Books for Cooks: August 2016

By MaryAnn Miano

There are many interesting dishes that can be made with fruit when you think outside the box. In Catherine Henning’s Cook Book Collection at the Colts Neck Library, there is just such a book filled with unusual and classic fruit recipes. Fruits in Cooking, by Robert Ackart, provides the cooking enthusiast with tempting recipes for every appetite.

The world of fruit can be mysterious, but really, fruits are simply the fleshy seed containers of certain trees, shrubs, and bushes. The flesh of fruit protects the developing seeds, and, once they are mature, aids in their distribution.

The author introduces international recipes that feature the addition of one or more fruits, a traditional element of Oriental, Middle Eastern, and much of European cuisine, which rely heavily on fruits. The book covers 35 different fruits, explaining each one’s botanical description and any lore attached to the fruit.  Fruits in Cooking does a wonderful job of giving step-by-step cooking instructions and time and measurement tables, along with serving suggestions for a no-fail presentation.

Recipes include soups, appetizers, meat, poultry, fish, and vegetable dishes. Salads, breads and stuffing, desserts, sauces, and even beverages all have a place within its pages. Recipes are easy to cross-reference and are identified according to their national origin.

The nice thing about this book is its layout. It is divided into five major sections: Part 1 features recipes with one fruit – fresh, frozen, canned, or dried, and commonly found in supermarkets.  Part 2 presents recipes which combine two or more fruits in various arrangements to produce a variety of unusual taste treats.  Part 3 combines mixed dried fruits such as apples, apricots, peaches, figs, pears, raisins, and prunes. Part 4 presents nine exotic and unusual seasonal fruits: crab apples, guavas, june or shad berries, kumquats, mangoes, papayas, persimmons, pomegranates, and quinces. And finally, Part 5 includes a final group of hard-to-find recipes with custom and lemon sauces for desserts.

All the recipes presented by the author enhance the taste of the unusual fruits selected.

If you are someone who perceives meatloaf as boring, give the following recipe a try and see how a little fruit adds pizazz and interest – even to meatloaf!

MEAT LOAF AND LEMON

½ lb. ground chuck*

½ lb. ground veal

½ lb. ground pork

* (Can use 1 ½ lbs. ground chuck alone)

3 tbs. butter, melted

1 ½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons

2 cups breadcrumbs

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 ½ cups milk

1 lemon, sliced paper-thin and seeded

 

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix them well. Pack the mixture into a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

2) Bake the meat loaf, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hours.  For the final 10 minutes of cooking, garnish the meat loaf with the lemon slices.

 

Recipe from Fruits in Cooking, page 233, By Robert Ackart, Publisher: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1973.