10 Ways Tuesday: Dried Fruit

Dried Fruit (c)2011 LaDomestique.com



I’ve got creative ways for cooking with dried fruit in winter:

1.  Chutney

In The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating, Fergus Henderson writes, “There is nothing finer, after having a good stock up your sleeve, than having a reserve of chutney.” Chutney is an Indian condiment that the British have embraced. It’s basically dried fruit stewed in spices with vinegar and sugar. I found a recipe for Onion-Raisin Chutney in the bible on home curing, Charcuterie. Diced onions, dark raisins, cider vinegar, brown sugar, ground tumeric, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and ground allspice are simmered for about 20 minutes, until the juices are thick and syrupy. The authors suggest serving the chutney with terrines made from pork, veal, or chicken. This Apple-Cranberry Chutney and this Pear and Currant Chutney over at Saveur are both very festive, making for great holiday gifts.

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Ingredient of the Week: Dried Fruit

Dried Fruit (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

The ingredient of the week at la Domestique is dried fruit. Each December, as I prepare my pantry for winter, I enjoy stocking up on a myriad of dried fruits. Currants, raisins, and dried tart cherries are for scones, oatmeal cookies, and homemade granola. Figs are destined for baking cakes, quickbreads, and fig butter as a condiment on the breakfast table or cheese tray. Dates may be pureed in a cake batter or wrapped in bacon and served as an appetizer. Prunes bring a luscious sweetness to savory meat sauces and they really shine when poached in red wine. Apricots are a star in turkey stuffing with sage and mushrooms. All of these dried fruits can be used in salads, pilafs, or vegetable dishes. I fill glass jars to the brim with the different tones of inky purple figs, mahogany dates, festive red cranberry and golden raisins. It’s such a pleasure to look into the cupboard and see the full jars lined up, awaiting the possibilities.

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This Past Week at La Domestique: Pomegranates

This past week at la Domestique we opened up the winter pantry with pomegranates. The gorgeous ruby color and Christmas ball shape of these ancient fruits make them perfect for the holiday season. Throughout the week we explored cooking with pomegranate seeds, juice, and pomegranate molasses. In case you missed anything, I’ve got a recap:

Monday:  Announcing pomegranates as ingredient of the week! Learn a bit of history behind the ingredient, as well as general information on buying, storing, and cooking with pomegranates.

Tuesday:  10 Ways Tuesday! Creative ideas for cooking with pomegranates during winter.

Wednesday:  Cook in the moment with a recipe for Winter Tabbouleh, a bulgur salad made of crisp winter vegetables garnished with jeweled pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses vinaigrette.

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Lebanese Flatbread with Lamb, Pomegranate Molasses & Winter Salad

I find myself turning to the cookbook Artichoke to Za’atar again and again for inspiration. Greg and Cindy Malouf have written a guide to “modern Middle Eastern food” organized alphabetically, by ingredient (no wonder I love it). William Meppem’s photographs draw me in towards natural light-kissed white tablecloths and plates of Arab inspired food that are quietly haunting. I’m seduced by the freshness of the green salads, the detail of each bulgur grain in a mound of tabbouleh, the beauty of a whole roast fish. The Maloufs zero in on flavors that can elevate an ordinary dish to something special. When I came across their recipe for Lebanese Pizza with Pine Nuts and Pomegranate I was excited by one subtle tip in the headnote:

“A splash of pomegranate molasses added to all kinds of ground meats will lift them to another dimension.”

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Cook in the Moment: Winter Tabbouleh

Each week I contribute an article to “Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder” website expanding on one of the 10 Ways Tuesday ideas. Here is the original article for Winter Tabbouleh:

This week at la Domestique I’m welcoming the holiday season with pomegranates, a festive fruit shaped just like a Christmas ornament. One of my favorite ways to use pomegranates is in Winter Tabbouleh, a recipe I came across in the cookbook Gourmet Today. Tabbouleh is a traditional Lebanese salad made with fresh herbs and bulgur associated with easy summer cooking. Gourmet credits this cold weather version to Samuel and Samantha Clark of Moro, a London restaurant. The Clarks also share their cuisine in beautifully photographed cookbooks full of Spanish and Muslim Mediterranean-inspired recipes. In everything they do you’ll find lively flavor, a dedication to cooking with the seasons, and a love of gathering people together. Their Winter Tabbouleh is perfect for the holiday season of parties and celebrations.

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