Hitting the Jackpot with Jackfruit

The name Jackfruit has been popping up lately. Do you know what a Jackfruit is? If not you should. Recent trend reports suggest it might become a staple at the breakfast and dinner tables. As someone who grew up eating Jackfruit like Americans eat apple, I can assure you if this trend holds true you’re hitting the jackpot with jackfruit. Big time! 

Jackfruit is an oversized fruit with a yellowish-green bumpy skin, with yellow fleshy pods on the inside. Both the flesh and seeds are edible. The flesh is firm, sweet and flavorful, and tastes like a bunch of tropical fruits rolled into one. The seeds are just as yummy when roasted.

But one thing stood out to me when I read a recent article. So many of the foods I grew up on are now all the rage. Avocado, Coconut, Pomegranate are fruits I devoured as a child. Every yard had some sort of fruit tree in it so there was easy access. As a matter of fact, these fruits were so plentiful that many times they had fallen off the tree and you were doing yourself or someone a favor picking them up off the ground. Seriously, that’s how abundant these superfoods were. And, no doubt, still are.

As I said, I grew up on these. Jackfruit is no different. I was so excited when I came across another article from Whole Foods that I contacted them immediately to see if they had it in store. And they do!

I will be updating this post as soon as I get my paws on some Jackfruit. Please post your comments if you’re trying it for the first time or if your first bite brings back memories of childhood days.

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Coconut Set to Sale Higher in 2017

There’s no shortage of predictions for 2017. From cool tech and funky fashion to moody color palettes, forecasters have weighed in on what we can all look forward to in the new year. On the culinary side, researchers and retailers are anticipating a rise for Coconut.

Given the coconut water craze of the last few years, one would think this hard-shelled fruit would have lost her luster by now. Not so. When it comes to food, apparently, there’s always room to grow, even in a seemingly saturated marketplace. The verdict: coconut set to sale higher in 2017!

Coconut

Consumers have had their eye on healthy, organic, cholesterol-free coconut for some time. But how familiar are most with edible coconut – that is, beyond the bars, water and infused products? Here’s a look at some that have been on store shelves for ever, some newer to the marketplace, and what’s projected to give foodies a run for their money.

Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk is a staple in Caribbean cooking. Made from the ‘meat’ of the coconut, the milk is creamy and rich in texture. In Jamaica for example, coconut has never been reserved just for drinking. Coconut milk is used in dishes like Rice & Peas, and in other savory delights of fish, stews, and more. Coconut milk is also a gem in Asian cuisine and is part and parcel in curry and other dishes.

Coconut Cream

Coconut Cream as the name suggests is a creamier, more concentrated version of coconut milk and is used for similar purposes. Both the milk and cream form of coconut has been around for a very long time.

Coconut Sugar

Although Coconut Sugar has been popular in other cultures, its rise in the United States is relatively recent. Also referred to as Coconut Palm Sugar, it is mild in taste, has slightly fewer calories than refined sugar, and is regarded as an alternative sweetener. Coconut Sugar is a good source of potassium, zinc and other vitamins and minerals, and goes great in tea, coffee and other beverages that require sweetening. It also serves as a sugar substitute in baking.

Coconut Flour

Although it doesn’t fully replace wheat and grain-based flours, coconut flour is a great partial substitute in baking. Made from the ‘dried’ coconut (oil and fat removed), the flour is high in fiber and protein. Best of all, it is naturally gluten-free.

Coconut Butter

Coconut butter – not to be confused with coco butter, is the smooth, creamy and spreadable finish of the flesh of the coconut. It can be used in place of butter, cream cheese and other spreads. It is decadent, adding amazing taste and texture to smoothies, shakes, and sauces.

What’s on tap for next year? Whole foods and exotic foods! Organic, raw, plant-based fruits and veggies like coconut!

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The Flavor of Fall

Summer hasn’t officially ended, but with Labor Day behind us and the weather already showing signs of cooling, I think we are well on our way to Autumn. The change in season ushers in much to delight in; fruits and vegetables in vibrant display, rows of apple trees ripe for the picking, hayrides through pumpkin patches, and the most fragrant of culinary herbs.

One of the things that bring me great appreciation this time of year is the peppy
glow of fall. To behold the leaves on the trees as they change color beneath the sun’s rays. The breathtaking view driving up the New York State Thruway – as I did in college – and seeing the warm hues of red, orange, yellow and brown as the trees slowly shed their summer green. The earthy fragrance of allspice mixed with cloves that awakes you each morning and lets you know, yes, it’s fall. For me fall just has a special way of coming to life. That’s the flavor of fall.
fall-foods-superfruit-redone

More than the vivid nature of the season is the food. Although you can find just about every eat year round in today’s global marketplace, nothing is as satisfying as enjoying it in season, at its due. Everything is better when it’s at its best. Pomegranate and cranberries are redder in color and richer in taste. Apples and pears are just peachy. Brussels sprouts and bok choy are crisper, and giant pumpkins serve up big, bold taste.

Oh, the dishes you can dig into this time of year. Soups, stews, compotes and cobblers rooted in home-cooked goodness. If there’s ever a season readymade for a hearty meal it’s fall. Chunky, chicken vegetable soup made with butternut squash, potatoes, carrots, turnip, and celery, and flavored with fresh parsley and thyme. And after dinner, a generous slice of Cranberry-Apple Pie or a heap of warm fruit compote to top two scoops of your favorite ice cream.

If home is where the heart is and there’s no place like home, fall is the season you get to come home. Welcome home.

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Savory & Sweet Summer Salads

Summertime is the absolute best time to enjoy salads. From light, crisp and cool to straight from the grill, these six salads can be a refreshing start, a savory side, or flavorful finish to any meal.

Grilled Corn Salad                                                                                                    

Grilled yellow corn (cut from the cob), chopped iceberg lettuce, diced cucumber, tomato, and avocado, and finely chopped scallion tossed in sea salt, ground pepper, fresh squeezed lime juice and avocado oil.

Grilled Corn Salad

Citrus Garden Salad

Spring mix (or your favorite salad greens), sliced cucumber, bell peppers and avocado, grape tomatoes and shredded carrot tossed in a zesty citrus dressing made with a Dijon Honey Mustard, fresh squeezed lime and orange, sea salt, ground pepper and vegetable oil blend.

Summer Fruit Salad                                                                                            

Cut peaches, pineapple, watermelon, mango, kiwi, strawberry and blueberry drizzled with balsamic reduction and sprinkled with Chia Seeds.

Cucumber Salad                                                                                                    

Chopped cucumber, tomato, and scallion tossed in white vinegar and sea salt and dusted with ground pepper.

Grilled Vegetable Salad                                                                                  

Summer Squash, Zucchini, Eggplant, Asparagus, Porcini Mushroom, Bell Peppers, Corn and Shallots sprinkled with coarse sea salt and drizzled with olive oil.

Watermelon & Goat Cheese Salad                                                                        

Cubed watermelon, wetted with balsamic reduction, topped with crumbled goat cheese and adorned with fresh mint.

Watermelon & Goat Cheese SaladEnjoy these savory and sweet summer salads all season long. For more recipes visit us at www.jadegrill.com for these and other recipes.

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Citrus Dressing

I’ve been mixing things up at Williams-Sonoma stores in New York and New Jersey with this zesty Citrus Dressing. It’s fresh, fruity and savory using a few staple ingredients. Just another way to dress up a summer salad, grilled veggies, seafood and chicken!

Citrus_Dressing

1/4 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed

2 Tbsp. lime juice, fresh squeezed

3 Tbsp. honey mustard

1/4 cup vegetable oil­­

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 pinch ground black pepper

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine ingredients and whisk vigorously until blended.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4-6

Note: Tableware provided by Libbey Foodservice.

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Spring Fruits & Vegetables (Radio Segment)

ThinkstockPhotos-484168735Spring has sprung and with it a bounty of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. On a recent episode of “Life Advice” on Magic 98.3FM, I talk with Show Host Jennifer Lewis Hall on what’s in season and how to pick and prepare them.

Take a listen (Scroll to Show #381).

 

Stay tuned for the second part of my two-part series featuring spring cleaning your pantry, where I dish on staple spices, oils, dried beans and more to have handy, plus tips for whipping up a quick and delicious meal on the fly!

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