With a half-empty fruit bowl, however, I decided to make my way to the farmers market. There was already a nice-sized crowd by 9 o'clock, live music echoed through the lot, and the welcoming smell of freshly popped kettle corn filled the air.
But, once I resisted that toasty, buttery aroma, I could finally catch a whiff of the strawberries and the peaches, the cherries and the nectarines...Mmm. Just what I was looking for....Local farmers filled baskets and crates with their gorgeous Summer fruit. I wanted to load up my car and take all of it home!
Instead, I carefully picked out some plums, white nectarines, and mint. Three things that could make a delicious, sweet treat!
Salle Orchards, in Wheatland. Salle Orchards is a relatively small, family-owned and operated farm. Their stand that day had nectarines, peaches, apricots...and artichoke flowers! I don't see these purple blossoms very often, and they looked so vibrant! My last stop was at The Natural Trading Company, a certified organic farm also in Newcastle. I selected my mint, and some cherry tomatoes and sunflower greens as well.
When I got home, I wanted to try something different, something other than slicing up the fruit and eating it straight out of the bowl. Grilling is a great way to coax out fruits' natural sugars and juices, and these red plums had just the right balance of sweet and tart.
The white nectarines that I picked were still on the crunchy side, with the faintest hint of green left. Roasting them on the grill made sense to break them down a little, transforming these nectarines into plump and juicy halves.
I coated each of the halves with spoonfuls of vanilla sugar.
When I used vanilla beans for muffins, I saved the pod and put it in a jar to infuse some sugar. It's ideal for uses like this, in simple dishes where its flavor can really stand out. If you have other flavored sugars, like orange zest or cinnamon, experiment with what you have!
Then, I invited rum to the party...Yes, rum! (Booze at breakfast never hurt anybody, right...)
A good, spiced rum goes so well with the vanilla. My favorite, from Koloa Rum Company in Kaua'i, is made with Hawaiian sugar cane! I like to keep these small bottles on hand for non-cocktail recipes.
After sprinkling on some chopped mint, I let the fruit marinate for a few minutes while I got the grill ready. The rum and sugar creates a syrup, and the flesh of the nectarines and plums soak up all of that flavor.
The nectarines went on the fire first, since they were bigger and not as ripe. They needed about 2 minutes per side, over a high flame.
The plums cooked much quicker, only needing between 30 seconds and a minute per side to caramelize.
As is, these grilled stone fruits are great with a morning cup of coffee or tea. You could even serve them with your favorite cheeses for brunch!
But you know what I did? Do you want to know what awesome, wonderful thing I did?
Well, since the farmers market was literally steps away from Whole Foods, I walked across the parking lot to buy myself some ice cream. Oh, yeah. For breakfast. Three Twins Ice Cream hails from Petaluma, CA. They pride themselves on sourcing milk and cream from within 17 miles of where they produce their "inconceivably delicious" and certified organic concoctions. Flavors include Fair Trade Vanilla Bean Speck, Dad's Cardamom...
...and Lemon Cookie! This lemon ice cream & vanilla creme sandwich cookie combination is ah-mazing. Creamy, yet bright and fresh!
I put scoops right on top of the warm plums and nectarines. It began to melt instantly and created a luscious, lemony sauce for the fruit.
The sweet, juicy fruit, caramelized rum and vanilla sugar, and velvety ice cream...A perfect summertime dish! The mint and lemon are a classic, tasty pairing as well. Serve this for a fun, decadent (and yes, over-the-top) breakfast, or save it for dessert. Firing up the BBQ for steaks and vegetables? Enjoy the rest of the evening, by sitting outside with a bowl of Grilled Plums & Nectarines!
And have you been to your neighborhood's farmers market lately? Know what's in season? Go on your own market adventure...walking around to sample local fare, meeting the family of growers...and find delicious fruit to grill this Summer!
Grilled Plums & Nectarines with Lemon Cookie Ice Cream (serves 6)
3 Fresh Plums
3 Fresh Nectarines
2 1/2 tbsps Vanilla Sugar
1 1/2 tbsps Spiced Rum
1 tsp Finely Chopped Mint
1 Pint Three Twins Lemon Cookie Ice Cream (Optional)
- Cut the fruits in half, and remove the seeds. Place on a dish, flesh-side up.
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar, rum, and mint. Pour this mixture over the fruit halves, and marinate for a few minutes until the rum and sugar have become syrupy.
- Grill the plums and nectarines over high heat, flesh-side down first, for about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side.
- Transfer to serving bowls, and top with scoops of Lemon Cookie Ice Cream. Enjoy!