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Summer Fruit Tart (Raw, Gluten & Sugar-Free)

In Fruit and Jams, Pies & Sweet Tarts On June 30, 2016 0 Comments

This tart comes with no flour, no sugar (not even agave nectar!), no baking and no guilt! Sounds too good to be true, right?

The tart’s crust is made of ground dates and walnuts. And, the filling is made of pureed mangoes which is topped with fresh fruit.

Serve this luscious tart as a fruit, dessert course or both. They’ll all go nuts over this – literally!

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
2 cups walnut meats, unsalted
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped, dried mangoes
1-1/2 cups chopped, fresh mangoes (about 2 mangoes)
2 kiwi fruits
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh raspberries (optional and interchangeable with the blueberries)
1 or more fresh strawberries (you can create your own garnish pattern)

Directions for the Crust:

1. In a food processor, combine the walnut meats and dates.

2. Process until mixture has crumbled and sticks together – the mixture should not be too fine. Do not over process.

3. Transfer the walnut-date mixture to a 9-inch tart pan that with a removable bottom.

4. Using your hands, press the mixture evenly over bottom of tart pan. Make sure it fits into the edges snuggly.

5. Set the tart pan with crust aside while you prepare the filling.

Directions for the Tart Filling:

1. In a bowl, combine the dried mango pieces with cold water (the water should cover the fruit); let sit for 10 to 12 minutes.

2. When dried mango pieces are soft, drain them and discard the water.

3. In a clean food processor, combine the soaked mango pieces with the chopped, fresh mangoes.

4. Process until the mangoes are pureed.

5. Using a spoon, gently transfer the pureed mango filling onto the crust.

6. Spread the filling evenly until it reaches the edges of tart pan.

7. Garnish the tart with sliced kiwis, blueberries and/or raspberries and strawberries.
Text and Photograph ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real

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Strawberry-Nectarine Salsa

In Fruit and Jams, Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces On August 14, 2015 0 Comments

I can’t help thinking that fruit is the sweetest gift that Nature has given us. While I enjoy all types of fruit in its natural state, I also like to be creative with it.

This salsa is made with strawberries, nectarines (or peaches), green onions, Serrano chiles, lime juice, agave nectar and olive oil. It pairs well with meat, fish and poultry. Serve this strawberry-nectarine salsa at your next cookout!

Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes
Makes: 3-1/2 cups

Ingredients:
16 ounces fresh strawberries, rinsed, dried and hulled
2 to 3 fresh nectarines, peeled (peaches can be substituted for the nectarines)
4 green onions, roots and dark tips cut and discarded
1 Serrano chile, finely chopped (if chile too hot, then only use half)
Juice from 1 lime
2 to 3 tablespoons agave nectar (this can be substituted with granulated sugar)
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Working on a chopping board, cut each strawberry in half, vertically.

2. Chop the strawberry halves into 1/4-inch pieces and set aside in a 2 to 3-quart mixing bowl.

3. Cut the nectarines into 1/2-inch thick slices.

4. Cut each slice into 1/4-inch pieces and add these to the strawberries in bowl; set aside.

5. Cut the onions into thin circles (about 1/8-inch thick) and add them to the chopped fruit in bowl.

6. Add the chopped Serrano chiles and lime juice to the fruit mixture in bowl.

7. Gently stir in the agave nectar, olive oil and salt.

8. Stir the salsa thoroughly and taste it. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

9. Serve salsa immediately or refrigerate it up to 3 hours ahead.

NOTE: This salsa will last until the next day. Howevever, the fruit’s texture will change.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

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Melon Trio & Feta Salad

In Fruit and Jams, Salads On June 19, 2015 0 Comments

Sometimes I just don’t know where my tastebuds are headed – do I want sweet or savory foods? Maybe I want both. For this salad, I used three types of melon: cantaloup, honeydew and watermelon. Then, I added red onion, lime juice, salt, pepper and Feta cheese. The flavors in this salad definitely satisfy a sweet or savory palate. Enjoy this refreshing salad all summer long!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/3 cup lime juice
1-1/2 cups diced cantaloup
1-1/2 cups diced honeydew melon
1-1/2 cups diced watermelon
1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste (if needed)

Directions:
1. Place the sliced red onion in a bowl with lime juice; set aside for 5 minutes.

2. After 5 minutes and in a separate bowl, combine the diced melons with red onion and slightly toss.

3. Top the melon and onion with Feta cheese and black pepper. Taste.

4. If needed, add a little salt (1/4 teaspoon); taste again. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.

5. This salad pairs well with fish or poultry.
Photograph & Text 2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

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Quick Strawberry Jam

In Fruit and Jams On March 26, 2014 0 Comments

Don’t you just love homemade jams and preserves? Making them is easy, too. For a quick strawberry jam, all you have to do is boil the fruit with sugar. In no time at all, you’ll spoil everyone who tastes this delicious concoction! Enjoy Quick Strawberry Jam on toasted bread at breakfast, or whenever you feel like having a natural snack.

Ingredients:
16 ounces (one pound) fresh strawberries
1/2 cup granulated, organic, unbleached sugar
Dash cinnamon

Directions:

1. Remove and discard stems from strawberries.

2. Rinse the strawberries; cut them into fourths, lengthwise.

3. In a 2-quart sauce pot, combine the strawberries, sugar and cinnamon; stir with a wooden spoon.

4. Bring the strawberry mixture to a boil; immediately reduce heat to medium and stir.

5. After reducing heat, cook the strawberry mixture for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. After 3 to 5 minutes, using a hand masher, mash the fruit. The mixture will now have liquid as well as pulp.

7. Cook the strawberry jam for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced and thickened.

8. Transfer the hot jam to a glass bowl or jar. Partially cover the bowl or jar (this will let the heat and steam escape).

9. When the jam has cooled completely, store it in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate it up to one week.

Note: the consistency of Quick Strawberry Jam will appear more runny than conventional jam (this is due to no thickening agents being added).

Text and Photographs ©2014 Nancy DeLucia Real

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Quince Preserves (Dulce de Membrillo)

In Fruit and Jams, Holidays, Preserves On November 22, 2013 0 Comments

Every year, in early November, quince fruit is in season. This is what it looks like:

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What shall we make of all this quince? On my end, I’m changing up the usual condiment of “cranberry sauce” served with Thanksgiving turkey. Instead, I’ll make Quince Preserves. In Spanish, this is known as dulce de membrillo. The Spaniards have long been experts at making dulce de membrillo . Of course, they didn’t get the turkey until after Columbus went back and forth a few times from America to Europe.

However, we’ve got both the bird and the quince. Delight and surprise your guests this year when you serve Quince Preserves alongside that yummy turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!

Active prep time: 40 minutes (for cooking the quinces) & 45 minutes (for cooking the strained fruit with sugar)
Inactive prep time: 45 minutes (cooling time)
Makes: 1 to 1-1/2 cups preserves

Ingredients:
3 large quinces
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups organic, granulated, unbleached sugar

1. Place quinces in a 5 to 6-quart sauce pot, covered with cold water.

2. Cover sauce pot and bring quinces to a boil.

3. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the quinces are tender – test by inserting a pointed knife into center of one fruit.

4. When tender, drain and cool the quinces for about 45 minutes.

5. When quinces are completely cool, peel and quarter them.

6. Remove seeds and finely grind the quince fruit in a food processor.

7. Transfer the processed quince pulp through a sieve.

8. Place the strained quince pulp in a heavy-bottomed skillet or sauce pot.

9. Add 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups sugar to the quince pulp in skillet or sauce pot and mix with a wooden spoon.

10. Cook the quince-sugar mixture over lowest heat setting for about 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it becomes thickened.

11. Pour the quince paste into a heatproof glass jar or bowl and cool. Serve or cover tightly and refrigerate.

Note: Quince paste keeps for 2 to 3 weeks in refrigerator. Serve with turkey. Alternatively, as an appetizer, quince paste can be served alongside cheese and wine.

Text and Photograph ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real