Fresh off the Tree

                   Beet, Plum and Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 12 2-inch diameter beets, washed and tops trimmed
  • 1 ½ lbs. ripe but still firm plums, pitted and cut into ½ inch pieces.
  • 1 medium red onion, finely sliced
  • About 10 oz. baby arugula or spinach
  • 8 oz. soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Dressing:

  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • Juice of ½ fresh orange
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. walnut oil (optional)
  • 3 tbsp. light flavoured oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  • Wrap beets tightly in foil and roast in a 375 degree oven on a baking sheet until tender. (This can take from 1 ½ to 2 hours)
  • Unwrap beets and allow to cool. Remove skins and cut into quarters or rounds. Place in large bowl.
  • Combine dressing ingredients in jar. Shake well and taste. Adjust seasonings.
  • In a small bowl, sprinkle onions with a tbsp. of dressing and allow to sit for a few minutes.
  • Toss beets with 2 tbsp. dressing.
  • Toss plums with dressing in a separate bowl.
  • Sprinkle salad greens with dressing.
  • Arrange beets around edge of small platter.
  • Mound greens in center.
  • Top with plums and onions and sprinkle with goat cheese and serve.

Baked Egg Rolls with Chinese Plum Sauce

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 Egg Rolls:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil (or other high heat tolerant oil)
  • 1 lb. ground lean pork
  • 3 finely chopped green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 cup finely grated savoy cabbage
  • ½ cup chopped water chestnuts
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 cup well-washed mung bean or edamame sprouts
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • ½ tsp. ground pepper
  • 12 large egg-roll wrappers
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil

Preparation:

  • In large skillet, brown pork over medium-high heat, breaking up with a spoon.
  • Add onions, garlic, and other vegetables. Cook over medium heat until onions are softened.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, cornstarch, water, sesame oil and pepper.
  • Make a space in the middle of the pan and pour in the sauce. Toss well and cook for a minute or  two to cook out the starchy taste.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Forming 1 roll at a time, place wrapper on work surface, brush with water. Spoon 2 or 3 tbsp. mixture on bottom third, leaving 1 inch borders. Pull bottom edge over filling and roll up. Pinch ends to seal.
  • Place rolls, seam side down, on rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment.
  • Brush with oil.
  • Bake in 375 degree oven until crisp and golden.
  • If you are making vegetable rolls, just omit the pork. Tofu can be substituted, if desired.

 

Plum Sauce

Serving: Makes about 4 cups (this sauce is delicious with chicken or pork and freezes well)

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups halved, pitted plums.
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves minced or grated garlic
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. allspice

Preparation:

  • In a large heavy saucepan, bring plums, onions, water, ginger and garlic to boil over medium heat.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer , stirring occasionally, until plums and onions are very tender (about 30 minutes)
  • Press through a coarse sieve or food mill and return to clean pan.
  • Stir ing sugar, vinegar and spices. Bring to a boil, stirring.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture reaches consistency of applesauce, about 45 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings and sweetness . (I found the recipe needed some adjusting.)
  • Cool, fill containers and freeze. (Always use freezer safe containers)

 

Plum and Ricotta Tart

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Crust:

  • ½ cup cold butter, cut in ¼ inch cubes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt

Directions:

  • Place dry ingredients in food processor and pulse to mix.
  • Add cubed butter and pulse until butter is finely chopped and evenly distributed. (If you don’t have a food processor, rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers or a pastry blender)
  • Press the mixture into a 10” pie plate, cover with parchment.  Fill the plate with pie weights (You can use beans or rice for this. Just keep them in a dry, airtight container for re-using)
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Remove the dish, lift out the pie weights carefully, using the parchment and return the plate to the oven for another 10- 15 minutes until the crust is light golden brown.

Filling:

  • About 20 purple plums, washed, pitted and quartered.
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup raw or white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preparation:

  • Heat the apricot preserves in the microwave until it melts. Cool it slightly and mix with quartered plums.
  • Arrange plums in crust, beginning at the outside.
  • Whisk cheese mixture well and pour carefully over the plums.
  • Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 40 minutes or just until the filling is set.

Deep Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Zucchini Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (about 2 smallish, or 1 large)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips, or both (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325°F and spray a Bundt pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugar on high speed with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes, until thick and pale yellow. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  • In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add a third to the butter mixture and beat just until blended; add half the sour cream and do the same. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the sour cream, and the rest of the flour. Stir in the zucchini and the nuts and/or chocolate chips, if you’re using them, and pour the thick batter into the pan, smoothing the top.
  • Bake for an hour, until the top is cracked and springy to the touch. Invert onto a plate or cake stand while still warm. Serves 8-16.