Monday, December 22, 2008

Prune Recipes

Grilled Chicken Salad with Prunes
This salad combines fiber, monounsaturated fatty acids, cancer-preventing milk fats, antioxidants, and vitamins in a single delicious dish. For additional flavor, use spiced pecans you can make by dipping the pecan halves in vegetable oil and then rolling them in 1 tablespoon of packed brown sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon each of cumin and ground red pepper. Heat in a medium over for 10 minutes, cool, and add to the salad.
Salad
8 cups (about 200 g) of mixed salad greens
6 oz (175 g) of grilled chicken
1-1/2 cups (50 g) steamed green beans
1 cup (150 g) coarsely chopped prunes
1/2 cup (125 g) crumbled feta
1 cup (100 g) pecan halves
Dressing
1 peeled, cored, diced Granny Smith apple
1 peeled shallot
1/2 cup (100 ml) apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) vegetable oil (preferably one with added antioxidants)
1/3 cup (80 ml) walnut oil

To make the vinaigrette:
1. Place apple, shallot, sugar and half of the cider vinegar into a blender and blend until smooth.
2. With motor running, slowly add rest of vinegar and oil. Blend until creamy.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To make the salad:
1. Blanch green beans by cooking in salted boiling water until color changes. Immediately immerse into ice water to cool, then drain.
2. Toss beans, greens, and other salad ingredients. Plate and serve with vinaigrette.

Roasted Beets and Prune Salad
Here is a meat-free salad with the same nutritional benefits as the chicken and prunes salad above.

4 red or yellow beets (about 12 ounces, or 350 g) You can substitute one can (16 ounces, or 450 g) of whole beets, drained and sliced.
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups (about 100 g) of mixed salad greens
10 pitted prunes, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup (50 g) crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup (50 g) shelled pistachios (preferably unsalted)

1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
2. Place beets into small baking dish. Cover and bake for 45 to 60 minutes until tender. (When the beets are done, you can poke a straw through them.)
3. Remove beets from oven and allow to cool enough that you can handle them. Peel skin off beets. Cut each beet into eight wedges and set aside.
4. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, oil, garlic, sugar, sal, and pepper. In a large bowl, combine greens, beets, and prunes.
5. Add vinaigrette to beets, greens, and prunes and toss.
6. Place salad into serving bowls. Top with pistachios and crumbled cheese.

Plum Good Chili
Living in Texas, I have to hope my friends and neighbors don’t happen to read this heretical chili recipe. The combination of prunes and chiles, however, brings out the flavor of the beef. The fiber in the prunes and lycopene in the tomatoes offset any detrimental effects of using ground beef, and, in this easy-to-make recipe, canned is as nutritious as fresh. If your child will not eat prunes, this may be a valuable tool of persuasion.

1 pound (450 g) ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 can (15-1/4 ounces, about 440 g) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces, about 440 g) tomato sauce
3/4 cup (150 g) pitted prunes, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano

1. Brown ground beef over medium in a large saucepan, breaking the meat into 1/2-in (1 cm) crumbles. Pour off half the fat.
2. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent but not browned.
3. Add other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer half an hour.
4. Serve in bowls. Garnish with shredded cheese, if desired.

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