Fresh Winter Fruit

Great tips from our experts in the Test Kitchens about fresh winter fruits, the best gorgonzola cheese and timesaving cooking advice.
Mary Allen Perry

This time of year Chilean peaches and nectarines are a sweet surprise. Left on the counter to ripen in a loosely closed paper bag, they become fragrant and juicy--perfect for eating out of hand or topping off this creamy custard-filled tart when you're looking for a little taste of summer freshness.

Like peaches, nectarines are most flavorful at room temperature, so add them to the tart just before serving. For a lighter option, omit eggs, and prepare custard as directed using 1 cup egg substitute and low-fat milk.

Blue Heaven
Rich and creamy Gorgonzola is one of Italy's most famous cheeses and a popular ingredient in many of our recipes. You may be familiar with the small containers of crumbled Gorgonzola, but it's also available from specialty markets in foil-wrapped wedges. A reddish-brown crust develops beneath the foil as Gorgonzola ages, and the flavor becomes sharper and more pronounced. Firm and crumbly Gorgonzola piccante is aged for much longer than the soft and sweet Gorgonzola dolce. For more than 50 incredibly easy and delicious ways to use this versatile cheese, visit myrecipes.com.

  

Dinner on the Double
Take advantage of that extra oven space the next time you bake a pot roast or ham. Baking a long-simmering spaghetti sauce, chili, or stew in a Dutch oven is an easy way to coax out flavor and tenderize meats without a lot of stovetop stirring. And another dinner is ready for later in the week.

Prepare your favorite recipe as directed, sautéing the meat and vegetables and adding any remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; remove from heat, and cover with a tight-fitting lid or a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Transfer to a 325° to 350° oven to finish simmering.

What's Cooking?
We all enjoy the simple goodness of cold-weather comfort foods. If you have a favorite recipe you serve this time of year, we'd love to try it. For each recipe we publish, we'll send you $20 now, and a copy of the Southern Living Annual Recipes Cookbook in January. Please e-mail recipes to sl_foodedit@timeinc.com.

"Fresh-Picked Ideas For Winter" is from the January 2008 issue of Southern Living.