Friday, November 16, 2012

"Winter Salad With Pears and Pomegranate Seeds"

Long Island is coming back slowly but surely after hurricane “Sandy”. Everyone has a story to tell or knows someone that has lost their homes to this horrible tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to all that are still without electric, heat, and homes. They still need your help. Please go to your local Red Cross Center and give blood, your time, and food which are still needed. Here is where you can go to help. American Red Cross Phone: 1-800-HELP-NOW (1-800-435-7669) Online: Go directly to the Red Cross Donation page. Thank you to all who have helped.

As I walk down the aisle in my supermarket, I can see that one of my favorite winter fruits are being displayed. The Pomegranates have arrived! I remember when I was young my grandmother (Nanni) was the first person to show me a pomegranate and how to eat them. She loved them and would always tell me stories of when she was young and how she learned about this colorful sweet, tart, juicy fruit. Mostly at holiday time is when she would visit and bring the pomegranates. We would pull up our sleeves as not to get them stained and start opening them. Sometimes we would eat the seeds as we were opening them, but other times we would not touch one and fill a big bowl. Then we would take a spoonful and pop them in our mouths. We would giggle as we could see our lips turn red from the seeds that we just squished in our mouths. This time of the year brings back many wonderful memories of pomegranates and more so of my Nanni.
The season for Pomegranates runs from September to February. They grow on shrubs or small trees and are considered a berry. The seeds are edible and can vary from 200 to about 1400 seeds in each depending on the size. Italians love them and consider them “Royal” fruit because they appear so much in Renaissance paintings. Pomegranates were also thought to be the “apple” that Eve plucked in the Garden of Eden. Many cultures have used the pomegranates throughout the world for symbols, health benefits, and religious reasons.

Nutritional benefits of eating a pomegranate include vitamin C, vitamin B5, potassium, fiber, flavonoids, unsaturated oil, and micronutrients. The rind of the fruit and the bark of the pomegranate tree are used as a remedy against diarrhea and dysentery. The seeds and juice are considered a tonic for the heart and throat. The astringent qualities are also good for a variety of purposes from stopping nose bleeds to skin aliments.

This sweet, juicy, and ruby red exotic fruit can be intimidating to anyone that has not tasted it before. However, opening a pomegranate and removing the juicy red seeds (actually arils) is quite simple. With a sharp knife, cut off the crown top of the pomegranate. Make a spiral cut in the skin around the fruit. Holding with both hands, pull the pomegranate apart to break into half, then into quarters. Invert each quarter by pushing the skin with your thumbs to let the seed fall out. There still may be remaining seeds, take them out with your fingers. You should be able to get 1 cup of seeds. Remove any white pith as they are bitter in taste.

You can use pomegranate seeds and juice for a number of recipes, from adding them to warm or cold soups or to creating scrumptious desserts. My recipe this week is called “Winter Salad with Pears and Pomegranate Seeds”. Hope that you enjoy!

Winter Salad with Pears and Pomegranate Seeds

Depending on how many people you are serving will determine how much salad greens you need. So, I am giving you just the names of the ingredients. You can decide on how much you need.

Ken’s Steak House Lite Raspberry Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing
Red Bartlett Pears (ripe) cored and cut into thin slices
1 Pomegranate (seeds)
Toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts
Combination of salad greens:
Baby Spinach, Romaine, Red Leaf, Endive, Radicchio, Boston or Bib Leaf, Arugula, Frisee, and Iceberg Lettuce
Cucumber slices (thin)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Wash and clean all salad greens, then pat dry. Tear the greens gently and place in a big bowl. Add the cucumber slices and then pour on the Raspberry Pomegranate Vinaigrette. Gently toss to coat. Salt and Pepper to taste. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts. Place salad on a plate or in a bowl and then add your Red Pear slices on top of the dressed greens. Beautiful, colorful, and delicious too!

Till Next Time………………………

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