1 Food 3 Ways: Nectarines

It feels like the beachy days and disco nights of summer just began…but Labor Day is just around the corner, and with it comes the first chill breezes of fall. One of the casualties of the end of summer is, of course, the end of nectarine season, perhaps the worst of the little tragedies we suffer every year as the summer dies a quiet little death. If you haven’t had your fill of the tart-sweet delicious fruit this summer, there’s still time to remedy it! Here’s 3 great ways to use up what’s left of the nectarine crop.

Nectarine Chicken Salad

2/3 cup pecan halves
2 quarts salad greens (8 oz.), rinsed and crisped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup walnut oil (or more vegetable oil; see “Nut Oils on Salad,” below)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
4 boned chicken breast halves with skin (2 lb. total), rinsed, patted dry, and fat trimmed
Salt and pepper
2 firm-ripe nectarines (12 oz. total), rinsed, pitted, and thinly sliced
5 ounces fresh chèvre (goat cheese), crumbled
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spread pecans in a baking pan and bake until golden under skins, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
2. Mound salad greens on four dinner plates. In a small bowl, stir vegetable oil, walnut oil, and vinegar to blend. Set aside.
3. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Lay on a lightly oiled barbecue grill over a solid bed of medium-hot coals or medium-high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook chicken, turning occasionally, until meat is no longer pink in center of thickest part (cut to test), about 15 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a cutting board. Remove skin if desired.
4. Slice chicken across the grain 1/2 inch thick; arrange over greens. Tuck nectarine around chicken. Scatter goat cheese and pecans over the top. Stir dressing; pour over salads. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Nectarine-Orange Pudding
1/3 of a cup of water
6 nectarines
½ cup of sugar
1/3 cup of orange juice
8 teaspoons of powdered gelatin
1 cup of whipped cream
1 tablespoon of Cointreau (Orange Liquor)

Orange Sauce Recipes
1 cup of orange juice
½ of an orange’s peels, cut in thins strips
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoon of Cointreau (Orange Liquor)
2 tablespoon of corn starch dissolved in 4 tablespoon water

1. Place a pot on the fire with the water, nectarines, sugar and orange juice. As soon as it boils lower the flame and let it cook for 4-5 minutes or until the fruit softens. Take the nectarine out and leave aside. Sprinkle the gelatin in the hot liquid in the pot and stir until it dissolves.
2. Blend the nectarine (with peel) and the liquid with the dissolved gelatin. Then strain the mix to get rid of the peels. Place the cream in a bowl and stir the fruit puree with the Cointreau. Oil six pudding molds and place the mixture of fruit, cream and Cointreau. Cover and refrigerate till ready.
3. Sauce: Place in a pot the orange juice, orange strips, sugar, Cointreau, and the dissolved corn starch. Cook at low flame till mixture boils & thickens. Withdraw and let it cool down. Unmold the pudding and serve with sauce.

Nectarine-Carrot Soup

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 fresh California nectarine, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon grated orange peel
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
2 fresh California nectarines, sliced

Melt margarine in large saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion. Cook and stir about 3 minutes or until onion is softened. Add quartered nectarine,carrots and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until carrots are fork-tender. Pour into blender; process until smooth. Add orange juice and orange peel. Season with pepper. Pour into serving bowls. Garnish each serving with 2 tablespoons yogurt and nectarine slices.

1 Food 3 Ways: Seaweed

Seaweed feels great in wraps and facials (see #11 of our hot spa trends) – and it happens to be one of the most nutritionally dense and tasty ingredients to include in soups, salads, and other tasty treats. Seaweed is used extensively in Japanese cuisine and is slowly but surely gaining traction in Pacific fusion and other Westernized dishes – all the better for our bodies and our tastebuds. Now you can have your seaweed wrap and eat it, too! (Although we can’t advocate recycling the seaweed from your wrap into your soup.)

Japanese Miso Soup with Seaweed and Tofu

8-inch piece of wakame seaweed (zero calories and full of minerals)
8 ounces tofu
4 cups dashi (can be found in granule form)
3 Tablespoons red (aka) miso

Soak the wakame in water for 15 minutes; rinse and drain; cut into 1-inch pieces. Cut the tofu into small, bite-sized cubes. Bring the dashi to a boil,then reduce to a simmer; add the wakame and tofu and simmer for 1 minute.

Dip out some of the hot dashi to whisk with the miso, then strain it back into the soup…and remove from the heat before it comes to a boil.

Ladle the soup evenly into the bowls and serve immediately. Stir with chopsticks to eat, as the miso separates easily from the broth.

Seaweed Salad

1/2 cup dried arame seaweed
(soak for 10 minutes or until softened, rinse, drain and roughly chop)
1 cup diced plum tomatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp rice vinegar (or to taste)
drizzle of low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp sliced almonds

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and toss well.

Ahi Poke (Hawaiian Tuna with Seaweed)

8 ounces fresh ahi fillet, diced 3/4 inch
1/2 cup Maui onion or red onion, chopped
1/2 cup ogo (red/brown seaweed)
2 stalks green onion, sliced
1 tsp. Sesame oil
2 tsp. Soy sauce
3/4 tsp. Hawaiian rock salt (coarse sea salt)

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate overnight. The next day, serve on a bed of greens and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. You can also serve this immediately after mixing.

1 Food 3 Ways: Star Anise

Star anise look like the prettiest potpourri of them all –  but they’re not just a pretty face! The cute star-shaped seed pods are widely used in Chinese cuisine and impart a spicy, licorice-y flavor to anything cooked in liquids seasoned with them. You can grind them directly into soup and desserts, too!

Chinese Poached Chicken Breasts with Star Anise

3 1/2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
2 carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices
6 scallions including green tops, 5 cut into 4-inch lengths, 1 chopped
6 1/2-inch slices peeled fresh ginger, smashed, plus 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 cup brown sugar, preferably dark
1/4 cup soy sauce
5 whole star anise
3 cinnamon sticks
6 black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dry sherry
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 pounds in all)

In a large saucepan, combine the broth, carrots, the 5 scallions, the smashed ginger, the garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Add the sherry and chicken and bring back to a simmer over moderately low heat, covered. Turn the chicken and simmer, covered, until the chicken is just done, about 5 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, carrots, and star anise to large shallow bowls. Strain the broth and add the minced ginger and 2 tablespoons of the chopped scallion. Ladle the broth over the chicken and top with the remaining chopped scallion.

Carrot Soup with Star Anise

3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
6 large fresh thyme sprigs
5 whole star anise,* divided
2 small bay leaves
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 1-pound bags peeled baby carrots
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
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Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, thyme, 3 star anise, bay leaves, and garlic. Sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and broth. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove and discard thyme sprigs, star anise, and bay leaves. Working in small batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth; return to same pot. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, cover, and chill. Rewarm over low heat before continuing.)

Finely grind remaining star anise in spice mill or coffee grinder. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with ground star anise.

Plum Compote with Star Anise

1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar, more if the plums are tart
8 whole star anise
2 pounds red and/or black plums (about 9), halved and pitted
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the wine, water, sugar, and star anise and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat.

Add the plums. Bring the poaching liquid back to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the plums are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the plums and their liquid into a glass or stainless-steel bowl and let cool. Stir in the lemon juice.

1 Food 3 Ways: Trail Mix

It’s a road trip staple and a kid-friendly way to stave off the munchies –  and it’s about as easy to make as anything in the world.  For your travel days, for your pack-and-go days, for your super simple can’t turn on the stove lunches, we present 3 trail mix blends.

Spicy Chickpea Trail Mix

2 TBSP curry powder
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP kosher salt
2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, drained & rinsed well
Zest of 1orange
1 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix curry powder with brown sugar and salt. Add chickpeas and toss well to coat. Bake chickpeas for 60 minutes (or until crunchy) on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Stir occasionally. Remove chickpeas from oven. When cool, toss with orange zest and raisins.

Classic Trail Mix
7 ounces dried fruit, approximately 3 cups
5 ounces mixed nuts, approximately 1 cup
3 1/2 ounces granola, approximately 1 cup

Combine the fruit, nuts and granola in a large bowl. To store trail mix, place in an airtight glass container. Keep container in a cool dry place for up to 1 month.

Dessert Snowy Trail Mix

3 cups pretzel sticks
1 1/2 cups corn cereal (we used Crispix)
3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup dried cranberries
12 ounces of white chocolate

1. In a large bowl, mix together the pretzel sticks, corn cereal, pecans, cashews, and dried cranberries.
2. Melt the white chocolate according to the package directions and slowly pour it over the mix, stirring gently.
3. Scoop the mix onto waxed paper to cool, about 20 minutes, then break it into bite-size clumps. Makes about 10 cups.

1 Food 3 Ways: Strawberries

All hail the mighty strawberry! Plump, tiny, and sweet, the strawberry is a mainstay of dessert, especially during the far-too-short strawberry season (that’s now, hint hint.) But don’t limit the strawberry – the strawberry longs to stretch its wings and apply that tasty, tangy-sweet flavor to savory dishes, too. Here are three to get you started.

Strawberry Vinaigrette
1 cup olive oil
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, halved
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon white sugar

In a blender or food processor, mix olive oil, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, tarragon and sugar. Blend until smooth.

Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Strawberry Sauce
Juice and zest of 2 limes, plus 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
1/4 cup coarse-grain mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Two 14- to 16-ounce pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat and cut in half crosswise
2 slices of bacon, chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 whole star anise
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Juice of two lemons (4 tablespoons)

1.Combine the strawberries, brown sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Partially cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries are softened and release their juices, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

2.Pour the strawberries into a blender and blend until smooth.

3.Press the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer and set aside.

1.Preheat the oven to 400°. In a resealable plastic bag, combine the lime juice and zest and the mustard with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place the pork in the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2.In a medium, heavy saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the onion and garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add the Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, star anise, red pepper flakes and strawberry sauce and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Push the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a small saucepan and keep warm.

3.Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until the oil ripples. Remove the pork from the marinade and sear on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes total. Place the skillet in the oven and roast until cooked through but still juicy, about 10 minutes for medium. Place the pork on a cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes more. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce and lime wedges.

Strawberry Soup
2 pints strawberries
2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

In a blender, combine the strawberries, yogurt, orange juice, sugar, water and cardamom. Puree until well mixed. Chill and serve.