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  • Melissa Orquiza

Fresh Pluots, Apples, Macademias, Summer's End, Phoebe Bridgers, Telemann & Boccherini

Pluots, Apples, & Macademias, Summer's End, Phoebe Bridgers, Telemann & Boccherini

Originally Published August 29, 2023

Over the summer, we visited visited our families, making the trip up and down the coast, marveling at how lovely it was to get away from the city. The trip was familiar and comforting, one both my husband and I have driven hundreds of times. When I was younger, I used to make the trip solo, with my dog, a tri colored border collie, aussie mix. Later, when we were dating, we would make the trip together, with my dog, visiting our respective families, my dog possibly the only thing they all agreed upon. Eventually, we made the trip together, married, with a child, and now with a cat, because my dog had passed and apparently, my daughter is a cat person like my husband. I still do not speak cat after all these years even though he loves to be with me in my studio. (I suspect he's using me for my speakers.)

I still love the drive. The roadways have not changed over the years but the landscape is vastly different. What once was open land has given way to more home developments, Tesla chargers, refreshment stations, and family recreation centers. The Mom and Pop restaurants are mainly gone, replaced with larger food chains, fast food, and quick markets. A few landmarks have stayed mainly the same... Harris Ranch and Casa de Fruta, with the inclusion of Tesla chargers.

While at my brother in laws, my sister in law took my daughter by the hand and took her fruit picking. It was a poignant moment, because my late father used to pick fruit in our backyard for me, to take back home to Los Angeles. It's funny how life works... how something so simple and so beautiful, can transcend time, space, generations, even families. My sister in law, born and bred on a farm in Michigan, was picking fruit and recreating a moment my father, born in a rural town in the Philippines, had done all his life.

Here's to the beauty of Summer's End.

Thanks for reading! Hope this inspires you to do something simple and extraordinary. Have a great week! Melissa

Original Plum Torte

by Marian Burros

Here is the famous Plum Torte that has graced the NY Times since 1983. I first made it years ago via "Gourmet" in my twenties, wondering what all the hype was about. When the New York Times tried to stop printing it in 1989, the paper was flooded with angry letters and it has graced its pages ever since. What better way to transcend the passage of time but with a delicious, summer torte? Enjoy!


¾ to 1cup sugar

½cup unsalted butter, softened

1cup unbleached flour, sifted

1teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt (optional)

2 eggs

24 halves pitted purple plums

Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, for topping


  1. Step 1 Heat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Step 2 Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.

  3. Step 3 Spoon the batter into a springform pan of 8, 9 or 10 inches. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, depending on how much you like cinnamon.

  4. Step 4 Bake 1 hour, approximately. Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired. Or cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped cream. (To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.)


  • To freeze, double-wrap the torte in foil, place in a plastic bag and seal.

#plumcake, #pluots, #boccherini, #telemann, @phoebebridgers, @jacquelineduprés

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