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Frozen grapes, and then some

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At 689 pages, Bon Appetit Desserts is loaded with desserts of every stripe. And while I've put some of the showier ones on my to-make list - among them, a chilled lime-coconut pie and crème fraiche cheesecake with honey-rum-roasted pineapple - somehow, I'm drawn to the simpler ones.

Here's an idea from the book for styling up red and green grapes. These frozen numbers are served alongside grape granita, but why not just put out big clusters in a bowl by themselves?:

Dip red and green grape clusters in Muscat to moisten, then dip in sugar to coat. Place grapes on a tray and freeze until frozen, about 4 hours.

(And if you're just too cold to think about this, consider that come summer, roasted cherries are to be embraced. It all makes sense.)

To your health, Italian style

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After riding the train in today with the two people in the world who haven't learned how to cover their mouths when they sneeze and cough, it's time to fortify my immune system to fight through the winter cold and flu season. In today's Food Section, we talk about the very trendy blood orange juice. High in Vitamin C and antioxidants, the blood orange juice is slightly thicker with a flavor that blends the nice dry citrus of the grapefruit with only the slightest hints of sweetness in an orange. At Ina's, 1235 W. Randolph, the restaurant serves the Sicilian brand juice Aliseo. Word is that the best blood oranges come from Sicily. The story goes that volcano ash from Mt. Etna has made the soil a perfect spot for growing the lushest blood orange trees, says Sal Russo, owner of Amici Italian Deli, 1149 Fairview in Westmont. While the oranges are in season in December and January, Russo says he sells the juice year-round: "A lot of it."

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I have the neatest little cherry pitter. Truthfully, it's not the sort of thing I would necessarily buy myself. In fact, it was a wedding present, bought off the registry by some kind soul who must've understood my silly longing for such things.

Anyhow, it's this metal thing, and you put the cherry in the round holder and press down and -- pop -- out comes the pit. The 4-year-old especially has taken to the gizmo, not to mention, she knows the payoff she'll get after a few minutes of pitting on my end -- a bowl of ready-to-eat cherries.

That said, here's a convincing argument for giving my cherry pitter a rest, via the Atlantic's food site. If there's a more delicious mess in the world than eating cherries, let me know.

About the blog

Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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