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Classics Revamped: Made Lighter and Fresher with Fresh Fruit from Chile
Some things never go out of style. Think Audrey Hepburn, little black dresses and martinis. Good taste never loses its appeal and with just a bit of a twist, a change or two, classics are revived and made healthier and timely all over again.
Always in good taste, summer-fresh fruit from Chile brings new allure to two classic recipes transforming them into lighter, brighter, livelier dishes -- right in tune with the findings of a recent study that reports Americans are eating more fruit*.
Chicken Veronique, the dinner party darling in the early days of gourmet cooking, takes on 21st century style in Chilean Grape Sauce Over Cajun Chicken (pictured). A light lemony sauce gets a kick of color and flair from red and green grapes in this chicken dish that's a snap to make.
Quick Chilean Fresh Fruit Upside-down Cake is more luscious than ever when made with a variety of fresh fruits. Get creative with berries, nectarines, peaches and cherries. You can't go wrong with this all-time favorite dessert.
We can thank the fruit growers of Chile for the abundance of summer fresh fruit now in supermarkets nationwide. Chile, a long, narrow country in South America, has opposite growing seasons to North America. Chile is also blessed with a temperate Mediterranean-like climate -- plenty of balmy sunshine, a long growing season, and fertile soil. Chile's Central Valley provides 1,000 miles of lush, fruit-producing orchards, stretching between a desert in the north and glaciers in the south. Edged on the east by snow-capped Andes Mountains and on the west by the Pacific Ocean, it's naturally protected and ideal for growing fruit.
Over 7,500 fruit producers work diligently in Chile's rich, fertile valleys to produce a wide range of gorgeous, high quality fruit. When it's ready, Chile's fruit travels via a sophisticated road system to state-of-the art packing facilities, and is on its way to U.S. supermarkets within 24 hours of harvest.
While over half the scrumptious fruit Chile sends to the U.S. is grapes-plump, sweet red to black and green grapes-there's also an abundant supply of fabulous blueberries, raspberries, peaches, cherries, nectarines and more. This means there's no end to juicy sweet summer-fresh fruits throughout our cold winter months. For recipes and information about fresh fruits from Chile visit www.cffausa.org.
* Parade magazine's 2006 survey of "What America Eats" reports 57% of Americans are eating more salads and fruit.
Chilean Grape Sauce Over Cajun Chicken
This healthy spin on traditional Veronique eliminates the cream and highlights the grapes. Both red and green grapes brighten the light lemony sauce that's served over a lively Cajun-spiced chicken.
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning blend
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each)
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 ounces mixed green and red Chilean grapes, halved
(about 1-1/2 cups)
Sprinkle Cajun seasoning evenly over both sides of each chicken breast. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add chicken; cook until browned and juices run clear when pierced with a fork, 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Place chicken aside; cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Wipe any browned bits from the skillet; add remaining 1 tablespoon butter. When butter is melted stir in lemon juice and 2 tablespoons water. Add grapes and cook over medium heat just until heated through. If desired cut each chicken breast into slices; serve topped with grape sauce. Garnish with strips of green onion (scallions) and green beans, if desired.
YIELD: 4 portions
Per portion: 340 calories, 46 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 12 g total fat (6 g saturated), 1 g dietary fiber, 602 mg sodium
Quick Chilean Fresh Fruit Upside-Down Cake
A streamlined version of the old-fashioned favorite upside-down cake gets a flavor makeover with sweet juicy fresh fruit direct from Chile; packaged cake mix makes it extra-easy.
2 tablespoons butter, softened
4 to 5 cups mixed Chilean fresh fruit (sliced nectarines, peaches, or apricots, blueberries or pitted cherries)
1/4 cup apricot preserves or red currant jelly, melted, divided
1 package single layer (9 ounces) yellow cake mix, prepared according to package directions
Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread butter over bottom and up side of a 9-inch round cake pan. Arrange fruit decoratively in pan; drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the melted preserves. Spoon prepared batter evenly over fruit. Bake until the center of the cake springs back when gently pressed, about 35 minutes. Let cake stand in the pan for 5 minutes; loosen edge and invert onto a serving plate; drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons melted preserves. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.
YIELD: 8 portions
Per portion: 302 calories, 4 g protein, 49 g carbohydrate, 11 g total fat (4 g saturated), 3 g dietary fiber, 211 mg sodium
Selection & Storage Tips for Fresh Fruit
Proper handling helps fruit stay fresher longer.
GRAPES-When choosing grapes, look for plump clusters with moist stems; avoid grapes that are wrinkled. Be sure to pick up bunches of grapes up by their stem ends. For longer life, refrigerate grapes as soon as you get them home; wash just before serving.
BERRIES-Choose plump, firm, dry berries. Avoid or toss any that look crushed, wet or moldy. Refrigerate in covered containers; do not wash until just before using.
CHERRIES-Choose cherries that are firm, round, glossy and brightly colored. Keep cherries refrigerated to protect their taste and texture; wash just before eating.
PLUMS, PEACHES, NECTARINES, APRICOTS - Choose fruit with a rich color and smooth skin; avoid any that are wrinkled. Touch fruit gently with fingertips to determine ripeness; ripe fruit will give slightly. If fruit needs more ripening time, allow to stand at room temperature. To speed ripening, place fruit in a paper bag for a day or two; check daily. Keep ripe fruit refrigerated to maintain quality and flavor; do not wash until just before using.
Make It Quick: Chilean Fresh Fruit Recipe Hints and Tips
1. Make waffles or pancakes more delicious (and nutritious) by serving topped with a mix of warmed applesauce and berries or sliced nectarines.
2. Dress up sweet or savory dishes with a simple roasted fruit topping: Roast pitted plum, nectarine, apricot or peach halves from Chile on a buttered baking sheet in a preheated 400º F. oven until just soft, 10 to 15 minutes; toss fruit with a sprinkle of cinnamon or ground coriander.
3. Skewer grapes, cubes of ham, and cheese cubes; serve with honey mustard for tasty munchies.
4. Create a Cobb Style Salad. Arrange chopped pear, blue cheese, red and green grape halves, and chunks of grilled chicken breast over Romaine lettuce; sprinkle with chopped nuts. Serve with vinaigrette.
5. Add flavor interest and color to chicken salad by tossing berries and quartered grapes into the salad just before serving.
6. Pump up the flavor of carrot salad with chopped grapes.
7. For a fresh salad idea toss blueberries, raspberries or blackberries with salad greens; dress salad with a slightly sweet or fruity dressing.
8. Give spinach salad a fresh twist by tossing with halved grapes, sliced red onion, slivered almonds; drizzle with lemon vinaigrette.
9. Coarsely chop candied ginger and toss into bowl of mixed fresh fruit from Chile. Serve with biscotti for a deliciously simple dessert.
10. For homemade "soft-serve" ice cream, stir fresh blueberries and sliced strawberries or pitted cherries into softened vanilla ice cream.
While there are many reasons for teaching kids to cook -- less expensive than eating out, preserves family heritage, etc, the most important
reason is that by teaching your child to cook, you're giving him a better chance to be a healthy grown-up. Enabling your child with the ability
to appreciate freshness and to transform ingredients into tasty foods opens their eyes to making wiser choices about what to eat...