Monday, May 12, 2008

Eat More Pineapple

Have you ever stood in front of the produce at the market and wondered, "What's the most important thing to buy organic? Strawberries? Apples? Bananas?" If you're like me, then you have ... and often. Thank you to the Environmental Working Group for putting this incredibly useful resource together (and thank you to Tamara for forwarding it to me): it's a wallet-sized guide that breaks down produce into "best" and "worst" categories according to the amount of pesticide found on them in laboratory testing. Conducted by the Environmental Working Group, the study tested 44 imported and domestic fruits and veggies to determine what produce had the greatest frequency of detectable pesticides, the greatest number, and the greatest number of pesticides found on a single sample. What's the worst fruit? Peaches. The worst veggie? Sweet bell peppers. And the best? Pineapple, avocado, and onion. That should make for an interesting chutney. Using this list should help you decide what to buy organic and what not to buy at all. Sorry, apple, you're not looking too good, anymore (with traces of 9 -- you heard right, 9!! -- pesticides found on just one sample). But really, take a look. They even have a downloadable version, you can print out and take to the market with you.

Friday, May 9, 2008


By the way, all, I did indulge in a cherimoya from Garden of Eden Organics a couple weeks back. And I say "indulge," because these beastly fruits cost a bundle: $5.50 a pound, and they're not light. I wrapped it in newspaper, as advised by a nice gentleman at the stand, and let it ripen for a week, until it was quite soft, like a ripe avocado. I cut it in half and scooped it out with a spoon. The soft, creamy meat was like nothing I've ever had -- it was incredibly sweet, but with an unmistakable tartness to it. Almost as though you crossed a guava with a pineapple. If you're interested in experimenting with new flavors, give this guy a shot. A few words of advice: definitely refrigerate it before digging in. Either that, or cut it in half and place it in the freezer, then scoop it out like sorbet; I think that would be divine, and in continuation with the fad of a few years past of serving sorbet in a frozen shell of its original fruit. That would make for a lovely display. For an extra tropical presentation, consider placing an orchid or other edible flower atop the frozen fruit.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

General Market Report

Well, folks, it's still pretty bleak out there, I'm sorry to say. The apples, the oranges, the citrus -- they're all there, but they are not lookin' too good. The strawberries are still going strong, which is great -- especially if you're interested in whipping up some of those margaritas. My one piece of exciting news is this: cherries have begun to drizzle in! They're still hard as rocks and much too pale in color, but they're there. According to most farmers I spoke with, more summer fruit will begin to appear within the next few weeks. So, keep your eyes peeled for pluots, plums, and apricots. This does also mean, of course, that we're in the last throes of winter citrus -- so stock up now if that brings tears to your eyes. Not me, though -- I simply cannot wait for nectarines and peaches and pluots and melons!

See you at the market!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Margaritas de Fresa

A week ago this Wednesday, some of my most loyal readers and friends joined me for a tasty tonic: strawberry margaritas made with the organic berries I froze a few weeks back. And dear readers, let me tell you, a tangier, sweeter, fresher margarita has never crossed these lips. I implore you: go freeze some berries (or other types of fruit) and indulge in this pleasure.

Now, if my mixology were more "-ology" and less "mix-", I'd have a recipe with precise proportions for you, but unfortunately, that's just not the way I roll. I eyeballed each and every intoxicating batch, but aimed to obey the basic principles of traditional margarita-making: 1 part lime, 1/2 tequila, 1/2 triple sec. Though these are strawberry margaritas, I still used the juice of a few fresh limes to add some liquid as well as tang.

I'm thinking for next time, I might add mango, or maybe make it a triple-berry margarita with blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Whatever I do whip up, I promise I'll share the fruits of my labors with you!