These next few weeks mark the convergence of multiple miracles. There are precious few days in a year when white nectarines meet cherries, Blenheim apricots mingle with yellow peaches and mulberries join the mix before the cherries bow out. Welcome to the greatest growing region in the world.
You've heard that our farmers markets are among the best in the country, but what makes Los Angeles a super special location is its proximity to both the Central Valley and the southern most points of California. Our stone fruit season starts early and ends late because our farmers converge into our region for as far south as Chula Vista and as far north as Gilroy.
So here it is- our Ode to Stone Fruit. Make a pitcher, two or three, and tag us on Instagram @gourmandisela.
Stone Fruit Sangria
We love using Venokado's Fritz Muller. On that note, don't be afraid to buy a couple of bottles and double or triple this recipe. It's that kind of party.
1 bottle sparkling wine
2 small plums
1 white nectarine
4-6 mint leaves
1 Tbsps lime juice
Slice the stone fruit into 1/4 slices, making sure to reserve any juices. Thinly slice the lime as well, leaving one for garnish. Set aside.
Grab a pitcher or 1/2 gallon mason jar and muddle together the lime juice and mint leaves (read: smash with a wood spoon). Pour half a bottle of wine to the pitcher, followed by the fruit. Pour in the remaining wine.
Chill the sangria for at least two hours.
Pour into glasses and garnish with a little crushed ice and a slice of lime. Feel free to top the pitcher off with any remaining wine.
Hadley's Southern roots infiltrate more than a few of our classes. Her biscuits are integral to Day 2 of Pro Pastry, the Caramel Cake is the only reason we offer a Southern Cakes class and her legendary Shrimp & Grits make anyone walking by twist their heads as students stir the grits and send its sweet aroma wafting outside the classroom.
Southern classics aren't about subtlety; flavors are intense and textures are important. No more tasteless, soggy fried chicken, friends. The secret lies in a long buttermilk brine and the right amount of seasoning in the coating. Chef John Pitblado's been at the helm of our regional cuisine classes, and his super-crispy buttermilk fried chicken is a revelation. Check out our favorite side dish below- and let us know how you make this cornbread your own (jalapeno anyone)?
Southern Style Cornbread with Honey Butter
If you don't have an 8"cast iron skillet, line a 8"round or square baking pan with parchment and pour melted butter onto the bottom.
5 tablespoons melted butter or bacon fat
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sweet corn kernels
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Melt 2 tablespoons of fat in 8" cast iron skillet and place in preheated oven. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl whisk buttermilk, eggs, corn and remaining 3 tablespoons of melted butter then add to dry ingredients mixing until incorporated but still lumpy. Pour mixture into hot skillet and bake until lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes.
Remove from oven and remove from pan immediately. You may need to run a knife around the edge of the pan to help turn it out of the skillet. Serve immediately, best served hot and with honey butter.
1 pound salted butter
1/4 cups honey
Cut the butter into chunks using a dough scraper or knife.
Place butter into the mixer's work bowl and beat at low speed, using the whisk attachment to loosen the butter. Increase the speed to medium and add the honey and beat until well combined, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove butter from bowl and spoon onto parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll into a log and refrigerate for 2 hours.