Stone Fruit Feast
By Angela Shelf Medearis and Gina Harlow
When it comes to food and cooking, a good rule of thumb is to mix it up a bit. When cooking seasonally, it’s best to try new foods when they show up at the farmers market or grocery. There’s so much fresh summer produce to choose from — from the popular picks like corn and watermelon, to the lesser known, not so sought after group like mulberries and crenshaw squash. Now is the time to take advantage of this overflowing in-the-raw produce buffet. Try something new and experience the nuances of different flavors in your meals!
In a world longing for peaches, nectarines somehow take a back seat. Nectarines and peaches are both members of the stone-fruit family, which includes plums and apricots. But in this family, the peach and nectarine are so close, there is only one gene responsible for their difference. This unique gene makes the peach fuzzy and the nectarine smooth. If you take a blind taste test, I think you’ll agree that the nectarine has its own distinct attraction. It’s usually sweeter and juicier than most peaches — in essence, more nectar!
Nectarines, like peaches, originated in China over 2,000 years ago and spread across the continents until they landed in America. They grow best in warmer climates, like California, where almost all the nectarines we find in the market are grown.
Nectarines are an excellent source of vitamin C and are low in calories. While a delicious sweet nectarine is relatively high in sugar, its fiber content helps the body slow the breakdown of its sugar in your digestive track, therefore making them a good choice for satisfying your sweet tooth. Recently, studies have even suggested that nectarines, as well as other stone fruits, have a bioactive compound that could prove effective in preventing obesity.
Nectarines, like other stone fruits, are ripe when they give just slightly to the touch. You also should be able to smell the sweetness of a nectarine. They can sit out until fully ripe, then they should be eaten or refrigerated quickly. The ultimate is to buy ripe nectarines and enjoy them right away.
Former White House chef Bill Yosse has created the perfect recipe to showcase the unique flavors of nectarines. His Flaky Nectarine Pie is an addictive dessert featuring summer stone fruit encased in a delicate crust.
FLAKY NECTARINE PIE
2 packages pre-made pie dough (for 2 pie crusts) or homemade pie dough for 2 pie crusts
8 cups (about 7) ripe nectarines, unpeeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white, beaten, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
For the Filling
1. In a large bowl, toss together the nectarines and lemon juice. Add sugars and the salt; gently mix to combine without mashing the nectarine chunks. Set aside to macerate for about 30 minutes.
2. Return nectarines to the bowl and add cornstarch, mixing until it has completely dissolved. Stir in the brandy and vanilla. Reserve.
To Assemble and Bake
1. Transfer one round of the pie crust dough to a black steel or Pyrex 9-inch pie pan, and trim the edges so they are even with the rim. Place the second round on a flat baking sheet and place in freezer. This will become the top of the pie.
2. Freeze dough in pie pan for 1 hour. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 F. Remove pie pan from freezer and line the dough with aluminum foil. Fill with baking beads, dried beans or uncooked rice. Bake for 30 minutes; allow to cool. When cool, preheat oven again to 350 F.
3. Pour nectarine filling into the pre-baked pie shell. Use a pastry brush to moisten the edges of the bottom pie crust with some of the egg white. Remove the top dough from freezer and place over the fruit. Press down around edges with fingers to seal, and tuck any excess dough under the edges. With paring knife, cut 12 slits in the center of raw dough, barely piercing it, to create air vents. Then, brush top dough with remaining egg white and sprinkle with Demerara or granulated sugar.
4. Bake on an aluminum foil-covered rimmed 11-by-17-inch baking sheet on the center rack for 1 hour until pie is deeply golden, and you can see the thick juices bubbling through the vents. Let cool before serving. Makes one 9-inch pie to serve 8.
Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning author and culinary historian and author, website www.divapro.com. Gina Harlow’s blog about food and gardening at www.peachesandprosciutto.com. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis
Pork and Stuffing Bake
This filling entree won’t add any heat to the kitchen.
6 slices reduced-calorie white bread, toasted and cut into cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon meat seasoning
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
4 (4-ounce) lean tenderized pork tenderloins or cutlets
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced-fat cream of chicken soup
1. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, onion and celery. Add water, meat seasoning and parsley flakes. Mix well to combine.
2. Pat mixture into an 8-by-8-inch microwaveable glass baking dish. Evenly arrange pork tenderloins over stuffing. Spoon chicken soup evenly over top.
3. Cover and microwave on HIGH (100 percent power) for 25 minutes or until meat is tender, turning dish after 15 minutes. Let set for 2 to 3 minutes. Divide into four servings.
¥ Each serving equals: 283 calories, 7g fat, 31g protein, 24g carb., 549mg sodium, 1gm fiber; Diabetic Exchanges: 3 Meat, 1 Starch/Carb., 1/2 Vegetable.
This easy dinner is ready in just 15 minutes.
1 pound lean (90 percent) ground beef
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 jar (16 ounces) mild salsa
1 small head iceberg or romaine lettuce, sliced 1 can (15 to 19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded (2 ounces)
1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
1/2 (13.5 ounce) bag tortilla chips Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
1. Heat nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add ground beef and cook 5 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, breaking up meat with side of spoon. Skim off fat. Stir in chili powder, 2/3 cup salsa and 1/4 cup water; heat to boiling.
2. Divide lettuce among 4 dinner plates. Top with beef mixture, beans, Cheddar, remaining salsa and sour cream if using. Arrange tortilla chips on plate around salad. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. Use chips to scoop up beef mixture or to crumble over top of salad.
Makes 4 main-dish servings.
¥ Each serving: About 700 calories, 36g protein, 74g carbohydrate, 32g total fat (11g saturated), 14g fiber, 84mg cholesterol, 1,565mg sodium. For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our website at www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefinder/.
(c) 2014 Hearst Communications, Inc. All rights reserved