Monday, April 25, 2011
Mom/Chef: Pineapple love
According to Wikipedia (which everyone knows is totally true all the time) it is an herbaceous perennial originally from South America named for its resemblance to a pine cone. If you put it next to a baby in the shopping cart they will stare at it as if the pineapple were from outer space, tentatively reach out to touch it then pull back just before they do, several times, then they will try to knock it out of the cart.
I know this because my local grocery store had piles of these herbaceous perennials on sale for 99 cents each just this weekend. Not being one to turn up my nose at such a deal I naturally bought one. Once home, there are many things you can do with a pineapple, other than chasing the baby around the house with it. For instance, you could cut it down into quarters, trimming it up and getting it into a much more usable state, then say, slice up half of it and use it to make a pineapple upside down cake.
Though you may want to remember to take a picture of it before you and your family eat most of it, a picture of a half eaten cake like this doesn't really inspire your audience, now does it?
Anyway, I used this recipe here which I borrowed from America's Test Kitchen. Only I didn't cook the pineapple first, just layered it in the bottom of cake pan and then cooked the butter and brown sugar for a few minutes until it was all melted together then poured it over the pineapple, then I went on with the cake part of the recipe as written.
You could also take on of those pineapple quarters and use it to make Sweet and Sour Chicken. Just chunk up the pineapple and set it aside. Cut up a few chicken breasts or thighs into bite sized chunks and place in a bowl. Put some salt, pepper, cornstarch and Chinese 5 spice into the bowl and toss it all together, then place the coated chicken pieces into a hot wok, after of course, you've put in about half an inch of oil in the wok. Cook the chicken until cooked through and crispy, then scoop it out of the wok and place it on a plate to the side. Pour most of the oil out of the wok, and dump some diced onion and diced red or orange or yellow bell pepper into the wok and cook until it all starts to soften. While the vegetables cook, get out a bowl or measuring cup and throw in some ketchup, sweet chili sauce, white vinegar, pineapple juice (or orange juice if you don't have pineapple juice) salt and cornstarch. Mix it all together and taste it to make sure it is properly sweet and sour. Now pour the sauce into the wok with the vegetables, add the pineapple chunks, and the chicken pieces and let it simmer until the sauce thickens and everything looks awesome. Serve it over rice. It might look a little something like this:
What, you still have one quarter of that pineapple left, you say? Well, it's breakfast time, how about a smoothie? In a blender, place a handful or two of ice, the diced up pineapple quarter, one banana, and 1/3 of a can of coconut milk. Also a little more pineapple juice, or just water. Blend blend blend, and ta-daa, pina colada breakfast smoothie!