Archive for Fruit

Broiler Week: Close-Up Heat for a Mango-Banana Treat

The broiler has always confounded me. I didn’t really get why it was any different from just flipping on the oven. But I’ve since learned that “upside-down grilling” is a smart way to get flavorful food fast, from seafood to veggies to… a cold dessert?

Ok, so I’m taking some dramatic license here, because my broiled mango, banana and lime dessert doesn’t entirely come from under here:

The banana is frozen and turned into “soft serve” with a quick whirl in the food processor, but the broiler works some high-heat magic on mango slices, browning them and giving them a hint of the flavor of well-cooked marshmallows over a camp fire.

Sprinkle the whole affair with some lime juice, and you’ve got one seriously tasty reason to finally solve the mystery that is the broiler.

And if you’ll need a few more reasons, I’ve rounded up a week’s worth of ways to get up close and flavorful with the broiler:

  • Broiled mango, banana and lime dessert (recipe follows below)
  • Crispy topped brussel sprouts cauliflower gratin from Cooking Light (here)
  • Broiled scallops with sweet lime sauce from Mayo Clinic (here)
  • Balsamic broiled asparagus from Taste of Home (here)
  • Broiled blueberry dessert from Dine & Dish (here)
  • Garlic lemon broiled mushrooms from Food.com (here)
  • Broiled curried salmon from Cooking Light (here)

Broiled mango, banana and lime dessert

(4 servings, approx. 150 calories each)

Ingredients:
3 bananas, sliced and frozen
1 mango, peeled and sliced into spears
1 lime, quartered
Cooking spray

Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray it lightly with cooking spray. Arrange the cooking spears on the sheet, and put them under the broiler for 4-5 minutes. Flip the mango then broil for another 4-5 minutes. Remove and let the mango cool for a few minutes.

Add the frozen banana slices to a food processor and process until smooth, like soft-serve ice cream. (This may take a little while, as the frozen banana tends to clump up and bang around in a big lump before it finally smoothes out)

Divide the banana among four bowls, and stick 4-6 mango spears in each. Squeeze the juice from a lime quarter over each dessert, and serve.

A Week Past Its Prime: Recipes for Overripe Bananas

It’s time to turn that brown banana frown upside down, my friends.

Earlier this week, I saw that Huffpost Taste was featuring a set of recipes that use overripe bananas (and when I briefly suspected they had broken into my kitchen).

etw overripe twitter

I did, in fact, have a way-past-spotty banana languishing in the fruit bowl, but didn’t have any brilliant ideas for using it. Thankfully, Huffpost came to the rescue and I found in their collection a link to these great “breakfast cookies.” Extra-ripe bananas are especially sweet, strongly flavored, and easy to mash – all of which lent to their use in these hearty peanut butter, oatmeal and raisin morning treats.

But what if you’ve got a whole troop of aging tropical beauties on your counter? There are only so many breakfast cookies we can eat, so I dug up several more ways to use them.

Like everyone else under the sun who has ever written about using overripe bananas, I focused on Things That Are Not Banana Bread. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against those nutty sweet loaves; but Teh Internets abound with so many creative ways to put brown bananas to work, that I’d be remiss if I didn’t list some of them:

  • Oatmeal breakfast cookies from Dine and Dish (here)The ones I made today were actually from this similar recipe.
  • Banana black bean empanadas from Epicurious (here)
  • Banana oatmeal bread from Cooking Light (here)
  • Banana scrambled eggs from Food.com            (here)This never would have occurred to me, but sounds like a great idea
  • Secret banana smoothie from Real Mom Kitchen (here)
  • Avocado banana pudding from Vibrant Vegan (here)I’m telling you, vegans know their way around some of the tastiest, simplest puddings I’ve found.
  • Breakfast mango guacamole from Green Lemonade (here)Her original recipe doesn’t call for them, but in a later post she said ½-1 overripe banana tossed in adds a nice flavor.

Let me know with a comment if you give any of these recipes a go – unlike some other sites, I’m not going to creep into your kitchen to check up.

Love Your Heart Week – Heart-healthy ingredients

One in four deaths in America. 600,000 deaths each year. The number one killer in the country. Do you know what it is?

It’s heart disease, and February is the month we hope to raise awareness and learn how to our risk of disease. The good news (well, from a food-blogger’s perspective) is that diet is one of the major ways we either help or hurt our hearts. So I’ve pulled together a week’s worth of recipes that feature foods rich in fiber, phytonutrients, healthy fats and more, to help keep hearts in tick-tock shape.

Chocolate (the darker, the better). It’s not for nothing that chocolate and heart-themed Valentine’s Day are paired up in our collective consciousness. Full of heart-friendly flavonoids, chocolate can help control blood pressure if you eat the high-cocoa content stuff (70% or more) regularly. And if you try it in my chocolate veggie enchilada recipe, you’ll also get some healthy fats from avocado and a good dose of vegetables.

Nuts. Your heart goes nuts for the mono- and polyunsaturated fats and phytosterols in foods like walnuts and almonds. And the little buggers are tasty, too, especially when ground up into creamy nut butters like the simple maple walnut butter from Eating Well With Janel.

Legumes. Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat, the more you… reduce your risk of heart disease! Yeah, my version isn’t as melodic (or amusing to first-graders), but it casts these fiber-rich, vitamin-packed legumes as the nutritional powerhouses they are. Give lentils a while in my curried lentil shepherd’s pie, or check out Bean Week for more recipes.

Berries. Blueberries, cranberries, cherries, elderberries, and more – they’re all packed with phytonutrients (flavonoids, carotenoids, polyphenols) that have been shown to promote cardiovascular health with regular consumption. Work them in easily as a snack or dessert with Cooking Light’s blueberry orange yogurt parfait.

Green vegetables. Well, duh, green vegetables are healthy for you. But foods like broccoli, spinach and others are especially good for the ol’ ticker because they’re rich in carotenoids, fiber, and potassium, among other nutrients. Epicurious has a simple, colorful side-dish recipe for chard with pine nuts and golden raisins that can ease anyone into the green-vegetable habit.

Orange vegetables. Carotenoids give foods like carrots, acorn squash, and sweet potatoes their lovely orange hue, and contribute to their associated with lower risk of heart disease. So orange you glad there’s a recipe like carrot “pasta” with kale parsley pesto from Betacyanin?

Fatty fish, flaxseeds, and other omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods. There’s some confusion about unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids’ role in heart health, because supplementation hasn’t conclusively been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. But there’s ample evidence that eating foods rich in omega-3s does reduce your risk. So if you put down the pill bottle, pick up your fork (or spoon) and try adding fatty fish, nuts and seeds, and other good food sources to your diet. Cooking Light has a pan-seared salmon with jalapeno-pineapple relish recipe that sounds great for fish eaters, and veg-heads like me might want to throw some flaxseeds on their yogurt or into a bowl of oatmeal.

Smoothly Subversive Week: Drink your dinner with curried lime mango spinach smoothies

It’s time for some rebellion, unorthodoxy (actually a word; did not know that until today), and subverting the dominant paradigm. For too long, we’ve been hemmed in by the rigid confines of Appropriate Smoothie Timing. Breakfast? Have at it. Post-workout? Blend away. But dinner time? Whoa, there, tough guy.

This tough guy loves green smoothies any time of day

This prohibition makes no sense, though. With just a few minutes, (generally) no cooking, and a lot of flexibility in terms of ingredients and measures, smoothies can put food on the table and some more fruits and vegetables into our diets. Dinner is often an end-of-day struggle against limited time and waning patience for the effort of healthy home-cooking, so what better thing than a smoothie every so often?

Curried lime mango spinach smoothie

If we’re really going to stick it to The Smoothie Authority, maybe we need some dinner-appropriate recipes. So I set out to find liquid equivalents to some of the best flavor combinations in typical dinner fare.

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The Bite-Size Week: Healthy snacks

After yesterday’s Funky Monkey twitter chat, I’ve got snacks on the brain. Truth be told, snacks are always on my mind. I’m a pretty consistent two-snacks-a-day eater, bridging the time between major meals with simple things like a piece of fruit or a granola bar.

But lately I’ve been in a snack rut, eating banana after banana, and I’ve also been downing carbs like they’re going extinct in preparation for that little running thing I’m doing in a few days. Snacks are supposed to be a little something different in our day, so this week’s challenge was to add some variety to the mini-meal roster. That, and get a bit of protein in here once in a while.

I remembered an appetizer recipe I threw together for a recipe contest last year, and not yet shared on Eating The Week – dried fruit and yogurt over crisp crackers. Sure, they were meant to be appetizers, but the bite-size packets of warm fruit and protein-packed strained yogurt can easily double as snack food.

Teh Internets also yielded several good ideas to tide us over between meals. See if any of these help snap out of the snack rut:

  • Apricot blue-cheese and pistachio canapes from Eating Well (here)
  • Pineapple, papaya and sunflower seed granola from Whole Living (here)
  • Date and puffed rice balls from Choosing Raw (here) - Portia brought these tasty little things over to my house this weekend, and they were a great post-long-run snack
  • Cottage-cheese stuffed avocado from FitSugar (here)
  • Asian-inspired snack mix with nori from Food & Wine (here)
  • Greek salad stuffed tomatoes from Starter Knife (here)
  • Dried fruit and yogurt bites (recipe follows below)

Dried fruit and yogurt bites

I originally wrote this recipe to use Peeled Snacks’ GoFigure mix, but you can certainly use any similar mix of dried fruit.

8 servings

Ingredients:
1.5 cups mixed dried fruit (figs, dates, apricots, or others)
½ cup water
½-2/3 cup plain strained (Greek-style) yogurt
Honey, to taste
3-4 crisp wafer-style whole-grain crackers (like Ryvita or Wasa)

Chop dried fruit into small pieces. In a small pan, combine fruit and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and allow to cool slightly (1-2 minutes). Strain the mixture to remove the liquid.

Break or cut the crackers into 8 pieces. Spoon a dollop of yogurt (approx. 1 Tbs) onto each cracker piece. Top with a spoonful of the warm fruit pieces, drizzle with a bit of honey, and serve.

Junior Week: Miles picks 7 from Babble’s 50 Best Recipes for Kids

After stumbling across Babble’s 50 Best Recipes for Kids, I figured it was time to let Eating The Week, Jr., take a crack at a week’s worth of recipes. Not the cooking – no 5-yo has the patience for 12-hour chicken soup – but the menu selection and taste-testing were all up to him.

As background: Miles is right in the middle of the picky-to-adventurous eater spectrum. He loves kale smoothies, but won’t touch broccoli with a ten-foot pole. He snarfs down plenty of fruit every day, but getting protein from sources other than cheese can be a challenge. In general, he’s interested in trying new foods, so it didn’t take too much encouragement to get Miles to pick 7 interesting choices from the Babble recipe list.

Want to see what he picked, and how they scored on the 10-point Jr. and Mom scales? Head past the jump

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The Week in Sports: Well, the week in salsa, anyway

There’s some sort of sporting thing going on this weekend, right? Big national cricket competition, or a curling match or something? If you’re reading the Internet Foodosphere, you can easily be excused for forgetting what the actual game is; here, the food rules the track and field. Potato skins, wings, chili, HUT! So let’s all don our lacrosse helmets and join the fray, with a week’s worth of salsa recipes with a twist.

Sweet potato salsa from Running to the Kitchen

Why not conventional salsa? It’s not for a lack of appreciation – I personally go through at least one 16-oz jar of salsa every week. I put it on quesadillas and eat it with chips, sure, but I also put it on salads, in sandwiches, and in my mouth directly from the jar (Tim still looks incredulous when he sees me do this). It’s mostly about taste, but my inner nutrition nerd also loves this stuff: salsa is an easy way to add to your veggie (and often fruit) intake for the day, with relatively few calories and a good hit of flavor.

Cucumber avocado salsa from Weelicious

But you don’t need me to give you recipes for that – it’s easy to grab some really tasty typical salsa from the store. Anything farther afield, however, is rarely in the ready-made aisle. So we’re going to have to sharpen our knives and roll up our sleeves to try some variations on the salsa theme. I don’t have any recipes of my own to share, despite my unabashed love of salsa paired with anything else edible. Thankfully, there are plenty of novel salsa recipes from other folks on Teh Internets, so here’s your week’s worth of the super scoopable stuff:

  • Feta salsa from Smitten Kitchen (here)
  • Black bean salsa with heirloom tomatoes and pear from Tonya Staab (here)
  • Mango strawberry salsa from Allrecipes (here)
  • Grilled peppery mushroom salsa from Epicurious (here)
  • Apple walnut salsa from Allrecipes (here)
  • Cucumber avocado salsa with mint from Weelicious (here)
  • Sweet potato blackberry salsa from Running to the Kitchen (here)

And let’s go team!

Apple Week: Keep those peels!

Here in the American northeast, it’s that time again – the trees have hints of red and orange peeking out, the mornings are cool enough to warrant a sweater (and gloves, if you’ve got Raynaud’s cadaver hands like me), and many of us are faced with the dilemma of what to do with a big bag of these:

Apples lend themselves to all sorts of sweet fall-season treats, and that’s a popular way to work through the bounty. But there are only so many slices of apple pie, dollops of apple butter, and candied apples people can eat before getting completely. sugared. out.

And the other downside to the dessert-y apple recipes is they typically leave out the phytochemical-rich peels. The entire apple contains a good amount of vitamin C and fiber, but those peels are especially interesting because they contain flavanoids that have potent anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory properties. While it’s not yet clear if it’s the peel, the interior, or the entire apple that confers these benefits, research has shown that higher apple consumption is associated with decreased risk of some cancers and improved cardiovascular health markers.

So what to do? Try some of the peel-saving, meal-making recipes I’ve listed for this week, including apple pizza with spinach, blue cheese and mustard sauce.

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Polenta Week: Hurricane Corn

She’s heeeeeeere.

The outermost bands of Tropical Storm Bite Me, East Coast (aka Irene) just rolled into our town, bringing a soft, steady rain that portends much worse to come. Although I’m still not 100% sure where our flashlights are (actually, do we even own more than one?), I hope we’ve prepared enough to face the onslaught. My mettle was already tested earlier this week, as I stared down the threat posed by… THIS:

Polenta with beans and goat cheese

I know, you’re thinking the sudden drop in barometric pressure has addled my brain; I’m certainly not suggesting that bowl is anything comparable to Irene. But my point is that this week’s theme ingredient – polenta – does have a reputation for malice. In almost any recipe, you’ll see lots of warnings about bubbling, spurting polenta leaping out of the pot in an attempt to singe your skin. It’s nailed me a couple times when I wasn’t using an adequately long-handled spoon.

But overall, we’ve otherwise maintained a wary but uneventful kitchen relationship. If you need help easing your fears of polenta, the folks at America’s Test Kitchen have a great how-to video. Many recipes call for the pre-cooked polenta you simply cut into slices, anyway, and that’s never tried to maim me. So I feel safe in recommending this week’s worth of corny recipes (which you’ll find after the jump).

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Recipe ReDux – Frozen Treats: Coconut chia-seed fruit pops

Late August is the time when folks start to panic, worried that we haven’t taken advantage of summer’s uniquely tasty bounty. The ever-fewer days on this month’s calendar needle us, whispering, “There’s only this many left to grill.”

Thanks to Recipe Redux, however, you can at least stay calm, cool, and healthfully satisfied the next time you hear the tinny tones emanating from the neighborhood ice cream truck. This month, we’ve got nearly 30 recipes for frozen treats: ice creams and “ice creams,” sorbets and snow cones, pies and popsicles, and my own Coconut Chia-Seed Fruit Pops.

No need to chase the truck one last time before it heads to winter storage, my friends (although, I have to say, that sounds like a fun addition to my half-marathon training regimen). We’ve got you covered with chilly concoctions you can make at your leisure, in summer or any season.

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