February 22, 2007 at 8:03 a.m.

Pineapple: this way and that way

Pineapple: this way and that way
Pineapple: this way and that way

It is the season of citrus fruit and you know what has happened to the orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime crops. Well, it's about pineapple today.

Is it a cousin of the apple? We'll see.

In most languages, the word pineapple is based on "nana" or "anana," which means excellent fruit or fragrance in the Brazilian Tupi Indian language. The original home of the pineapple was the lowlands of Brazil, but the fruit spread throughout the tropics. The Spanish explorers gave this fruit the name "pina," which means pine cone in Spanish because of its resemblance to a pine cone. The English added "apple" to associate it with juicy sweet fruit and we have the pineapple.

A gentle reminder -- don't use fresh pineapple in gelatin salads or desserts as it contains a natural enzyme which prevents gelatin from setting. Use canned pineapple instead. Is it good for us? To be sure!

One cup of fresh chunks is fat-free, contains just 80 calories and 40 percent of your daily Vitamin C requirement. Sounds pretty nutritious to me.

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With that, let's do recipes using pineapple. I'll start with a fruit salad.

PINEAPPLE WALDORF SALAD

1-20 oz. can pineapple tidbits in its own juice, drained (drink the juice)

1 tart apple (like Granny Smith), cored and cut in chunks

1-1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans

1 c. sliced celery

3/4 c. plain yogurt

3 T. brown sugar

1 t. fresh grated lemon peel (can use 1/2 t. dried grated peel)

1/2 t. vanilla

1/4 t. cinnamon

Combine first five ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine rest of ingredients, mixing well. Stir into pineapple mixture.

Serve in a bowl or serve individually on a salad plate over greens. Makes four servings. If you're not a yogurt fan, use lite mayonnaise.

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And, another salad ready in just 25 minutes.

PINEAPPLE-MANDARIN ORANGE SALAD

3 T. canola or vegetable oil

2 T. lemon juice

2 T. finely chopped fresh mint leaves or 2 t. dried mint, coarsely crushed

1 t. sugar (can use artificial sweetener)

1-15 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained

1-20 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained

1 red apple, cored and cut into chunks

1 c. red or green grapes (if grapes are large, cut in half)

In a small bowl, whisk together first four ingredients; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine rest of ingredients; pour dressing over salad. Toss gently to coat. Cover; refrigerate 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Turn into a pretty glass bowl; garnish with fresh mint if you wish. Makes six servings.

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We are in the Lenten season in the Christian church and this is a delicious, meatless entree to serve friends or family.

QUICK SHRIMP 'N

PINEAPPLE STIR-FRY

1-20 oz. can pineapple

2 t. cornstarch

1 medium clove garlic, minced very small

1-1/2 t. canola or vegetable oil

1-1/2 t. sesame oil (if no sesame oil, use additional vegetable oil)

1 medium zucchini (yes, available in the produce department at the grocer)

1/2 c. diced red sweet pepper

4 pencil onions, sliced diagonally in 1/2-inch pieces

1 lb. medium cooked shrimp, tails removed

hot cooked white rice or brown rice

In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 c. juice with cornstarch; set aside.

In a large (preferably teflon) in hot oils, stir-fry garlic, zucs and pepper for 2 minutes over medium-high heat. Add pineapple and onions. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to veggies, stirring as mixture comes to a boil. Lower heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add shrimp; heat over medium heat until shrimp is hot, about 2-3 minutes.

Serve with hot cooked rice if you wish. Makes 4 servings.

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If you like gingerbread, you'll enjoy this version of the traditional upside down cake.

GINGERBREAD UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

1-20 oz. can pineapple slices, drained (save 1/2 cup, drink the rest)

1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened, divided

1 c. brown sugar, packed, divided

10 maraschino cherries

1 egg

1/2 c. dark molasses

1-1/2 c. flour

1 t. baking soda

1 t. ground ginger

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. salt

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 10-inch oven-proof skillet.

On stove top, blend in 1/2 c. sugar. Remove from heat; arrange pineapple in skillet, using only as many as will fit. Put a cherry in center of each slice.

Cream rest of butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine rest of ingredients in a bowl; set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring the 1/2 c. juice to a boil. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with hot juice. Pour batter over pineapple.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean (don't go down to the bottom or you'll get the pineapple stuff on the pick). Cool in skillet 5 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Garnish with whipped cream or whipped topping if you wish. Makes 6-8 servings.

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And, a fruity-flavored quick bread.

PINEAPPLE ORANGE

WALNUT BREAD

1 c. broken walnuts, finely chopped

2 c. flour

1 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

3/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. butter, softened

1 egg

1/4 c. orange juice

1 T. fresh grated orange peel or 1 t. dried grated peel

1-8 oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained

1 c. raisins

In a medium bowl, combine first five ingredients; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, orange juice and peel. Beat in one-third of flour mixture until blended. Beat in half of undrained pineapple. Repeat, ending with flour. Stir in raisins.

Turn into well-greased and floured 9x5-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire rack to cool. Makes one loaf (about 16-18 slices).

NOTE: I use the foil "release" to line the pan. No need to grease and flour and it won't stick.

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Thought for today: At evening when you go to bed, look for stars shining overhead. They are the little daisies white, that dot the meadows of the night.




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