Sweet Cardamom Yogurt with Pistachios and Pomegranate Seeds

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Saffron, cardamom, honey, pistachios and pomegranate seeds mixed with yogurt? Yoplait is a long way from ever putting out this flavor. As I ate this for breakfast, I thought of how rarely I, and other Americans, eat sweets so…floral.

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In the Middle East and South Asia, saffron and rosewater are common in desserts. Orange blossom and lavender are also less familiar here as they are in other countries. These ingredients, along with spices like cardamom, are so much more aromatic than anything popular in the U.S. (Mashti Malone's Iranian ice cream shop in Los Angeles, aside.)

But if you'd like to taste something deliciously different, try this yogurt. It's an example of harmony in flavors you might not find often.

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Cantaloupe Ice

cantaloupe-iceSome might call this granitas. Among certain company, I might, too. But when it comes down to it, it’s ice, and anyone can make ice. Not to mention, granitas just sounds too fancy for something inspired by an old cantaloupe.

Now, it wasn’t so old it had gotten moldy in any way, but it was extremely overripe, which means it had an overpowering flavor that I just found inedible (though not as terrible as the overripe kiwi I once tried. Imagine artificial kiwi flavor on steroids.) Anyway, the cantaloupe wasn’t bad, it was just too cantaloupey.

So I put it in a blender with a squeeze of honey, stirred in chopped mint and let it freeze, knowing cold dulls the taste of things. When it was solid, I scraped it with a fork to get tiny ice shavings that melted instantly in your mouth, leaving behind a manageable flavor of cantaloupe — that almost floral quality of melon eventually being joined by mint. I found myself eating it slowly (rare for me) and enjoying its refreshing properties.

This method can, of course, be applied to any combination of fruit and flavors. Try Strawberry Lemon Basil Sorbet in this way if you don’t have an ice cream maker.

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Apple Celery Salad

This is a little something I came up with a few months ago when the only fresh produce I had were apples and celery. The two are a great combination, and with sunflower seeds and a quick cider vinaigrette, this has become one of my favorite sides. The apples make it a good complement to pork, but it's so crisp and refreshing, it's a good addition to any barbecue or picnic.

With Mark Bittman talking about his favorite simple salads, I figured it was time to share my new one.

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Farmer Portraits: Jacques Laboile (Bon Femme)

Jacques Laboile, originally from France, keeps bees all over Columbia (these were just in his backyard).  He prides himself on subtle flavors other than clover honey.  Besides making honey, he also is the Executive Chef of Boone County National Bank, and all around awesome guy.  Strike up a conversation with him next time you see him at the farmers market.

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