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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Candied Sweet Potatoes & Raisins

Although we can generally find sweet potatoes year round, they are synonymous with fall. There are a variety of ways to cook these root vegetables. Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes for enjoying this savory super food. And as we inch closer to the holidays what better time to learn how to make this dish. It will undoubtedly make a great addition to your Thanksgiving and Christmas table!

2 lbs sweet potatoes

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 cup honey

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2 Tbsp. water

Sweet_Potato_Slices

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and slice diagonally in half inch pieces.
  3. Lay potatoes in baking pan.
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey.
  5. Cut butter in 4 and add to pan.
  6. Add raisins and water.
  7. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove pan from oven.
  9. Remove cover, spoon liquid over potatoes and bake uncovered an additional 10 minutes.

Candied_Sweet_Potatoes

Bake Time: 40 minutes

Servings: 4

 

Nutrient Note (Sweet Potatoes)

Two times the recommended daily dose of Vitamin A.

Has almost half the recommended daily dose of Vitamin C.

Good serving of dietary fiber.

No fat, no cholesterol!

 

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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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The Green Goddess of Cooking Oils

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Move over Olive! There’s a new girl in town. And she’s not just any ole gal. She’s rich, refined, smoking hot, and best of all, she’s real good to ya.

Avocado is a super food. And its sleek, smooth, buttery oil is heating up the culinary cosmos. But this tropical fruit is not just for Mediterranean diets and health nuts. With lots to love,everyone should be digging it. Get a load of some of what this green goddess has going on:

  1. Good source of antioxidants like vitamins E and beta-carotene
  2. High in monounsaturated fatty acids (good fats that help lower cholesterol)
  3. Packed with protein
  4. Lots of potassium – more than that of a banana
  5. No cholesterol, no trans fat and no sodium
  6. Offers more benefits than olive oil

When fired up Avocados leave nothing to be pitied. With a high smoke point, Avocados are perfect for high-temperature cooking like frying and searing. But don’t be fooled. This versatile oil comes dressed to impress, and adds her own brand of flavor to salads, seafood and more.

Avocado oil does dishes well. But it does the body even better. As far as edible oils go, this virgin girl has got the competition beat. Eat your heart out!

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Spicy Black Beans

These Spicy Black Beans were featured as part of my recent Spice of Life cooking demonstration at Williams-Sonoma in New York City. The audience absolutely loved it! I hope you’ll enjoy creating this zesty, spicy, flavorful dish at home!

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16 oz dried black beans

10 cups Water

1/2 cup red onion, minced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

3 garlic clove, peeled

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp sea salt

2 slices Habanero or Scotch Bonnet pepper

  1. Rinse beans and soak overnight.
  2. In a dutch oven (or stock pot), add beans, salt, garlic and water and simmer for 85 minutes over medium-hi heat.
  3. Add olive oil, red onion, habanero and most of the cilantro and cook an additional 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove from stove and cool for a few minutes.
  5. Remove the garlic cloves and habanero slices.
  6. Spoon beans into medium flat bowl and dress with remaining cilantro.

Cooking time: 90 minutes

Servings: 12

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Avocado Salad

Avocado_Salad

3 whole avocado (Hass), peeled, seeded and sliced

1/3 cup red onion, minced

2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

2 Tbsp. olive oil

4 tsp. lime juice

3/4 tsp. sea salt

1 dash black pepper

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine red onions, cilantro, oil, lime juice and sea salt and toss together using a spoon.
  2. Place avocado slices on a platter and top with mixture.
  3. Sprinkle with ground black pepper.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

 

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