We tried a new fruit this year, the Pluot. A cross between a plum and an apricot, apparently, but I've also seen "apriums" at the Market, so I'll have to remember to ask the farmers if there's a difference. (It could be that the aprium farmers kept writing/typing "plutos" instead of "pluots," as I am struggling with!) Anyhow, Robbie at Collins Family Orchard recommended these guys:
|The aptly-named "Flavor Queen" variety of pluots|
I love how so many of our fruit vendors price to mix and match. It encourages us to try new varieties. Wade at Rockridge treated the nine-year-old and me to a "flight" of Asian pears, so we could compare and contrast. I loved them all, especially the 20th Century. No--it was the Chojuro--no--the Kikisui! Oh, drat, I'll have to go back and try again.
|Got just about all of 'em in this shot|
Fruit vendors weren't the only ones enjoying the bounty of the season. At Crepes they were serving up two specials: Blueberry Salmon with Balsamic Reduction and Manchego Cheese with Prosciutto and Blueberries. Oh my word. And the jam makers are going to town.
All this fruit talk reminds me that Alm Hill had some beautiful specimens of the "magical" fruit:
|Beans, beans, the magical fruit|
For those of you who have hung in this long, hoping for some meat to this post, I offer up the following recipe we recently devoured. All ingredients from the Market have been marked with an asterisk(*).
Lion's Head Stew (basically Chinese meatballs, adapted from chinesefood.about.com)
1 lb Napa cabbage* (Rockridge) and/or baby bok choy (Willie Green's)
1 lb ground pork*
2 scallions, chopped*
1 tsp minced ginger* (was it at Hedlin I saw ginger?)
1 large egg*
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp mirin or sherry
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
pepper to taste
2-3 Tbsp cornstarch
1-1/2 c chicken broth
Slice the cabbage and/or bok choy (I used a mix) crosswise in thick strips. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix ground pork through pepper, adding enough cornstarch at the end to hold it together in meatballs. (I threw in 2 of the Tbsp and then added the 3rd.) Shape into four giant meatballs or eight smaller ones.
Heat 2 Tbsp cooking oil in skillet on med-hi. When hot, add meatballs. Brown for 3-5 minutes on one side and then rotate to brown another side.
Meanwhile, heat chicken broth and 2 more Tbsp soy sauce in a large skillet or saucepan with cover. When boiling, add meatballs. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add in cabbage/bok choy. Cover again and simmer another 15 minutes.
This is a soupy dish to serve over rice or noodles. Or you can make a cornstarch-and-water slurry, add it to the broth and thicken into a sauce.
Everyone chowed this down, and I think the next time I make it, I'll double the cabbage because it was so tasty!