Mango…The Most “Dangerous” But Definitely Delicious Fruit of All — April 29, 2021

Mango…The Most “Dangerous” But Definitely Delicious Fruit of All

Since having two surgeries on my hand all because of a mango, I am rather hesitant to cut one…but I do miss all the great things that you can make with them.

So I have learned that the best way to dive into a mango is definitely not with a wine glass…but instead to first cut long 1/4″ vertical slices 1/4 inch away from the middle to separate the flesh from the pit and then to cut the flesh into a grid-like pattern and scoop it out of the rind.

As far as use, mango contains more sugar than many other fruits…so you probably should limit how much mango you eat in a day to two cups per day.

But some of the many delicious ways that you can easily include mangos in your diet include….

  • beverages
  • chutney
  • curries 
  • granola
  • ice cream
  • jelly
  • muesli
  • pickles
  • rice dishes
  • smoothiesmang
  • salads
  • salsas
  • sorbets

In the next few posts, let’s take a look at some of these ideas for using this rather “dangerous” but delicious fruit.

Breadfruit….The How — January 19, 2021

Breadfruit….The How

Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com
Breadfruit is probably not one of those fruits that you simply wanna grab and take a big bite of… Try if it you want, but most people will find the taste and texture of uncooked breakfast more than a little unpleasant. However, if the unripened breadfruit is boiled until tender, the breadfruit will have a more potato-ish texture…similar to freshly baked bread. In fact, the best way to think about uses for breadfruit is to treat it as if it were a potato of sorts and cook it accordingly—mashed, in salads, made into fries and chips, etc. In fact, breadfruit can be used as a delicious substitute for any starchy root crop, rice, pasta, vegetable, or potato. But breadfruit is actually better than potatoes because they are actually more nutritious. So like the potatoes, breadfruit can be prepared in many ways—steamed, baked, sauteed, boiled, fried… And like potatoes, breadfruit can be used in a variety of dishes—casseroles, curries, stews and chowders, salads, and chips.

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Ripeness

The riper the breadfruit, the softer and creamier and sweeter it becomes…similar to a banana…with a custardy, bread-like taste…meaning that riper breadfruit are great for can be used for fritters, pancakes, bread, beverages, and other baked goods

Breadfruit is a staple ingredient in many cuisines—especially Caribbean, Latin America, and Polynesian…for making both sweet and savory dishes. Here are a few recipes worth trying… Philippinesginataang langka Sri Lankacurry Indiafritters Jamaicasoup Breadfruit flour can be used a good gluten-free substitute for panko or breadcrumbs…and actually has a much better taste and greater nutritional value than any other gluten-free flour alternative available. Breadfruit seeds can also be cooked an eaten…making them a a nutritious, savory snack with a crunch.

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Where to Find

If you don’t live in the back of the backwoods like Middle of Nowhere, Mississippi… where I’m from…you might be able to go to your closest Caribbean specialty food store…

If you happen to live in Hawaii or be there even in the midst of all this corona crap, you will find breadfruit readily available…probably labeled as “ulu”…In fact, breadfruit is so common in Hawaii that there is even a National Breadfruit Institute of Hawai’i.  For the rest of us, you could also try your local farmers’ market or wait until your next box of ugly produce comes in and you luck out and get breadfruit in your assortment.

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Choosing and Storing

If you are choosing your breadfruit yourself, make sure that the breadfruit is firm. You want the skin to be greenish-yellow with only a little brown cracking.

The fruit bruises easily so check for bruises or soft spots. Some brown cracking is okay, but not too much. Store breadfruit in your fridge…(future post on which fruits and veggies to store in fridge and which not to…as well as how to organize your fridge coming soon…maybe four years from now)… In conclusion, hopefully you also will be checking breadfruit off your list of foods on the Raw Foods Pyramid  yet to try…as you join me in this quest to embrace a healthier lifestyle.
Developing a Passion for Banana Passion Fruit — January 11, 2021

Developing a Passion for Banana Passion Fruit

Before starting this series on tropical fruits, I had honestly never even heard of banana passion fruit…and I still honestly haven’t figured out where the closest place to buy it is…but since it is a tropical fruit, I’m gonna go ahead and include here in this chapter…(think once I finish crawling up the Raw Foods Pyramid, I may try to put it all together into a book…probably too lofty of a goal, but hey we are all making New Year’s resolutions right now anyway)…

 

 

 

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Banana Passion Fruit…The What

Banana passion fruit are native to many areas of South America—particularly Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru.

Banana passion fruit grows on vines that can be as tall…or long, not sure which word would be correct here…as twenty-two feet….and that have attractive, deep pink blossoms. The vines are commonly used in landscaping to cover trellises.

plant is known to live for up to twenty years. A mature banana passion fruit vine can produce up to three hundred banana passion fruits. 

The fruit itself is oblong and about four inches long. The orange-scented fruit has a  thick, leathery skin that changes from green to bright yellow as the fruit ripens…and juicy, sweet pulp that is studded with black seeds.

The pulp is juicy and sweet, with a tart bite and hints of banana. Although the seeds are edible, they can be somewhat bitter…

Banana passion fruit is available year-round in the tropics, with a peak season in the spring and fall months.

However…interestingly enough…it is illegal to sell and distribute the plant in New Zealand and Hawaii because it is considered to be an invasive species that can quickly take over and deprive other native plants from the sun.

 

 

 

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Banana Passion Fruit…The Why

Banana passionfruit are a good source of the following nutrients…

  • antioxidants
  • calcium
  • carbohydrates
  • fiber
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • protein
  • vitamins A and C

 

 

 

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Banana Passion Fruit…The Why

As long as you store ripe banana passion fruit in an open paper bag in the fridge, they will last for around a week.

Although banana passion fruit is best eaten as it is instead of trying to cook or make something else out of it, here are some more ideas as far as using banana passion fruit…

  • desserts such as cakes, cheesecake and pies
  • fruit salads
  • ice cream
  • juices
  • parfaits
  • relishes, jams and other preserves
  • smoothies
  • yogurt 

So let’s take a look in the following posts at a few of these ideas…shall we?!

Let’s Start By Hitting the Fruit Aisle with Great Style — September 16, 2020

Let’s Start By Hitting the Fruit Aisle with Great Style

Obvioiusly fruits are an important part of a healthy diet, but how many of us stumble into the fruit aisle only to look at the pretty colors and then walk away because it would be so much easier simply to grab yet another granola bar out of a box and call it a day.  

But fruit is God’s candy…and far too many of us are missing out on one of His greatest gifts….not to mention foods that rank high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.

Botanically speaking, a fruit is classified as a drupe as long as that fruit has seeds. So surprisingly, that means that tomatoes, eggplants, peas, beans, and wheat grains are actually all fruits.

In the next few posts, we will be talking about the different classifications of fruit so that we can start hitting the fruit aisle with style.

Fruit is typically classified into five different categories…

1.  BerriesWe probably can all figure out which fruits are berries—those fruits that are small  and juicy and do not have a stone or a pit. Typically when you think about berries, you think of…

  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • cranberries
  • raspberries
  • strawberries

2.  Citrus…These are those fruits that have a thick tangy rind and sectioned pulp inside. Typically when you think about citrus, you think of…

  • lemons
  • limes
  • oranges

3, Drupes…These are fleshy fruits that have a large seed. Typically when you think about drupes, you think of…

  • apricots
  • cherries
  • peaches

4. Pepo…These are those fruits that have multiple seeds throughout the flesh or grouped together in the center. Typically when you think of pepeo fruit, you think of melons.

5. Pomes…These are those fruits that have a fleshy area surrounding a core containing seeds. Typically when you think of pomes, you think of apples and pears.

6. Tropical fruits….Typically when you think of tropical fruits, you think of…

  • bananas
  • guavas
  • mangoes
  • papayas
  • pineapples

In the next few posts, we will keep exploring the grocery store with me…so let’s go shopping…shall we?!

Making the Perfect Apple Dumplings — July 27, 2020

Making the Perfect Apple Dumplings

Making the Perfect Apple Dessert Pizza — July 24, 2020

Making the Perfect Apple Dessert Pizza

 

 

close up photo of apples
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

The perfect apple dessert pizza consists of a giant Snickerdoodle cookie or some other type of pizza crust…topped with a simple marshmallow vanilla buttercream…plenty of cooked apples or apple pie filling…the perfect cinnamon struesel layer…and finally caramel sauce, powdered sugar, brown sugar, sugar and spice, and everything nice.

 

 

This recipe for dessert pizza is quite versatile. Use this recipe to make the perfect dessert pizza with basically any flavor canned pie filling—such as blueberry, blackberry, lemon, cherry, strawberry, and peach.

 

 

This a very easy dessert recipe…so let’s get started.

 

 

 

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The Cookie Base

  • ½C butter
  • 1/4C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½tsp vanilla
  • 3/4C flour
  • ¼tsp baking soda
  • 1Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1C warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1Tbsp yeast
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1Tbsp olive oil

You could also use an 8oz can of Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dough sheet if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own crust.

 

 

 

 

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The Bottom Crust 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a pizza stone or cookie sheet in the oven as the oven preheats.

 

 

Combine dry ingredients—flour, baking soda, sugar, and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl.

 

 

Combine liquid ingredients—butter, egg, vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients.

 

 

Beat on medium speed until well until well combined and dough forms.

 

 

Remove the dough from the mixing bowl. Shape into a large ball. Turn the dough over once to coat it in oil. Wrap in plastic wrap.

 

 

Let rise in a warm place for about an hour.

 

 

Refrigerate at least thirty minutes.

 

 

Remove the dough from the plastic. Roll the cookie dough into a ¼” thick circle.

 

 

Place the dough on the preheated pizza stone or cookie sheet.

 

 

Bake at 350°F for 15 to 18 minutes, until the edges just start to turn golden brown. The center will still be a little bit soft but that’s okay.

 

 

Allow the cookie to cool completely.

 

 

 

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Cream Cheese Layer

8oz cream cheese, softened
2Tbsp brown sugar
1/2tsp cinnamon

 

Beat ingredients together untli well blended. Carefully spread onto cooked crust, leaving 1/2″ uncovcered along the outer edges of the pizza.

 

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Apple Layer

  • 10 large apples
  • 2Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1C brown sugar
  • 3/4C sugar
  • 4Tbsp cornstarch
  • Dash nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp vanilla

 

As far as which apples you should consider buying to make your dessert pizza, good choices would be Braeburn, Granny Smith or Honeycrisp.

 

 

Peel and core the apples. Dice or slice them. Put them in a large bowl.

 

 

Combine the sugar, apples, vanilla, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon.and cornstarch in a large saucepan over medium heat, Simmer forthirty minutes…until the apples are tender and the mixture is quite thick.

 

 

Let filling cool for 45 minutes…

 

 

 

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Baking

Bake at 350° for 30min, until the edges are browned and the pizza topping is hot and bubbly.

Make a powdered sugar icing to drizzle over the top by stirring together 2C powdered sugar, 2Tbsp softened butter, 1tsp vanilla, and 3 or 4Tbsp milk or half-and-half.

Drizzle on top of pizza. Enjoy!

Making the Perfect Baked Apples — July 8, 2020

Making the Perfect Baked Apples

The perfect baked apples are an apple lover’s dream…and a chef’s pleasure to make whenever they are too lazy, like me, or don’t want to take the time to make an actual apple pie.

 

 

 

The perfect baked apple pie is a sweet, warm, and delicious apple….topped with delicious spices like cinnamon, fresh ginger, and nutmeg…and finally served with a generous portion of vanilla ice cream or homemade caramel sauce (see recipe below)…

 

 

 

The perfect baked apple a a simple, old-fashioned dessert that has all the deliciousness of the filling of an apple pie…yet takes a whopping five minutes to make.

 

 

 

Not only are baked apples definitely a treat to eat, but they also fill your home with a great aroma.

 

 

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Gather Your Ingredients

1/4C brown sugar

1tsp spices—such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg

2Tbsp butter

3/4C boiling water or apple cider

7 apples

2Tbsp lemon juice

Optional Ingredients…1/4C chopped walnuts or pecans, chopped raisin, dried cranberries

Choose the Right Apples

In order to make baked apples, guess what you must first have…

 

Apples…duh(?!)

 

But how do you decide which apples to choose?!

 

You want to make sure that you don’t choose an apple that will turn to mush so fast they explode out of their skins…but you also want to choose an apples that stays too firm.

 

Instead the apple that you choose to make your baked apples should be able to become nice and soft inside, but still maintain its shape.

 

Typically the best apples to choose are firm, crisp and tart apples—such as Gala apples, Fuji apples, and Granny Smith apples.

 

You’ll need one apple per person….which means that you can cook anywhere from one to one hundred…if you have a baking dish that will actually hold one hundred apples.

 

 

 

 

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Hollow Out Your Apples

Peel and core apples.

 

 

First use a paring knife or apple corer to carefully remove the core of the apple…and then to thinly slice the apple lengthwise.

 

 

Be sure not to slice all the way through the apple…if you do, you will have sliced apples…not an apple that you can actually stuff with sugar and spice and everything nice…instead leave about 1/2″ of the apple intact at the bottom.

 

 

Remove the core and seeds. You can do this with either the sharp edges of a 1/2tsp measuring spoon or a small melon baller.

 

 

Place apples in big enough dish that will hold all of your apples without the apples touching each other.

 

 

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Fill Your Apples

Now for the sugar and spice and everything nice…

 

I guess you could really fill each apples with whatever you want…whatever spices, butter, sugar, currants, chopped raisins, chopped pecans, dried cranberries, walnuts

 

Stir these together in a large bowl andf then add a pinch or two to each apple.

 

Top each stuffed apple with 1/2 Tbsp butter,

 

 

 

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Bake Your Apples

Pour about 1″ of liquid around the apples. This not only will keep the apple from charring and sticking to the baking dish as it bakes, but will also help make your apples turn out softer—such as water, apple cider, a splash of bourbon or brandy.

 

Bake the apples at 350°F oven for about 40 to 45 minutes, until they are soft, but not mushy. Test them by piercing them with a fork.

 

 

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Serve Your Apples

Once your apples have finished baking, take them out of the oven and let them sit for five to ten minutes.

 

 

Baste the apples with the juices from the pan.

 

 

Then serve with something cold and creamy—such as heavy cream, ice cream, or yogurt.

 

 

Baked apples are best when served fresh, but leftovers can last in the refrigerator for up to four days or in the freezer up to a month.

 

 

To reheat your baked apples, either cook them  in the microwave or bake at 350 until warmed through.

 

 

Apple Pickin’ Time — June 30, 2020

Apple Pickin’ Time

 

 

 

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Veggies Tales — August 19, 2018

Veggies Tales

In addition to the leafy greens and fruits already mentioned in previous posts, vegetables—especially starchy vegatables——can help contribute to your daily water consumption. These low-calorie, high-fiber foods—such as lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes—not only often consist of as much as 95% water weight, but also are good sources of other essential nutrients—such as potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.
The best vegetables to incorporate to your daily diet if you want to eat your daily water, instead of drinking it are…

Baby Carrots…water content: 90.4%…My first question when I saw that baby carrots were high on water content was, “Gee, why not just say that carrots are good, not baby carrots specifically…but baby carrots contain more water than regular carrots, which contain 88.3% water.

Cauliflower…water content: 92.1%…Not only does cauliflower contain this much water, but cauliflower is also packed with vitamins and phytonutrients that help lower cholesterol and fight cancer, including breast cancer.

Celery…water content: 95.4%…Celery not only contains this much water, but three stalks of celery can also help meet your daily needs for other vitamins and mineral deficiencies—including sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K…..while only providing eighteen calories.

Cucumber…water content: 96.7%…Cucumbers contain more water than absolutely any other solid food. Cucumbers also contain high levels of vitamin C, caffeic acid, sulfur and silicon..while having very little sodium and calories.

Green Peppers…Water content: 93.9%…All types of bell peppers—red, yellow, green—have a high water content, but green peppers actually contain more than the other two. Green peppers also contain just as many antioxidants as the brighter colored varieties. In addition, green peppers provide numerous vitamins and minerals—including vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6, beta carotene, and folic acid.
Radishes…water content: 95.3%…I totally and completely LOVE radishes, but so often radishes are simply overlooked as we go through the produce aisle…yet, don’t be in such a hurry to choose everything else when shopping for fruits and veggies beca

Date-Sugar Sugar Cookies — June 12, 2018

Date-Sugar Sugar Cookies

Now that we know that date sugar is a healthy sweetener alternative for diabetics than standard granulated sugar…where do we find it?…how do we make it ourselves?…how do we use it in a recipe?

What are the benefits of using date sugar instead of regular granulated sugar?

  • Antioxidants…Dates contain the highest concentration of antioxidants of any dried fruits.
  • Caloric Content…Date sugar contains 288 calories per half-cup, as opposed to regular white refined sugar which has 387 calories per half-cup.
  • Energy Boost…Dates contain 29 grams of natural sugars—such as glucose, sucrose and fructose—and are one of the best snacks that you could eat to help you have more energy.
  • Intestinal Health…Dates helps increase the amount of “good” bacteria found is in the intestines and as a result help to keep you “regular” and prevent constipation.
  • Nutritional Value…Date sugar is loaded with vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, and selenium; where white sugar does not.
  • Potassium Content…Date sugar actually has more potassium per serving size than bananas do.
  • Weight Control…Date sugar is loaded with fiber, protein and carbs which make you feel full much longer. This can help to curb hunger and help prevent weight gain.

Where do we find it?

Commercial date sugar made from unsulfured, organically grown dates is typically hard to find in actual local grocery stores and even health food stores. Your best bet is to buy your date sugar online from such sources as Thrive Market, Bob’s Red Mill, and Amazon.

How do we make it ourselves?

The problem with date sugar, however, especially organic types, is that they can be very expensive.

But it is possible to save money by making your own date sugar.

Making your own date sugar is actually quite simple. Simply buy inexpensive fresh or dried dates in bulk…It is not even important that the dates that you choose to make your date sugar are  the richest, sweetest, moist varieties. Just any old date will do.

Pit and slice them, and dry them using a food dehydrator or a very low-temperature oven. Once your date slices are fully dry, pulverize them in a food processor.

How do we use it in a recipe?!

Commercial or homemade date sugar can be substituted measure for measure for both granulated white sugar and brown sugar…but many people claim that this makes their baked goods taste too sweet, and reduce the amount of date sugar to only 2/3C date sugar for every cup of sugar called for in the original recipe.

Date sugar is particularly good when baking nut or fruit breads that will also contain whole pieces or chunks of another type of fruit or nut….such as banana-nut bread or an apple-walnut bread.

Date Sugar and Liquids…Remember that date sugar does not dissolve when stirred into water or liquids. Many chefs try dissolving the date sugar in boiling water before adding to the batter. This might work if water is already an ingredient in the given recipe. I personally hate changing ratios and proportions, and leave all this to the people who actually passed college algebra the first time that they took it.

Otherwise, just be aware that date sugar may show up as distinct, sweet flecks in cake, pancake or waffle batters.

Storing Your Date Sugar

Date sugar, just like brown sugar, tends to clump together…because they both are naturally “hygroscopic”…new word of the day, simply meaning “able to readily absorbs and retains moisture.”

So be sure to store your date sugar in an airtight jar or other container…probably in your pantry with perfectly-alphabetically-lined Mason jars containing brown sugar, coconut sugar, and now date sugar…

If you want to store your date sugar in a shaker, place a saltine cracker or two in the container to absorb any moisture.

Date-Sugar Cookies

Date Filling:

  • 2C chopped dates
    1C sugar
    1C water
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 pound chopped walnuts or pecans

Combine chopped dates, sugar and water in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat to low. Simmer ten minutes. Add lemon juice and salt. Cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Dough

  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1C butter or margarine, softened
  • 3 1/2cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½tsp ground cloves
    1Tbsp baking soda
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment.

Cream together vanilla, eggs, sugar, milk, and butter until light and fluffy.

Combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves.

Add to creamed mixture.

Cover dough with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours for easier handling.

Roll out dough to 1/8″ thickness. Cut with floured 2 1/2″ round cookie cutter.

Cut out and remove 1″ round hole from center of half of the cookies. Return dough centers to remaining dough for rerolling.

Place the whole cookies on ungreased cookie sheets.

Spoon 1tsp cooled filling onto center of each whole cookie.

Top with dough ring. Press the edges of each filled cookie together with the tip of a fork to seal.

Bake for ten minutes. Let cool on pans two minutes. Remove from pans. Let cool completely.

Let cool. Dust with sifted confectioners’ sugar.