This was a great year for stone fruits in Santa Fe, and I harvested a lot of plums both from street trees and in the wild. Most people don’t seem to realize that the purple-leaf plums planted as landscape trees produce very tasty fruit. Maybe they don’t see the plums, because the color of the fruit blends in with the color of the foliage. Maybe most people are frightened of unfamiliar foods. Whatever the reason, unappreciated fruit was falling to the ground all around my neighborhood. Backyard Forager to the rescue! I juiced the fruit, canned the juice, then made fruit leather from the pulp. It’s only now, in the downtime that is winter, that I’ve had time to play with the juice, and I’m really happy with the results. This wild plum mousse is not only delicious, but versatile. You can serve it in individual dishes or make one big, tasty pie! Read more
Chestnuts are wonderful, versatile things, as useful in sweet desserts (like this irresistible chestnut mousse) as they are in savory dishes. Their high starch content makes them softer and creamier than most nuts. (Fun fact: chestnuts contain twice as much starch as potatoes!) In places where chestnuts are a native crop, they’re often used as vegetables rather than nuts. Some of the most delicious chestnuts I’ve eaten were in Greece; they were roasted with onions in a light tomato sauce. Chestnuts are the only nut that contains vitamin C, and unlike most nuts, they contain very little fat, making them a low calorie choice in the foraged nut department. Not that this recipe is low cal. I make no apologies for the cream, egg yolks, rum, and sugar. This is a wonderful dessert for a special occasion, and probably my favorite way to use chestnuts. Read more
Meyer Lemon Mousse is a superb dessert. “Why?” you ask. Because it’s everything you could want in a dessert. Its flavor and texture are sensuously satisfying. It’s both sweet and tart. It’s creamy and rich, yet light and fluffy. It’s easy to make, but looks like you slaved over it in the kitchen. Your dinner guests are sure to be impressed.