The mornings may still be gray and cloudy, as only June Gloom can bring, but you need only walk through a farmers market — a far more reliable calendar — to be sure that summer is here. Peaches, plums and nectarines are all in abundance, and even the first melons and beefsteak tomatoes are showing up. So break out your sunscreen, this week’s newsletter is dedicated to the joys of summer.
And be on the lookout for Saturday's Counter Intelligence newsletter, with stories about the dining scene and Jonathan Gold's restaurant reviews.
— Russ Parsons
When chill kills
Choosing the very best summer fruit is an art — keeping it at its best is a science. You don’t want to waste all that time you spent picking through the produce bins by ruining them once you get home. Many of summer’s best fruits — peaches, plums, nectarines, tomatoes, even eggplants, peppers and cucumbers — can be spoiled by sticking them in the refrigerator.
Bringing Jitlada home
Love going to Jitlada for some of the best Thai cooking in Southern California? Here’s one of their signature dishes you can easily make at home. Test Kitchen Director Noelle Carter had siblings Jazz Singsanong and Tui Sungkamee walk her through the preparation of nam prik pla, a fragrant dish of cooked fish pounded with fish sauce, lime juice and peppers.
Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times
The crisp just got crispier
Once you’ve chosen your fruit and carefully nurtured it to the perfect state of ripeness, what are you going to do with it? If you’re a great baker, pie is the obvious answer. But if you’re pastry-adverse, you’re probably thinking crisp. You’ve got to try this great new technique from pastry pro Jim Dodge. It’ll make the crispest crisp you’ve ever had.
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times
Why you can’t fake a watermelon
Of course there are some fruits that cannot be improved from their native state. A cook can make a pie, but only God can make a watermelon. Want to know why that flavor and fragrance are so hard to duplicate? Scientists have figured it out.
Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
The meat’s in the mail
Are you a hard-core carnivore? Does the thought of the best artisanal sausages, hams and bacons get you salivating beyond control? Sorry, but your life just got a lot more complicated. A new business called the Carnivore Meat Club will ship you four to six samples of some of the world’s best cured meats every month. Just make sure you’re good friends with your postman.
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