Entries in fruit (4)


Morning Glory Muffins

There have been so many preparations on my plate for baby and making it through the holiday season with my sanity intact, that the new year seemed to show up rather quickly for me. I am not one to make resolutions but after a season full of indulgences, finding ways to incorporate healthier food options back in to my diet is one thing I always try to do when the new year begins. 

Mr. Ramon and I are taking a fantastic birth class series through Northwest Natural Childbirth . One of the things we talk about each week is nutrition. We each bring a snack to class based on a food group. This week we had to bring a snack that had eggs in the ingredients. As a baker I knew I wanted to bring a baked good that would be healthy and have the featured ingredient in it. 

I decided to work out a recipe for a really healthy muffin full of dried fruit, whole wheat flour and nuts. When I was working for Starbucks back in the day, there was an amazing muffin called the Morning Glory. It was full of nuts, raisins, carrots and topped with brown sugar. I loved that muffin and tried to pretend that it was actually healthy. 

The recipe here is less sweet and contains no oils or fats in the recipe. In their place I used a mixture of yogurt and mashed ripe banana. I chose a hearty variety of dried fruits - pineapple, dates and golden raisins. Wheat germ, flaxseed meal and oats added a hearty feel and a health benefit. Overall these were dense but quite moist with great flavor from the fruit and nuts. I served them with a low sugar blackberry jam. Yum.

Morning Glory Muffins

Makes 18

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon wheat germ
3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain fat free greek yogurt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2)
1 egg lightly beaten
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place 18 muffin cups liners in muffin cups
  3. Combine flours and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; blend together
  4. Make a well in center of mixture 
  5. Combine yogurt, banana, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist 
  6. Fold in dates, walnuts, raisins and pineapple 
  7. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups 
  8. Top each muffin with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds 
  9. Bake 17- 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center
  10. Remove muffins from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack 
  11. Once completely cool store in an airtight container for 3 days or freeze 



Saving Summer - Rhubarb Schnapps

I have a real love for rhubarb. As a kid in Oregon my mom grew a vast sea of strawberries in a rock garden. This garden was topped by several huge rhubarb plants. I remember her picking strawberries and rhubarb, her head covered in a scarf, crouched in the garden. She always trimmed off the big rhubarb leaves and made sure they went securely into the trash so none of the animals would get them since they are poisonous. 

I couldn't quite comprehend a vegetable that acted as a fruit and tasted so horrible raw. So sour your face would pucker up. But my mom worked her magic and made pies and jam with rhubarb that could blow your mind. Her Strawberry Rhubarb pie was a favorite of my dads. Sweet and tart with a beautiful buttery crust. Yum. 

I had an abundance of rhubarb from a friend and wanted to do something special with it. I love the idea of infused spirits and decided to concoct a rhubarb schnapps. 

Schnapps in America translates to a strong grain alcohol base mixed with any variety of fruit and other flavors, sweetened and producing a syrupy like drink. Why not Rhubarb? 

Start with about 2 pounds of rhubarb trimmed and washed. One 1 liter bottle of average vodka, 2 large jars with lids and 1 1/2c sugar. 

Divide the sugar between the jars. Slice the rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces and divide between the jars.

Put the lids on and give the jars a good shake. 

Pour in 2 cups of vodka. If it does not cover the rhubarb - add more. I used the entire liter of vodka. 

Put on the lids and give the jars a good shake. 

Now comes the waiting game. Find a dark cupboard to store this in for the next 6 weeks and up to 6 months. Shake the jars every other day for the first month - helps the sugar dissolve and turns the liquid a lovely pink. 

Drink chilled straight up or mixed with some sparkling water. You can also use it as a base for a cocktail or mix with champagne. Lovely elixer of summer!!!  


Cantaloupe Aguas Frescas

Today it is going to reach 90 degrees in Seattle and here that is hot! Looking for foods to cool us down, I saw a very ripe cantaloupe in the refrigerator staring at me. I immediately knew that I was going to turn that guy into Aguas Frescas!

Aguas Frescas means "fresh waters" in Spanish and that is just what they are. These refreshing beverages are from seasonal fresh fruit, water and sugar. Traditionally the fruit is hand mashed and mixed with water and sugar until combined. I use a blender to make quick business of it. In this case I also made a fresh mint simple syrup to sweeten it with. Less mixing with no granulated sugar to dissolve and a little hint of mint.

This drink is best served ice cold. Refrain from adding ice as to not dilute it. I love to serve one at a summer party for those looking for alcohol free options. Of course I also think that these make a great base for tequila!! 

Cantaloupe Aquas Frescas

  • 1 cantaloupe peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 quarts of water - approximately
  • 1/3 cup mint simple syrup (see below)
  • juice of 1 lime 

Place half of the cantaloupe and half of the water into the blender and blend until pureed. Pour into pitcher and repeat with the other half of cantaloupe. 

Add the simple syrup and lime juice and mix well

Chill until very cold!


I love simple syrups. So easy - just sugar and water. You can add any herb or flavor to them and use them for iced tea, iced coffee, mixed drinks etc. So easy to make.

Mint Simple Syrup 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 handful of fresh mint

Crush the mint and water together in a small saucepan to release the mint oils. Add the sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Strain mint leaves from syrup. Remove from heat and let cool before use. Will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.  


Fresh Apricot Galette

My dad preferred pie over cake for desserts and occasions like birthdays. This is something I knew from a very young age and I am sure my mom told me this on many occasion. Kids usually expect cake so "why pie?". My mom knew from early on in her and my dads relationship that he liked pie. I don't think my grandmother could have made it any clearer when she gifted my mom with the "Farm Journal's Complete Pie Book" 1969ish. The inscription is priceless "Hope you have a lot of fun. Really read this book - and read the index thoroughly". Clearly the message was "my son likes pie - so you better make a good one".

Some of my fondest memories are in the kitchen with my family. One stands out more than most and although the details are a little fuzzy the facts remain the same. I remember watching from the sidelines as my parents made pies. I think it was for thanksgiving and I am pretty sure there was pumpkin involved. None the less - sitting back and enjoying that memory makes me feel happy inside. 

While some people love throwing together a batch of cupcakes, I love throwing together a pie, or a pie like dessert. For me crust is what my hands love to make and no freezer is complete without a crumble topping awaiting its fruit! Fruit pies are my favorite. That sweet ripe fruit baked until it is soft, wrapped in buttery crust. Fresh fruit doesn't stand a chance in our home and these apricots were no exception. 

I was excited to see the beginning of stone fruits in the local markets. How could I say no to splitting a case of local, organic apricots with one of my customers. Sweet fragrant dumplings of love these were! I have jam on my mind but it seems like a sin to not use some in a dessert. I decided to go rustic and make a galette. A galette is a rustic free form tart. Consider her the low maintenance sister to a pie. No fluted edges here. Just a crust folded up around fruit. Yum!

Pate Brisee

This recipe will make 2 crusts. You need one for this recipe. You can freeze the other for up to 2 months. I say make another galette!!  

  • 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of cold butter cut up into small pieces
  • ice water - 1/4 cup or so

Combine flour and salt in the bowl of your food processor - pulse to combine. Add butter, pulse for about 10 1 second pulses until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining. (To mix by hand, combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry blender or your fingers.)

With machine running, slowly pour  1/4 cup ice water through feed tube. When dough comes together press a small amount together; if it is still too crumbly, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. We do not want wet or sticky dough. Do not process more than 30 seconds.


Turn out dough onto a clean work surface. Gather together then divide in half. Place each half on a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into disks. Wrap with plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. 

Apricot Galette

  • 1/2 recipe Pate Brisee
  • 1 1/2 pounds apricots - about 10
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup + sugar
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Pre heat over to 425 degrees

Half and pit your apricots. Slice each half into 3 sections. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice/zest, sugar, cornstarch and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Toss to coat. Taste your apricots and see if they need a little more sugar. 

Roll out your Pate Brisee using a little flour to a 13' circle. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet. Place apricot mixture in the middle of the pastry leaving a 2 inch edge of pastry all the way around. Start folding up the crust over the apricots creasing as necessary to keep in the juices. 

Brush the outer pastry edges with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Place in over for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 375 degrees and bake an additional 20 - 25 minutes until pastry is golden and apricots are bubbling. Serve warm with ice cream or my favorite at room temperature with a cup of coffee for breakfast! 

Is it bad I had some for dessert and then breakfast the next morning?