Updates and Fruit Compote

This past week was my first week of graduate school.  I am excited, but I’m also overwhelmed whenever I think of how busy I’m going to be for the next two years.  This semester I will be juggling classes, homework, time in the clinic, a Graduate Assistantship, my usual tutoring duties, and a super amazing sort of secret opportunity that I will tell you more about when I know more myself.  I’d also like to be able to have dinner with my husband once in a while.  That would be nice…  Anyway, I’m just hoping I’ll be able to balance it all.

Here’s what I had for lunch today:It’s Smitten Kitchen’s Naked Tomato Sauce.  I used a little less oil and no butter at all, but I still found it to be lovely and simple in the most elegant way.  I usually add a bit of sugar, a splash of wine, and an assortment of dried herbs to my tomato sauce, but I don’t think I ever will again.  The tomato flavor was sweet, pure, and subtly complemented by the infused olive oil.  I think I’d like to make a couple jars of this stuff to save for the long tomato-free winter that approaches.

I also made Deb’s Everyday Chocolate Cake a few weeks ago and it was a big hit at the office.  I added 1 tsp of mint extract and 3/4c of chocolate chips to turn it into a mint chocolate chip bread.  I undercooked it a little, then froze it for maximum fudginess.  Like I said, it was a hit.

And to complete the Smitten Kitchen recipe trifecta today, my dinner the other night consisted of these:Deb’s Zucchini Fritters.  I know I seem like a bit of a one trick pony at the moment, and performing someone else’s tricks at that, but Deb over at Smitten Kitchen cooks seasonal food and she is a big part of why I have learned to embrace seasonal local produce.  (She also has a very adorable child.)  When I happen to receive a giant zucchini in my Boston Organics delivery and I happen to see a recipe that includes zucchini over at Smitten Kitchen, I just can’t help myself!  I hope you don’t mind!

There is one recipe here that I actually created, although it’s the simplest of simple recipes.  It’s the fruit sauce accompanying my zucchini fritters.  I have loved getting produce deliveries, but B doesn’t eat a ton of fruit and it’s hard for me to keep up with all of it.  I decided to scale down our box in the coming weeks, but for a while there, I had to get a little creative.  Instead of enjoying the fresh produce, I was stuck juicing the backlog of oranges and grapefruit, pickling the onions and cucumbers, and turning the stone fruit into compote.  Lots and lots of compote.  Compote is incredibly easy to make and it can turn an overripe or slightly dried out fruit into something soft and thick and sweet.  Nectarines and plums are excellent here.  Pears, while of course not stone fruit, would also make a nice addition.

Stone Fruit Compote

4-6 small stone fruits (about 1.5 cups)
1 T honey
1/2 c water
cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste

Pit and peel your stone fruit.  Place all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium low heat.  Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the fruit starts to meld and lose its original shape.  Break up larger chunks with the back of your spoon to desired texture.  If the fruit looks a bit dry, add a splash more water.  Serve hot or chilled.  Serve plain or with whipped cream.  Also lovely over pound cake.

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