What’s Cookin’ — February 25, 2010

Pineapple Epiphany

by JEANNE BRIGGS

Jeanne Briggs

You will not believe what an experience I had in a small store with a jar of pineapple chunks in a spicy syrup. That really got me thinking about what I could do with pineapple, and voila… here’s the result. First of all, it’s not a pine or an apple, and it’s not native to Hawaii. Now that being said, it’s sooo delicious and goes well with almost everything from soup to salad to best of all, the main course—and let’s not forget dessert. I’m already salivating over these recipes. Let’s get started to something “delicious.”

Pineapple Gazpacho

1/2 cup coarsely chopped yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon each: salt and pepper
1 pineapple, cored, peeled, cut into chunks
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, quartered
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup finely diced, seeded, peeled cucumber
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Plain yogurt

Place the first 9 ingredients into a blender or food processor; process until minced. Pour into a bowl; stir in sugar. Cover and chill. Spoon soup into bowls. Combine diced remaining ingredients, tossing gently. Top each serving with 3 tablespoons cucumber mixture. Top each serving with a dollop of yogurt. Serves 4.

Pineapple Pickles
(This is what got me started!)

1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
6 whole allspice berries
3 whole cloves
1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon
Dash of salt
1 drop yellow food coloring

Drain pineapple, reserving 3/4 cup syrup. Put syrup and all other ingredients, except pineapple and food coloring, into a saucepan. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the food coloring. Cool and pour over pineapple. Leave the spices in the syrup. Put into a canning jar, cover tightly, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Serve ice cold. “This is so incredible for a condiment—your friends/family will devour them.”

Broiled Chicken with Fresh Pineapple-Fennel Salsa

2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 chicken breast halves, skin removed
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons jalapeño pepper, minced
One fresh pineapple (about 3 lbs.) peeled, cored, cut into 1-inch chunks (4 cups)
1 bulb fennel, trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch dice (save the fern top for garnish)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved, or 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

In a small bowl, stir together the fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Rub mixture into the chicken; cover, and refrigerate 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together limejuice, honey, mustard and jalapeño peppers. Add pineapple, fresh fennel, tomatoes and basil. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Preheat broiler. Broil chicken about 5 minutes, turn over, and broil 8 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with the pineapple-fennel salsa. Serves 4. 

Lime Broiled Shrimp with Tropical Fruit Relish

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh limejuice
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound jumbo shrimp, shelled and de-veined

Relish

2 tablespoons fresh limejuice
2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
2 kiwi fruit, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced jicama, or tart crisp apple
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

In a large bowl, stir together lime zest, 3 tablespoons of limejuice, soy sauce, brown sugar and cayenne. Add shrimp, tossing to coat, and let marinate while you prepare the relish. In a large bowl, stir together pineapple, kiwi, jicama, honey, cilantro, and the limejuice. Preheat broiler. Place shrimp on a broiler pan, drizzle marinade over them, and broil 5 inches from the heat for 5 minutes, or until shrimp are just cooked through and browned. Spoon relish onto four serving plates and place hot shrimp to top. Serves 4 deliciously.

Deep Fried Pineapple in Coconut Batter

(This is an addition to any meal that is awesome and worth the raves!)

1 pound fresh pineapple, pared, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 ounces of premium lager
8 ounces self-rising flour, sifted (please make sure your flour is self-rising)
A little cold water, if needed
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup flaked coconut
Flour
6 tablespoons dark rum
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
Juice of half a lemon

Dry the pineapple on paper toweling. Heat a deep fryer to 375F. Whisk the lager and flour together, adding a little cold water, if needed, until the batter is thick. Stir in the sugar and coconut. Dust the pineapple with a little flour, then place pieces into the batter. Gently shake off excess batter and then drop the coated pineapple pieces, one by one, into the hot oil. (DO NOT cook more than 8 pieces at a time, or the temperature of the oil will drop and the pineapple will not crisp up the way it should). When done, lift out the pieces with a slotted spoon and drain well on absorbent paper, repeating the process until all the pineapple is cooked. Sprinkle pineapple pieces with a little sugar and keep warm but uncovered. Mix the rum, powdered sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and warm it up. Spoon over fritters at the table. Serve with whipped cream, if you wish—totally decadent! (I have no clue how many this serves, because they will be fighting over every last piece.)

My Finishing Touch:

Smooooth Pineapple Daiquiri

8 slices fresh pineapple
6 ounces light rum
1 (6 oz.) can frozen lime aid
1 cup vanilla ice cream
Ice

Combine lime aid and rum in blender. Add pineapple and ice cream, and blend well. With blender running, add a few pieces of ice until the mixture is smooth and thick, and blender is nearly full. Serves 4 happy grown adults.

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