3 tablespoons cumin seeds
3 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, cut in half, and seeded if desired
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 bunch cilantro
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 pickling cucumbers or Kirbies*, ends trimmed and peeled
2 pounds skinless wild salmon fillet**
Lightly toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet over low heat just until their aroma is released, about 5 minutes. Transfer seeds to a blender. Add the jalapeños, garlic, black pepper, salt, and lime juice and puree until the cumin seeds are finely ground. Then add the cilantro and olive oil and puree until smooth.
Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and then slice across the width into 1/2-inch half-moons. Sprinkle with salt and let sit in a colander for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing excess water to drain.
Meanwhile, cut the salmon into 1 1/2-inch chunks and place in a bowl. Pour on the jalapeño cilantro marinade let sit 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the grill or broiler.
Thread alternating salmon and cucumber chunks on the skewers. Grill or broil about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Serve immediately.
* Pickling cucumbers or Kirbies are small, pale green cucumbers with fewer seeds and a milder flavor than larger cucumbers.
3 3/4 pounds beef short ribs, cut in 1/2-inch slices with bones
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Lay across a rack in a roasting pan or baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine water, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Brush over top side of ribs and bake an additional 10 minutes. Turn, brush, and bake 10 minutes more. Set aside to cool.
Combine marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add roasted ribs and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours or as long as 24 hours.
Preheat grill or broiler. Grill ribs for 2 minutes per side and serve immediately.
* Hoisin Sauce is a thick, soybean-based, sweet Chinese sauce usually mixed with other condiments for marinades and sauces.
** Plum Sauce is a sweet and sour Chinese sauce made from plums, vinegar, sugar, ginger, and garlic.
*** Oyster Sauce is a thick, salty Chinese sauce made from oyster extract, soy sauce, and sugar.
**** Chili Paste is a bottled sauce of red chiles, garlic, and salt.
Savor a bite of sweet, juicy plum and go plum crazy for the flavor of summer! With more than 200 varieties grown around the world, plums are an international favorite, but what lies beneath that beautiful skin? Turns out as well as being low in fat and calories, plums are an excellent source of vitamin A, C, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and of course, fiber.
Plums vs. Prunes: Image Matters
The word “prune” refers to both a variety of fruit as well as a dried plum. In France, prunes are a delicacy soaked in Armagnac and served as a traditional accompaniment to foie gras. But in the United States, prunes do not hold the same prestige. Because of the pervasive image of prunes being used as a digestive aid for the elderly, prune promoters kicked off a public relations campaign in 2001 to market their product as “dried plums”. They even won federal approval to officially change the name in the hopes of attracting younger customers. Funny thing, those that ate prunes all along despite their negative image may get the last laugh. The fibrous prune is rich in antioxidants that may actually slow the aging process.
21st Century Plums: The Hybrids at the Market
A bit confused after a recent trip to the farmers’ market or grocery store? Wondering what the heck is a pluot or an aprium? With plums as the key component in some of the latest fruit hybrids, all sorts of exotic creations are popping up. And best of all, these hybrids are created without the aid of genetic engineering, but instead with methods like cross pollination by hand. Pluot – With a 75% plum and 25% apricot parentage, its exterior closely resembles the plum. There are at least 8 common varieties of pluot, including those with red, yellow, and even polka dot skin. Pluots are noted for their sweetness and intense flavor.
Plumcot – Approximately 50% plum and 50% apricot. Created by intertwining the roots of a plum and apricot tree during the earliest growing stages. Although they look more like apricots, they have an unmistakable plum flavor.
Aprium – With parentage of 2/3 apricot and 1/3 plum, it more closely resembles an apricot but has a distinctive plum finish. Its exterior looks like an apricot to some extent, but is mostly smooth like a plum, making it easier to pack and ship.
Tri-Lite – A peach plum hybrid with a mild, classic flavor and a pleasant plum aftertaste. It is particularly good for canning.
Nectaplum – 50% nectarine and 50% plum. The nectaplum has juicy, melt-in-your-mouth flesh with a hint of spice.
Peacotum – Coming in 2008. With the yellow flesh of a peach, the texture and juiciness of a plum, and the velvety overcoat of an apricot, the peacotum tastes more like fruit punch than any of its parent breeds and is the first three-fruit hybrid headed for mass market.
Cooking with Plums
With all the wonderful varieties of plums and plum hybrids to choose from, it’s time to cook up a few of Mary Sue and Susan’s plum favorites.