Fruit Stand Meditation: Act II

I have a difficult relationship with fruit stands. I love them. Their owners hate me. The last time there was a fruit stand near my apartment, my relationship with the owner was so bad that he left the neighborhood. Though it’s possible that the fruit stand’s removal had less to do with me and more to do with the owner’s immigration status.

Unclear.

Whatever the reason for leaving, the absence of the fruit stand left a hole in my life. Every day I’d walk past the old fruit stand and, for a moment, mourn its passing. Then a new fruit stand moved in – a double wide fruit stand. The kind of fruit stand that takes up more room than an outdoor cafe. It was a beautiful fruit stand, but I wasn’t ready to accept it yet. Instead, I waited to see if this one would play me false and be gone before the season was out.

It had been there for two months when I finally bought some produce. I stood there for a while – in the rain, it happens – and contemplated. I squeezed a few avocados to see if any were truly ripe. I eyed the cherries. And nectarines. And mango. All the while I wondered why there was no one manning the fruit stand. Could a downpour really persuade a fruit stand owner to abandon his customers – and cart?

Not that it bothered me. I contemplated some more. Then, suddenly, there was a man at my elbow, taking the avocado from my hand and slipping into a plastic bag. I asked him for a pound of grapes, too, please.

“I didn’t think you were going to buy anything,” he said. “But he -” the man gestured at a younger man standing under the eves of the nearby store “bet that you would.”

“He’s a good man,” I said, with a thumbs-up to the man who had faith in me.

“I lost the bet,” the fruit stand man told me, as he gave me my change.

I thanked him and, with a scowl at the fruit stand man who didn’t believe in me, I took my produce and walked off.

The fruit stand is still there, but I haven’t seen the owner since. Do you think he’s avoiding me?

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The Blueberries Must Go

Why would anyone purchase blueberries out of season? Because they’re just that good when they are in season. Luckily for you, now is prime blueberry-time.

However, last July I was lured into a blueberry purchase by a local fruit stand. $1 for a pint? Hard to say no. But the season was passing, and I had to use them all immediately. So I used google as it was meant to be used and found a rash of berry recipes. I read among them, looking for a hands-down winner. Instead, I found a competition.

I read through and found a winner of my own. The judges tested the recipes and found a different winner.

Try them out and pick a blue-ribbon recipient of your choice.

Seasonal Blueberry Cake

1/4 c margarine

1 1/2 c sugar

2 eggs

1 c soy milk

3 c flour

2 tsp baking powder

sprinkle of salt, if desired

1 pint of blueberries [approximately 2 c]

Cream margarine and sugar. Mix in eggs and soymilk. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in blueberries; mix gently.

Bake in 9×9 circular pan at 350 for 45-55 minutes.

Lemon Glaze

1/2 c confectioner’s sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon

Mix together all ingredients. Drizzle over cooled cake.

Summer in the City

The weather is hot. The apartment is stifling. There is no dessert to be had. That is when I crave No Bakes.

When I told Ellen about it, she didn’t know what I was talking about. So I said I’d send the recipe for the perfect summer dessert. But then I realized that other people might be missing out too. So, in service to humanity, I’ll post the full recipe below. With a caveat. In the interest of beating the heat by staying out of the kitchen, I’ve developed an untested short-cut version. Let me know how it goes.

No-Bakes: Innovated Version

1/2 c peanut butter

1 c chocolate chips

3 c oatmeal

Melt peanut butter and chocolate in the microwave for 60 seconds – stir at 30 seconds. Mix the melted combination into into 3 cups of oatmeal. Save yourself and your sauce pan from the recipe below.

No Bakes: Traditional Version

1 1/2 cups sugar [The actual recipe calls for 2 cups. That’s for people who want to rot their teeth while masking the taste of chocolate and peanut butter. Feh.]
4 teaspoons cocoa
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

3 cups “quick-cooking” oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar and cocoa in a large saucepan. Add soy milk and margarine, mixing well. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for three minutes. Remove from heat. If you appear to have burned it, don’t worry. But do pay more attention. Stir in peanut butter until just melted. Add oats and vanilla, mixing well. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper to cool. Store in fridge.

Note: You may add nuts, coconut or raisins. Makes 3 dozen.