Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pomegranate "How To"

We hear and read more and more about the health benefits of pomegrantes. But I sometimes wonder if that fruit, in its normal, fruit-like dimension, isn't one of the most-ignored fruits in the market. I can imagine them saying "Choose me, choose me, please" and then sighing dejectedly as yet another shopping cart and customer moves on to the next display -- the customer with a puzzled look on his face.

So here we go. Let's pick one up ... a nice heavy one so that it has lots of the precious seeds. And let's take it home with us and dig in!

Digging in is actually quite the correct concept. We don't bite into it -- ouch! It's the seeds that we're after. In fact, with just a tiny bit of juice for the seeds to live in, and lots of white pithy substance, that's all that's inside the pretty, deep-red fruit.

First we cut off the stem end. That was easy.

Next we cut the fruit into halves, and then those halves in half so that we end up with quarters. Pretty easy too.

And then we just dig in! But first we dive in. Yes, removing the seeds while each quarter is immersed in a container of water is an easy way to separate the seeds from the pulp bits. The seeds sink to the bottom and the pulp bits float.

Thumbs work particularly well to get at the seeds, releasing them from the white pulp with ease.

After all four quarters have been completed, you'll have about two small handfuls of those precious pomegranate seeds.

And you'll have several big handfuls of pulp to be discarded.

Unless I am making a particularly-large salad for a big group of people, I like to use the seeds a few tablespoonfuls at a time. They freeze beautifully ... just spread them in a single layer on a tray in the freezer for a few hours. Then, package them up for future scooping. A small, glass jelly jar is just about the right size and keeps them nice-and-fresh in the freezer.

So now, when those pomegranates come calling in the supermarket, maybe they won't have to feel like the wallflowers at the school dance any longer?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Le Fromage

Looking for a great selection of French cheeses? Especially intrigued by the idea of raw-milk cheeses? Or just looking to recover a bit of the ambiance of a French fromagerie (cheese shop) after your recent trip to France?

Whole Foods Market, a portion of whose French-cheese selection is shown in the photograph, has a lovely selection. I can admire it for a LONG time! The only difficulty is making the decision(s). You can purchase many in already-packaged portions. And some may be cut-to-order (with pre-tasting encouraged) for you.

I like using the cut-to-order method -- it's such a pleasure to reach over the counter to take the little package, all freshly-wrapped and prepared for me, from the helpful cheesemonger. If I'm headed to a picnic, or just to a picnic lunch for one, opening the paper and displaying the selected slice makes me feel as if I'm part of a lunch in the French countryside.

Yum yum. Or as the French say, miam miam!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

On Rue Tatin

I have written about Susan Hermann Loomis, her cookbooks and her cooking classes in Normandy before. But sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words -- especially if the picture is of the moving variety and in spite of the words being in French. To soak up some of the atmosphere, have a look at this video. If you're like me, you'll be dreaming of French markets and cooking classes in no time!