Monday, May 24, 2010

Tootie Fruitie

At last, fruit season is upon us.

For breakfast today, I had half a cantaloupe and a handful of strawberries. The cantaloupe, while possibly a little overripe, was flavorful and juicy. The strawberries, sweet and tart.

It's so much easier to be healthy this time of year.

I like to blame my eating habits on the season. In the fall, the only fruits that are really kicking are apples and pears, most of which seem to end up in pies or tarts (my pear tartlets are to die for). The colder it gets, the less cold food one wants to eat. Why eat cold cereal when you can have oatmeal with brown sugar? Why have salad when you can have soup? Why have anything raw when you can have it browned, sauteed, or casseroled?

But now it's getting warmer. Now warm food puts us off. Now we don't like cooking too much because it heats up the house. In certain ways, it's great for us.

Of course, there's always ice cream and sugar soda and such to cool us down. There's always an excuse for unhealthy eating. But give me a fridge full of fruit and I'm good to go. Maybe some sorbet if it gets really hot out. Something light. Something refreshing. Who needs a stomach full of cheese and bread when it's hot outside? It just makes you feel heavier, hotter, more lethargic.

OK--I'm trying to convince myself of this as much as you. As you might have guessed by my lack of postings lately, I'm dieting again. And I haven't been cooking much at all--lots of yogurt and fresh fruit and veg. It's a great way to shed the pounds and it definitely makes me feel healthier, but I'm starting to miss cooking. Real cooking. The kind where you don't have to worry about how many calories are in each ingredient, measuring and weighing everything you eat.

So I'm trying to luxuriate in fruit. It would be, if we humans hadn't gotten all tricky about our food, one of life's greatest pleasures. Imagine if we hadn't refined sugar or figured out how to manipulate the cacao bean. A strawberry might be the ultimate gustatory pleasure. A slice of watermelon. A ripe, juicy pear.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sweet Onion and Jalapeno Jelly, Attempt #3

Yeah, I left out attempt #2. Sorry about that.

This time, I decided that my jelly-making skills just weren't up to snuff, and went for more of a chutney style. Two medium sweet onions, diced, and four jalapenos, diced, went into 2 tbsp olive oil on medium-low heat for about three hours. Plus a few tablespoons full of sugar to help the caramelization process along. It's sticky, sweet, and spicy. Amazing on crackers or crostini with cream cheese or goat cheese.

The best thing, I think, about today's attempt, is that I didn't burn myself with the jalapenos. In the past, no matter how hard I've tried, I've missed some trace of jalapeno juice on my hands, blown my nose (to relieve my runny nose and watery onion eyes), and ended up with some some part of my face burning and stinging for the rest of the day. It is relieved, I've found, by the application of heavy cream (the fat absorbs the acids) but it is so much better when the burning is prevented. This time, my husband made sure I had a rubber surgical glove to hold the jalapenos as I diced them, so no more burning.

Hurray for team work!