Making Oven Dried Fruit

Dried Fruit     This month the Recipe Redux is all about dried fruits. This is the perfect time too, because summer is coming to a close but there’s still some good fruit to be had and you can preserve it to eat later it in the year. Making oven dried fruit is easy and it’s a great way to preserve the taste of summer to eat in the off season. What can you do with dried fruit? You can do los with dried fruits; add it to your oatmeal or sprinkle it on your favorite cereal, make fruit compotes with a mixture of fresh and dried fruit, make a trail mix with dried fruit and your favorite nuts, add it to your favorite sourdough bread recipe, stir it into curries, make liqueurs, cook up a chutney, bake a fruitcake, add it to your chicken casserole, or take it on car trips as it won’t spoil and smell. Is Dried Fruit Better for You? You have to be careful when consuming dried fruit because it has higher sugar content than fresh fruit, and more calories. On the flip side, dried fruits have at least twice the amount of fiber than fresh fruit. Oven Dried or Dehydrated? When you dry fruit in a conventional oven you lose more nutrients than when you with a dehydrator, which essentially blows dry air on the fruit, and is a gentler process which results in less loss of nutrients. But, not everyone has a dehydrator or is ready to invest in one, in which case using the oven is a good way to see if you enjoy making and eating dried fruits before making the investment of a dehydrator. Check out the links below for more information: Dried Fruits, Whfoods.org Drying Fruits, NDSU  

Dried Fruit

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Total Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes

Dried Fruit

Making oven dried fruit is pretty easy. To get started all you'll need a couple of sheet pans, and silplats or parchment paper.

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup lemon juice, or 1 teaspoon citric acid
  • 3-1/2 cups peeled, cored, and/or pitted fruit

Procedure:

  1. Select fully ripened, unblemished fruit.
  2. Peel, core, or pit the fruit as called for.
  3. Pour citric acid or lemon into the water, add the fruit and let it soak 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the fruit with a slotted spoon and pat dry.
  5. Place the fruit on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper a silpat.
  6. Oven dry at 140° for 5-6 hours. It should be leathery and pliable when done.
http://www.myhealthyeatinghabits.com/2014/09/21/making-oven-dried-fruit/
Dried Apricots 2

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Tropical Papaya Chicken Salad

Tropical Papaya Chicken Salad

Tropical Papaya Chicken Salad

 

If you’ve been following along with me, you know that each week I, and a group of fellow bloggers, write and post about a particular power food from a book called Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with the 38 healthiest ingredients, published by the editors at Healthy Living, a Martha Stewart publication. And by the way, we devote this week to the papaya. The book has only one to two paragraphs to summarize the nutritional benefits of a particular food, so each week I complement this with further research. I usually start with The World’s Healthiest Foods and then continue from there. I came across an article on a site that does not usually post health information. What impressed me was that she had 169 responses; many are testimonies from people who benefited from eating papaya, the seeds, tea from the leaves, or papaya supplements. I always take testimonies with a grain of salt, but. The World’s Healthiest Foods also indicates many of these benefits. As you’ll see, this power food is pretty potent!

Christopher Columbus called papaya the “fruit of the angels.” The tree is also known as the pawpaw, and the fruit pawpaw or papaya) is packed with vitamin antioxidants C, E, and A, as well as being a good source for the B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. Papaya contains a powerful enzyme called papain, which helps to lower inflammation and aids to digest proteins. It helps with protection against macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and prostrate cancer to name a few. The small black seeds look like moist peppercorns; they are edible and they have a peppery, but bitter flavor. Most people discard the seeds, but those who are knowledgeable eat the seeds to prevent, or cure the problem of intestinal parasites. Papaya will certainly be a part of my healthy eating habits!

The instructions below assume you have cooked chicken on hand. Add another 20 minutes if you plan to bake the chicken breast. The salad looks loveliest on an extra large serving platter. Unfortunately, the plate in the picture was not large enough to leave a border around the lettuce.

 

Servings: 4 to 6            Prep Time: 20 minutes             Total time: 20 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 head of butter lettuce – enough for four people

2 cups papaya cut into ¾ inch cubes

½ breast chicken, cooked and shredded (about 2 cups)

1 teaspoon garam masala

¼ teaspoon curry powder

¼ teaspoon cardamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ cup slivered red onion

2 tablespoons coconut, unsweetened and shredded

½ cup cilantro leaves

For the vinaigrette:

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

¾ teaspoon minced garlic

¼ teaspoon mustard

Pinch teaspoon sea salt

Pinch black pepper

 

Procedure:

1. Put the garam masala, the curry and the cardamon in a small heated pan and dry stir just until it gives off a fragrant aroma. Add slightly less than 1/8 teaspoon salt. Set it aside

2. Place the shredded chicken in a medium bowl and sprinkle the spices over it and then mix it well. Add the papaya, 1 tablespoon coconut, ½ of the red onion and toss lightly.

3. Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients; the olive oil, lime juice, mustard, garlic, pinch of black pepper, and salt to taste.

4. Wash the butter lettuce and cut off the bottom end. Pat the lettuce dry with a paper towel. Open the lettuce on a large plate, spreading out the leaves. Place the papaya/chicken mix in the center and then top with the cilantro leaves, and then the remaining coconut, onion. Pour the lime vinaigrette over the top as needed.

References:

Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with the 38 healthiest ingredients

http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=47

http://www.traditionaloven.com/articles/124/papaya-sweet-pawpaw-answer-to-well-being-and-health

 

If you are a blogger and would like to take part in our group blogging about Power Foods: 150 Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients, (from the editors at Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine) we’d love to have your company. Contact: Mireya(at)myhealthyeatinghabits.com for details.

 

 

Check out what these other bloggers have cooked up! Alanna – Kitchen Parade Veggie Adventure – Alyce – More Time at the Table, Ansh – Spice Roots,  Casey –SweetSav  Jeanette – Jeanette’s Healthy Living,  Martha – Simple-Nourished-Living, Minnie – The Lady 8 Home, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits

This posted can be seen at  Full Plate Thursday,  Whole Foods Wednesday, Pennywise Platter and Freaky Friday

Baked Plantain Chips with Indian Spices

Baked Plantain

Baked Plantain

Since I wrote my post a few weeks ago about Indian spiced cauliflower, I’ve been hankering for more spices and exotic flavors. I picked up a book at the library titled “Lord Krisna’s Cuisine: The Art of Vegetarian Cooking” by Yamuna Devi. I don’t remember if it was the first page I opened to or the second, but her appetizer recipe for Crispy Plantain Wafers called to my tastes buds. So, it’s time for another Indian treat: Baked Plantain Chips with Indian Spices…umm.

Technically, plantains are a fruit, but they are considered more of a vegetable, as many people cook them when they are still green or yellow. They are not sweet until the peel turn black. They are very tasty fried in olive oil and served with fried eggs and tomato sauce over rice in a dish called, Arroz a la Cubana –Cuban style rice in English. Devi says that in the south of India people are as fond of plantain wafers as Americans are of potato chips. In India, they are fried in coconut oil, which is a highly saturated fat. In my adapted version I use, you guessed it…olive oil. Why olive oil? According to Dr. Donald Hensrud, a Mayo Clinic preventive medicine specialist, olive oil is considered a healthy fat and may lower your risk of heart disease.  OK, I know you know that. I’m just reminding you that you can always change a recipe and go for the healthier choice.

I’ve also adapted the spice from the original recipe. The only spice she used was turmeric, which was mixed with water applied from a spray bottle to crisp up the wafers. I didn’t include turmeric in my adapted version the recipe because this is a finger food, and turmeric will stain your fingers. My version calls for a spice mix sprinkled on when they come out of the oven. I agree with her that they can be quite addicting, like potato chips, and should be eaten with caution; nothing eaten in abundance can be good for you as it throws your body out of balance. Enjoy with reserve.

 

Servings: 6  (approximately 8 chips each)

Prep time: 45

Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 plantain – *When buying, look for yellow plantains speckled with black spots.

5 tablespoons olive oil  (Much of this will remain in the pan when done.)

For Spice Mix:

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon chipotle, or some type of hot spice

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Procedure:

*Note- for crunchier chips get a spray bottle full of water and finely spray the chips once or twice with a fine mist of water.

1)  Remove the plantain skin with a paring knife. The plantain skin is not easy to remove like a banana, so trim it off with a small sharp knife.

2)  Slice the plantain at an angle, no more than 1/8 of an inch thick. Soak the plantain ice water for 30 minutes.

3)  Heat the oven to 375° and get a pan 10 ½ x 15 1/2, or a pan 12 x 17 that has sides ½-inch tall. Place 4 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan and place the pan in the oven on the middle rack.

4)  After the plantain has soaked in ice water remove them from the water and pat the slices dry with a tea towel.

5)  Remove the baking sheet and spread the oil around evenly. Put the plantain slices on the baking sheet, placing more slices in the middle of the pan, as the one on the outer edges tend to cook faster.

6)  Put the pan in the oven and bake approximately 15 minutes. This time will vary from oven to oven so watch the plantain carefully and flip the slices over halfway through the cooking time. You may have to rearrange the chips for even cooking.

7)  Remove the chips from the oven when the chips are evenly browned. Place them on a couple of paper towels and pat them to soak up the oil. Next, place the chips on a plate and sprinkle the mixed spice on and toss the chips around with the spice. At this point they are ready to serve. Later if they become soggy, they can be toasted in a toaster-oven to crisp them up.

Enjoy!

Mireya

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This recipe is posted at Simply Indulgent Tuesdays

Plantain on Foodista