Kiwi adds freshness for spring

  • 1723080_web1_DSCN2293.jpg
  • 1723080_web1_copy_DSCN2293.jpg

Now that we are done with Easter eggs, here is another “egg” that is perfect for spring menus. When I was first introduced to kiwi fruit, someone remarked that it looked like the New Zealand kiwi bird’s egg. The not-so-appetizing brown and fuzzy exterior belies brilliant green flesh inside, with a unique sweet-tart flavor, much subtler than its color. The kiwi originated in China and was called the Chinese gooseberry. Now grown in two places with opposite seasons, California and New Zealand (where it was named for their national bird), kiwi fruit is available year-round. I started enjoying them in salads, desserts, and on cheese platters; wherever a splash of refreshing green color or flavor was needed. They add a nice amount of Vitamin C and potassium, too. Kiwi can be stored in the refrigerator up to three weeks, but using them while still firm is best, as they tend to “mush” when too ripe.

ADVERTISING

Now that we are done with Easter eggs, here is another “egg” that is perfect for spring menus. When I was first introduced to kiwi fruit, someone remarked that it looked like the New Zealand kiwi bird’s egg. The not-so-appetizing brown and fuzzy exterior belies brilliant green flesh inside, with a unique sweet-tart flavor, much subtler than its color. The kiwi originated in China and was called the Chinese gooseberry. Now grown in two places with opposite seasons, California and New Zealand (where it was named for their national bird), kiwi fruit is available year-round. I started enjoying them in salads, desserts, and on cheese platters; wherever a splash of refreshing green color or flavor was needed. They add a nice amount of Vitamin C and potassium, too. Kiwi can be stored in the refrigerator up to three weeks, but using them while still firm is best, as they tend to “mush” when too ripe.

Sweet and hot seed dressing

Next time you put together a fruit platter, make this slightly spicy, creamy dressing to drizzle over. It is quick and easy, and can be made a day ahead. Recipe from “Still Life with Menu” cookbook by Molly Katzen; makes enough for 6 to 8 servings.

3 tablespoons each: poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin or fennel seeds

Pinch of celery seed

2/3 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)

2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Toast all seeds in a heavy skillet over low heat, stirring, until they give off a roasted aroma (up to 5 minutes). Remove from heat; transfer seeds to a blender. Grind to a coarse meal, using quick on/off pulses. Transfer to a small bowl. Whisk in all remaining ingredients, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Kiwi crush

Start the meal (or the morning) with this refreshing smoothie from Food and Wine magazine; makes 1 serving.

1 ripe medium banana

1 medium kiwi, peeled

1/3 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup crushed ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender container; puree until smooth. Serve immediately.

Orange and kiwi compote with toasted almonds

A good dose of calcium from all three main ingredients makes a healthy, light, refreshing breakfast or dessert. Recipe from Bon Appetit magazine; makes 4 to 6 servings.

3/4 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

2 whole cardamom pods, crushed

2 whole allspice

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large oranges, peel and white pith removed, cut crosswise into 1/3 inch-thick slices

3 kiwis, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/3inch-thick slices

2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Stir first five ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until liquid is syrupy and slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Arrange orange and kiwi slices in a shallow bowl. Pour hot syrup and spices over fruit. Chill at least 1 hour, and up to 4 hours. Sprinkle almonds over; serve.

Chinese kiwi chicken

Using kiwi in an entree is not as common as in salads and desserts. Chef/cookbook author Martin Yan succeeds with this easy stir-fry recipe. Makes 4 servings.

3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons dry sherry

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chicken broth, homemade or canned (low salt or salt free)

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cornstarch, mixed with 2 teaspoons water

2 firm kiwi fruit, peeled and cut into thin strips

Combine chicken, soy sauce, sherry and the 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a bowl; stir to coat. Set aside for 30 minutes. Place a wok or wide frying pan with nonstick finish over high heat; add vegetable oil, swirling to coat sides of pan. Add chicken; stir fry for 2 minutes or until chicken turns opaque. Add bell pepper; stir fry for 30 seconds. Add broth, sesame oil, sugar and salt; cook for 1 minute or until bell pepper is tender-crisp. Add cornstarch/water mixture, stirring until sauce boils and thickens. Remove from heat; gently stir in kiwi strips. Garnish serving platter with additional kiwi slices if desired, and top with chicken stir-fry. Serve hot.

Kiwi sorbet

A light, refreshing sorbet would be especially good after a hearty dinner. Garnish with another bright-colored fruit like strawberry or mango slices; makes 4 servings.

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

4 kiwi fruits, peeled

5 teaspoons lemon juice

ADVERTISING

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel

In a saucepan, combine water, sugar and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a food processor or blender container, puree kiwi fruit to equal 3/4 cup puree. Add lemon juice, lemon peel and sugar mixture. Mix well. Pour into shallow metal pan; freeze about 1 hour or until firm but not solid. Spoon into chilled bowl and beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Return to freezer; freeze 2 hours or until firm enough to scoop.