Raspberries blended to perfection can provide a cool, refreshing taste for summer.

What was working with Martha Stewart like? This was a frequently asked question when I was giving "foodie" talks to various groups.

It was a long time ago. I used to say it was when we both were thin and had long hair. I quit saying that when someone looked at me and said “My, that must have been a long time ago.” Oh well, truth is truth.

I was chairman of the San Francisco Culinary Carnival, a fundraiser for a charity supported by Dorothy Cousins, who was Julia Child’s sister. So, of course, all the San Francisco, Sonoma and Napa food and wine people participated. It was a huge event, the first of its genre. I loved it!

I invited Martha to be the special guest. Since the Culinary Carnival appearance was for charity, we tried to keep expenses to a minimum.

So as Macy’s culinary consultant, I set up a series of classes with her at various Bay Area stores and paid her airfare and teaching fee. (Believe me, she was paid very well.) The Stanford Court hotel donated her room. When checking her in I informed her that the only thing we didn’t pay was her phone bill and breakfast. “Lonnie, I have to have breakfast,” she replied. Me: “Martha, I know how much we are paying you, and you can afford your own breakfast. I’m not buying!” Amazingly she laughed and everything turned out OK. I spent three days with Martha, ridding around in a limousine to classes and events, dinners, etc. We had a good time.

She is as intense as anyone I have ever met. She sleeps about five hours a night, is a perfectionist, etc. Her classes were packed, all went well. I know that so many years later, and after she became uber famous, she won’t remember me, but I won’t forget Martha and her love for raspberries in all forms. Her pie and tart books are classic and a go-to for great recipes. The following are quick and easy uses for this favorite fruit.

Quick Raspberry Sauce

  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Cook over low heat until berries release juice. Press through sieve to remove seeds. Refrigerate.

Using frozen raspberries means that you can make this anytime.

Easy Raspberry Fool per Martha

  • 1 bag (10 ounces) frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Coarse salt
  • 2½ cups cold heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

In a blender, combine raspberries, granulated sugar and pinch of salt and puree until sugar dissolves, about one minute. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing on solids (discard seeds).

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream and confectioners’ sugar on high until stiff peaks form, about three minutes. Beat in lemon juice.

In six small glasses, alternate layers of raspberry puree and whipped cream. With a skewer or thin-bladed knife, gently swirl whipped cream and puree together. Smooth tops and serve immediately.

Lonnie Gandara Taylor is a St. Joseph native who has returned home after a prestigious career in the culinary field. She taught cooking classes in the San Francisco Bay area for years and was a professional assistant to Julie Child, James Beard, Martha Stewart, Simone Beck and Martin Yan, among others. She is a graduate of the Paris Cordon Bleu, the Academie du Vin in Paris and the first culinary class held in the Oriental hotel in Bangkok, as well as being the author of five cookbooks.