Archive for Fruit

soft serve fruit (machine required)

September 21, 2012
Fans are going bananas for soft serve fruit

By MICHELLE LOCKE Associated Press

Pureed frozen fruit probably won’t become the next bacon, or even cupcake. It’s simply not sexy enough. So-called soft serve fruit is, however, having a moment, recently becoming a darling of the mommy blog set, showing up on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” inspiring a new countertop kitchen appliance, even spawning a product line and small chain of shops, the New York City-based Soft Serve Fruit Co.

And to be clear, we are talking about something that is precisely as it sounds — frozen fruit that is pureed until it reaches the consistency of soft serve ice cream. That’s it.

Soft serve fruit is “the answer to an ice cream lover’s cravings,” says Francesca Borgognone, Entertain Editor at The Daily, who adds that the appeal is easy to understand. “A fraction of the calories and mixed with the same type of fixings that frozen yogurt has — it can be sweet, savory as well as an any-time-of-the-day treat.”

Soft serve fruit has been quietly building a following online, where recipes abound for turning all manner of frozen fruit into treats. It’s hardly complicated. A splash of juice or water, a bag of frozen fruit and a few minutes in a food processor and the result is something that begs for an ice cream cone.

Just type “soft serve fruit” into Pinterest and see the multicolored flurry of frozen fancies that pops up. And kitchen supply companies are keeping up with the trend, marketing appliances specifically for making frozen fruit desserts, like the Yonanas machine that costs around $50. Of course, most people just use their food processors or blenders.

Tanya Steel, editor-in-chief of, has been on to this idea for a while, keeping foil-wrapped, frozen over-ripe bananas in the freezer for times when she wants a treat that’s tasty without being calorific.

“I started making them when my kids were little and I was trying to not only curb their constant need and quest for sugar, but also my own,” says Steel, coauthor of the cookbook “Real Food for Healthy Kids.” Steel says her site has a number of frozen fruit dessert recipes and “we see incredible interest in them,” she says. Soft serve fruit “makes so much sense,” she says. “It’s an almost guilt-free treat and you actually feel good about giving it to your kids and you feel good about giving it to yourself.”

For Chloe Epstein, a partner in the Soft Serve Fruit Co., the love of soft serve fruit began with bananas. Expecting for the second time (twins, as it turned out), she craved something sweet, but she wanted it to be healthy, too. Up to then her career had been in law, but she was always looking for innovative ways to create healthy alternatives to favorite indulgences so she decided to try to come up with her own solution.

“We started to experiment with frozen, old, over-ripened bananas in a blender, juicer and Cuisinart and learned, like many who play in the kitchen, that there was a way to create something like the creamy frozen consistency we craved without all the other ‘stuff,”’ she says. The first few efforts encouraged them to incorporate soft serve machines and learn the steps needed to guarantee consistency and taste.

The big challenge was sticking to the goal of keeping the product simple — minimal ingredients — wholesome and nutritionally sound. After a lot of trial and error they found that fruit, filtered water and a touch of organic cane sugar — to keep the machine from “hard-freezing” the mix, not for taste — did the trick. After perfecting bananas they moved on to mango and apple, working with a food professional to get things right.

Today, Epstein, her husband Jason, and business partner Michael Sloan run the company (soon to be renamed Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co.) together. They have two stores, one on the Upper East Side and one in Union Square, as well as a seasonal store in Watermill, Long Island, and are carried in several cafes in the region. They’re also considering opening a branch “somewhere warm,” such as Miami, Atlanta or Los Angeles, and have plans to grow their wholesale business for outlets such as schools and universities.

Epstein expects interest in soft serve fruit to grow along with the general emphasis on eating healthier and more wholesome and natural foods. As for the at-home devices, Epstein says her product has been developed to have a creamier, more frozen yogurt-like texture “that we feel is unique. Nonetheless, eating a frozen banana in a home machine or a blender is a fun way to eat fruit and maintain a healthy diet, always a priority for us!”

10-ounce bag frozen mango chunks
1 very ripe banana
1/4 cup sweetened cream of coconut
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon orange juice

In a food processor, combine the mango, banana, cream of coconut and salt. Pulse several times to roughly chop, then add the orange juice. Process until very smooth, this may take several minutes. You may need to stop the processor several times to scrape down the sides of the bowl or move any chunks of fruit that aren’t being pureed. Serve immediately.
Servings: 4

Nutrition information per serving: 140 calories; 30 calories from fat (21 percent of total calories); 3 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 24 g sugar; 1 g protein; 45 mg sodium.

The bananas provide most of the “creamy” in this soft serve. They combine so wonderfully with the blueberries to create a silky, creamy soft serve. If you want to keep it dairy free, substitute plain rice milk, coconut milk, or apple juice for the regular milk. You also could use water.

12-ounce bag frozen blueberries
2 frozen bananas, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons milk

In a food processor, combine the blueberries, bananas, honey, cinnamon and salt. Pulse several times to roughly chop, then add the milk. Process until very smooth, this may take several minutes. You may need to stop the processor several times to scrape down the sides of the bowl or move any chunks of fruit that aren’t being pureed. Serve immediately.
Servings: 6

Nutrition information per serving: 90 calories; 5 calories from fat (6 percent of total calories); 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 16 g sugar; 1 g protein; 30 mg sodium.

10-ounce bag frozen strawberries
1/4 cup agave syrup or honey
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/3 cup)

In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Process until very smooth, this may take several minutes. You may need to stop the processor several times to scrape down the sides of the bowl or move any chunks of fruit that aren’t being pureed. Serve immediately. Servings: 4

Nutrition information per serving: 90 calories; 0 calories from fat (0 percent of total calories); 0 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 22 g sugar; 1 g protein; 0 mg sodium.


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Moroccan Style Spicy Orange Salad — Two Versions

Orange salads are a fixture of the Mediterranean table and Moroccan orange salad is one of the best salads in the world — sweet citrus juices countered with pungent onion and dueling kicks of spices and acidity.

Eat it with bread and cheese and call it lunch, or serve the salad as a cooling antidote to a spicy fish, lamb or chicken dish. Variations: Substitute red onion for the garlic. Add mint. Use other citrus, such as tangerines, mandarins or blood oranges. Sprinkle in a little orange-flower water.

Paula Wolfert seasons orange slices with the spice mixture ras el hanout, orange-flower water, lime and lemon zest, dates and mint. Wolfert devotes an entire section to orange salads in her book “Couscous and Other Good Food From Morocco,” one with radishes and cinnamon, another with grated carrots and orange-flower water and one with olives and paprika. She wrote, “Olives and oranges are one of those miracle combinations, like lamb and garlic, before which I sometimes feel I should bow in gratitude.”

1980: Spicy Orange Salad, Moroccan Style
This recipe appeared in an article in The Times by Craig Claiborne.

3 large seedless oranges
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon paprika (or use Ras El Hanout — available from Kalustayan’s — instead of paprika & cayennne)
1/2 teaspoon garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red-wine or sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup chopped parsley
12 pitted black olives, preferably imported Greek or Italian.

1. Peel the oranges, paring away all the exterior white pulp. Cut each orange into 8 wedges. Cut each wedge into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
2. Place the cayenne, paprika, garlic, olive oil and vinegar in a salad bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and whisk to combine. Add the oranges, parsley and olives. Toss gently to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Recipe: 2010: Mom’s Florida Avocado and Orange Salad
By Andrew Carmellini, the chef and an owner of Locanda Verde in Manhattan.

2 Valencia or navel oranges
1 Florida avocado or 2 regular avocados
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 scant tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce
Handful cilantro leaves.

1. Segment the oranges by slicing off the ends with a sharp knife. Put the orange on one end and, with a small, sharp knife, cut off the peel and white pith. Segment the orange by slicing between the membranes. Remove the segments and drop into a bowl. Squeeze the juice out of the remaining membranes into the bowl with the segments. Reserve the juice.
2. With a dinner knife (not the sharpest knife in your kitchen), cut each halved avocado half lengthwise into segments, cutting through the meat to (not into) the skin. Then cut around the outside of the avocado meat and, using the knife, push the pieces out of the skin and into the bowl with the oranges.
3. Add the lime juice, red onion, oregano, olive oil, salt, hot sauce and the reserved orange juice. Using a large spoon, mix all the ingredients together so that everything is coated and well combined.
4. Remove to a serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro leaves and drizzle with more olive oil. Serves 4 as an appetizer or antipasto.

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Cold Ginger Peach Soup

1 1/2 pounds ripe peaches
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2/3 cup apple juice
1/2 teaspoon peeled, freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon honey
Scant 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Peel and pit the peaches, rubbing them with 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice to prevent discoloration as you work. Place peaches in a food processor and process until smooth.

Scrape peach puree into a medium bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until cold. Serve garnished as with a few peach slices on top. Serves four.

NY Times: Ginger Peach Soup

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Strawberry and Almond Crumble

Adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe. Nigella says you must serve with heavy cream, but I think it is optional, and that whipped cream or vanilla ice cream would work equally well. Also, I made this with frozen peaches & raspberries instead of strawberries and liked it even better.

For the filling
1 lb strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons ground almonds
4 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tablespoons cold butter, diced
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup brown sugar

Vanilla ice cream, heavy cream or whipped cream, optional

Preheat the oven to 400F. Put the strawberries into an ovenproof dish or pan (it should hold about 1 quart) and sprinkle them with the white sugar, ground almonds and vanilla extract. Give the dish a good shake or two to mix the ingredients.

Now for the crumble topping: put the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl and cut in the cold, diced butter. You can use a mixer, food processor, or just use your fingers. When you’ve finished, it should resemble rough, pale oatmeal. Use a fork to stir in the sliced almonds and brown sugar.

Pour the crumble topping over the strawberry filling, covering the strawberries in an even layer and pressing the topping in a little at the edges of the dish. Set the dish on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Cook until the crumble topping has darkened to a pale gold and some pink-red juices are seeping and bubbling out at the edges. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: The crumble can be assembled one day ahead. Cover and store in fridge until needed. Bake as directed in the recipe, but allowing an extra 5–10 minutes’ cooking time. Check crumble is piping hot in the centre. Crumble topping can also be made and frozen in resealable plastic bags for up to 3 months. Sprinkle the topping direct from the freezer over the fruit, breaking up large lumps with your hands. Alternatively, the assembled but unbaked crumble can be frozen, wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and aluminium foil, for up to 3 months. Defrost for 24 hours in the fridge and bake as above.

BBC: Strawberry & Almond Crumble

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Sautéed Chicken With Meyer Lemon and Rosemary

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1/2-inch strips
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced rosemary
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 Meyer lemons
2 tablespoons sugar
2 leeks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped.

1. Toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon oil, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
2. Trim the ends from 1 lemon, quarter lengthwise and remove the seeds. Slice quarters crosswise into 1/8-inch slices.
3. Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the lemon slices, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain under cold running water. Rinse out the pot and refill it with 1 cup water, the sugar and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil. Drop in the blanched lemon slices and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain under cold running water, pat dry.
4. Heat a skillet over high heat for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons oil. It should start to shimmer immediately; add the lemon slices and stir-fry quickly until golden. Stir in the leeks and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook until leeks are soft and golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute. Push the leek mixture to one side of the skillet; stir in the chicken mixture and sear, without moving, about 4 minutes. Mix in the leeks and continue cooking until the chicken is no longer pink, about 3 to 6 minutes more. Drizzle with juice from the remaining lemon half, to taste. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

NY Times: Preserved Lemons Brighten a Stir-Fry
NY Times: Sautéed Chicken With Meyer Lemon and Rosemary

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Marcella Hazan’s Two Lemon Chicken

If this were a still life its title could be “Chicken with Two Lemons.” That is all that there is in it. No fat to cook with, no basting to do, no stuffing to prepare, no condiments except for salt and pepper. After you put the chicken in the oven you turn it just once. The bird, its two lemons, and the oven do all the rest. Again and again, through the years, I met people who come up to me to say, “I have made your chicken with two lemons and it is the most amazingly simple recipe, the juiciest, best-tasting chicken I have ever had.” And you know, it is perfectly true.

A 3- to 4-pound chicken
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
2 rather small lemons

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Wash the chicken thoroughly in cold water, both inside and out. Remove all the bits of fat hanging loose. Let the bird sit for about 10 minutes on a slightly tilted plate to let all the water drain out of it. Pat it thoroughly dry all over with cloth or paper towels.

3. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt and black pepper on the chicken, rubbing it with your fingers over all its body and into its cavity.

4. Wash the lemons in cold water and dry them with a towel. Soften each lemon by placing it on a counter and rolling it back and forth as you put firm downward pressure on it with the palm of your hand. Puncture the lemons in at least 20 places each, using a sturdy round toothpick, a trussing needle, a sharp-pointed fork, or similar implement.

5. Place both lemons in the birds cavity. Close up the opening with toothpicks or with trussing needle and string. Close it well, but dont make an absolutely airtight job of it because the chicken may burst. Run kitchen string from one leg to the other, tying it at both knuckle ends. Leave the legs in their natural position without pulling them tight. If the skin is unbroken, the chicken will puff up as it cooks, and the string serves only to keep the thighs from spreading apart and splitting the skin.

6. Put the chicken into a roasting pan, breast facing down. Do not add cooking fat of any kind. This bird is self-basting, so you need not fear it will stick to the pan. Place it in the upper third of the preheated oven. After 30 minutes, turn the chicken over to have the breast face up. When turning it, try not to puncture the skin. If kept intact, the chicken will swell like a balloon, which makes for an arresting presentation at the table later. Do not worry too much about it, however, because even if it fails to swell, the flavor will not be affected.

7. Cook for another 30 to 35 minutes, then turn the oven thermostat up to 400 degrees, and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Calculate between 20 and 25 minutes total cooking time for each pound. There is no need to turn the chicken again.

8. Whether your bird has puffed up or not, bring it to the table whole and leave the lemons inside until it is carved and opened. The juices that run out are perfectly delicious. Be sure to spoon them over the chicken slices. The lemons will have shriveled up, but they still contain some juice; do not squeeze them, they may squirt.

Ahead-of-time note: If you want to eat it while it is warm, plan to have it the moment it comes out of the oven. If there are leftovers, they will be very tasty cold, kept moist with some of the cooking juices and eaten not straight out of the refrigerator, but at room temperature.

From The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan.

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Smoked Trout and Grapefruit Salad

The original recipe calls for salad greens that include 1 bunch of watercress, trimmed, 2 heads of endive, thinly sliced crosswise, and 1 head of Bibb lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces. But for me, that’s just too much. I’d make this with 1 – 2 heads of lettuce, depending upon the size & variety.

For the salad:
1 large pink or red grapefruit
1/2 pound smoked trout, skin discarded and fish flaked
1 – 2 heads of lettuce
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

For the dressing:
1/4 teaspoon zest & 2 tablespoons juice from grapefruit
1/2 cup sour cream
3 scallions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Grate 1/4 teaspoon zest from the grapefruit and set the zest aside. Trim the ends from the grapefruit, then cut away the peel and white pith. Working over a bowl, cut along both sides of each membrane with a paring knife to remove the segments. Discard any seeds. Cut the grapefruit segments into pieces. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into the bowl.

Make the dressing: Whisk the sour cream, 2 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice, the 1/4 teaspoon grapefruit zest, scallions, 2 tablespoons water and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl.

Place the vegetables: watercress, endive, lettuce, celery and onion in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Top with the reserved grapefruit segments and the smoked trout.

Food Network: Smoked Trout and Grapefruit Salad

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