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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Showing posts with label fruits. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label fruits. Show all posts

      Sunday, July 17, 2011


      Three daylily flowers, picked in the morning, rinsed carefully because the petals are crisp and crack easily, refrigerated until later that same day for a special treat. Remove stamens and pistil before rinsing.
      Place gingerly in crystal stemware, scoop in some raspberry or strawberry sorbet, and top with minced red basil, plus more for garnish. Oohs and Aahs. you're a genius, and such hard work!Use wild or cultivated flowers, ones that you're sure haven't been sprayed, and nothing from the roadside where they've been absorbing exhaust fumes. Daylily flowers are edible though some varieties are more flavorful than others. Usually the aroma will guide you to the best flavors.
      Basil and fruit sorbet is a tasty combination.
      Yesterday in the New York Times Magazine my favorite food writer Mark Bittman showed recipes for ice pops with various herbs and flavorings. I've been doing this for years, sometimes for kids using paper or plastic cups, and sticking a plastic spoon in the sorbet after it's semi-frozen. Here Lucy extracts a watermelon pop from a plastic cup after holding her hands around the outside for a few seconds to release the ice.

      The watermelon was going begging in our house because it was not flavorful. So we cut it off the rind and in chunks, whipped it briefly in the food processor with added sugar, lemon juice and a grind of pepper and poured it into plastic cups. Also resurrect other fruits like limp strawberries or mealy peaches, adding water in the same quantity as fruit.

      Hey Lucy, she likes it!

      Sunday, October 4, 2009

      fruity booze...a special autumn cocktail

      Look around you...summer is over.

      I love fall: the vibrant foliage, the refreshing temperatures, the anticipation that heavy, sweaty garden work will soon be over. And so I raise a glass to Autumn in New York with this very special cocktail.

      The recipe for the basic booze comes from 66 Square Feet (an excellent NYC garden blog, btw). I was immediately inspired to start a batch of my own, albeit with a slightly different agglomeration of fruits:
      -mulberries (foraged in Central Park)
      -red, black, and white currants (from my CSA fruit share)
      -gooseberries (from my own bush!) N.B. Gooseberries are a VERY easy fruit to grow in containers. They'll take light shade and are rarely bothered by pests, perhaps because of their thorny armor.

      3 lbs of fruit requires 1.5 lbs. of sugar. I layered the fruit and sugar in a VERY large jar, then poured in vodka to cover. Of course the sugar all washed down to the bottom of the jar, but I swirled it around every time I remembered and trusted that all would be well.

      After 5 weeks of macerating, it was time to taste. I was curious about Marie's suggestion to mix the fruity booze with gin. It's vodka, after all, and since when do vodka and gin mix well? Um...since now.

      2 parts fruity booze
      1 part gin (I used Bombay Sapphire. The cucumber flavor of Hendricks wouldn't be right here.)
      1 part seltzer
      1 part fresh lime juice
      over generous ice

      I can't begin to describe how delicious this was. Sweet, yes, but the tartness of the berries balanced the sugar. And the color is OTW. Of course I love that it's not a flavor combination you'll find in a local bar. The best things are always homemade and this seasonal cocktail is no exception.

      I put aside 4 small bottles for gifts (if they survive through to the holiday season) and I'm saving the vodka soaked fruit for an experiment with drunken jelly, perhaps next weekend.

      So what to call it? Autumn Breeze, September Slammer, Fall Foliage Fizz? I'd love to hear your suggestions. Cheers!

      Monday, November 17, 2008

      Community Supported Agriculture

      In case you haven't noticed, there's not a lot of room for kitchen gardens in NYC. Oh sure, you can grow tomatoes on rooftops and herbs in window boxes, not to mention lettuces in Brooklyn and maybe even a respectable spread of eggplants and zukes in Queens or Staten Island. But not many of us have enough room to grow all our own fruits and vegetables, which is why green markets and CSAs are essential to any New Yorker who wants fresh, local food.

      You all know what greenmarkets are, but how about a CSA? Community Supported Agriculture is a coop arrangement between a group of local foodies and a farmer. The farmer sells shares to members who pay in advance for fruits and vegetables throughout the year. By paying ahead of time you share some risk with the farmer. Will the spinach be attacked by beetles? Will the butternut squash be drowned by late summer rains? Maybe. That's the chance you take for seasonal food grown by a farmer you actually know.

      And did I mention, you never know exactly what you're going to get until the food arrives? The delivery includes whatever is in season, meaning you won't get tomatoes in June or cucumbers in October. My share this week included: garlic, beets, carrots, potatoes, acorn squash, celeriac, parsley, dry beans, kale, cauliflower, pears, and apples. A cornucopia of autumn goodness.

      Now's the time to subscribe for 2009! My own CSA sells out fast, so I re-subscribe nice and early. To find a CSA in New York City, check the Just Food website. If you're living somewhere else in the U S of A, check out Local Harvest. Type in your zip code and get a list of the CSAs nearest you.

      Most groups recommend a half share for couples and a full share for families, but Michael and I easily get through a full share with just the two of us. You can buy an extra fruit share and supplement with monthly meat, egg, and cheese deliveries. There's maple syrup, honey, yogurt, bread...even fresh flowers if you're in the mood.

      The point is that just because you live in a single room with one window that faces a brick wall (no wait, that's me) it doesn't mean you can't have fresh fruit and vegetables in the middle of this big, bad, hungry city.

      Photos 2, 3 & 4 were taken by Adam Mastoon for my book: Down & Dirty: 43 Fun & Funky First Time Projects & Activities to Get You Gardening. I'm allowed to use them in conjunction with promoting the book, so consider this a promo!

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