there never seemed to be enough time to write about it. But today I have no excuse. It’s snowing outside. All the housework has been done. My belly is full of chicken soup and an apple crisp. I’m ready to write. Let’s do this.
On the last weekend of September this year I think everyone in all of NYC decided it was the perfect weekend to go apple picking. The weather was lovely and the zipcars were just begging to be booked out and taken on mini road trips to all the little farms and orchards around New York and New Jersey. We headed over to fishkill farms based on the recommendations of a friend and also because they are pet friendly. It’s always nice to take the dog out of town with us so he can roll around in the grass and smell all those interesting smells. The farm was great. Not too big or too small with plenty of apples to pick. We got there relatively early so it wasn’t too crowded either. A map was provided and everything was well laid out and easily accessible. I’d never been apple picking before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Here are a couple of things I learnt:
- There are lots of rotting apples on the ground. Be prepared to dodge them as you are picking. Luckily our dog didn’t really take much notice of them.
- Unless you need 10 bags of apples, apple picking is a relatively quick activity. You don’t need to plan to spend more than an hour or two over at the orchard. Maybe bring a packed lunch and have a picnic when you’re done. The shop at fishkill is quite lovely too. It’s always nice to pick up some super fresh produce.
- It’s such a nice feeling to actually pick the fruit off the tree, appreciate where things come from or how much energy has had to go into growing it. People always talk about stuff like that and I would think “That’s nice” but now I feel like I “get it” just a little more.
I have a confession to make. I think I really like baking with fruit. I never used to be this way. In fact, those that know me would say that I’m not really into eating all that much fruit in general. But something is changing. Maybe it’s all the articles and blog posts that I read that are inspiring me to cook more seasonally, to take advantage of what’s ripe and fresh right now? I don’t know. All I can say is that last year when faced with the decision of baking an interesting chocolate cake vs a plum torte, the chocolate cake would have won, hands down. Whatever it is that’s happening delicious fall fruits are here and I’m taking the opportunity to bake with them to my hearts content.
I found this recipe on smittenkitchen.com for a famous plum torte from the new york times and thought I’d give it a go. I tried finding italian purple plums at a bunch of markets including my local farmers market but was unsuccessful. So I tried using regular black plums from the grocery store. I think the results were good though next time I’d try to give the plums a day or two extra to ripen before baking with them.
I changed nothing about this recipe so just go ahead and check it out here and try making it yourself. So simple, delicious and easy to make!
Yes it’s summer and yes I’m obsessed with my new ice cream maker. I took a two week (involuntary!) break from ice cream prep. You can’t have ice cream every weekend, or can you? Anyhow, I was very excited to get back to it and try out this No-Cook Strawberry Ice Cream recipe that I found on SouthernLiving/MyRecipes.
This is really a follow up from my earlier ice cream post and also a kind of experiment of no cook (philadelphia style) ice cream vs the classic french style ice cream. While the earlier post focused on the french custard style of ice cream that required a kind of cooking process, this ice cream recipe was super quick and much simpler to prepare. Combine a few things together, chill, cut up strawberries and voila. Ice cream! It was still a two day process for me but seemed like a lot less work. There was also less stressing over questions like “Have I cooked the eggs correctly? is this the right temperature? Is this a complete flop?”
Why strawberry? Well I tried chocolate and mint choc chip so I thought that something with fruit was a nice way to mix things up. Plus, it’s rare that I cook anything that comes out pink so I thought that might be fun too!