twitter24x24square facebook24x24square youtube24x24square pinterest24x24square instagram24x24square

Archive for November, 2011

Pistachio Savory and Sweet Recipes

Chicken Biryiani Recipe

About.com Chicken From Maryland to Kiev by Clare Ferguson (Ryland Peters & Small)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 65 minutes


  • 1 (3-pound) chicken, quartered
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 green serrano (medium-hot) chile, seeded and chopped
  • 3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea-salt flakes
  • 2 onions
  • 6 Tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1-1/4 cups basmati rice
  • 20 green cardamom pods
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, blanched and skinned
  • 1/2 cup dried mango pieces, raisins or sultanas
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon saffron powder or 2 pinches saffron threads, crushed
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Place chicken, stock, chile, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in a large, heavy saucepan or flameproof casserole. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until fairly tender. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.  Pour cooking liquid into a measuring cup and add water if necessary to make 2-1/2 cups.

Quarter onions, then separate into petal-like layers. Add ghee to saucepan and heat until melted. Add onion and fry until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a small plate.  Add rice, cardamom pods, and cloves to pan;  stir-fry 2 minutes or until rice is browned slightly.

Return chicken to pan; add almonds, pistachios, mango, coriander, cumin, and garlic. Sprinkle saffron into mixture and cook 2 minutes.  Return stock and onions to pan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook, undisturbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Rice should be tender and the liquid completely absorbed. Sprinkle cilantro on top.


Almond Pistachio Saffron Curry Sauce Recipe

About.com Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Use this sauce on grilled meat or chicken or simmer your favorite meatballs in it.


  • 1/2 cup raw unblanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup shelled, unsalted raw pistachio nuts
  • 2 Tbsp butter or mild vegetable oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp mace
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 green cardamom pods, husked, and ground
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads, soaked in 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 tsp salt, or to taste


Heat a heavy 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and pistachios and cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Let cool 5 minutes. Place in a food processor or heavy-duty blender and process until nuts are powdered. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Saute sweet onion until lightly browned. Add coriander, mace, white pepper, cardamom, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. Cook about 1 minute, until fragrant. Continuing to stir, add saffron, cream, salt, and powdered nuts and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Makes enough sauce for about 1-1/2 pounds of grilled meat or chicken breasts. Or simmer your favorite meatball recipe in the sauce for 15 minutes.

Yield: 2-1/2 cups sauce


Pistachio and Almond Cake with Orange Salad

Epicurious | January 2009

by Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren


• 1 1/3 cups unsalted shelled pistachio nuts
• 1 1/3 cups blanched whole almonds
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
• 3 lemons
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3 eggs
• 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour or all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

• 3 blood oranges
• 2 Valencia, navel, or blood oranges
• 1/4 cup orange marmalade
• 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
• Unsalted shelled pistachio nuts

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 300°F. Butter a 4-by-8-inch loaf pan. Then, using a sifter or a fine-mesh strainer, dust it with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a food process, combine the pistachios and almonds and pulse until finely ground. Set aside. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Grate the zest from the lemons directly into the bowl. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy. Mix in the vanilla just until incorporated. On low speed, gradually add the nuts and mix just until incorporated. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Stir in the flour and salt and mix just until incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, run a paring knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake sides, invert the cake onto a plate, and lift off the pan. At this point, the cake can be served warm or allowed to cool completely before being sliced and reheated.

To make the orange salad, cut a slice off the top and bottom of 1 orange, stand the orange upright, and cut downward to remove the rind and pith in thick strips. Cut the orange crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, capturing any juice. Repeat with all of the remaining oranges. Set the oranges slices aside until needed.

Gently heat the marmalade in a pot over low heat for about 3 minutes, or until syrupy. Add any captured orange juice along with the lemon juice to the marmalade. Remove the pot from the heat and add 1 to 2 tablespoons water to think the marmalade to the consistency of a vinaigrette. Let cool.

To serve, preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the cake into generous slices and place on a baking sheet. Bake the slices, turning them over once, for about 5 minutes, or until warm and slightly toasted on both sides.  Place 4 or 5 orange slices on each plate and drizzle generously with the marmalade syrup. Place the warm pieces of cake next to the orange slices and top with a dollop of yogurt and a few pistachios. Serve immediately.


Ever wonder why pistachios already have a split in the hull when you buy them at the store?  This is a natural phenomenon that occurs during the growing season.  It takes 7-10 years for Pistachio orchards to have a full harvest and the nut clusters are grown on smaller trees to make it easier to harvest.  The trees bloom in April and soon after a green fleshy shell starts to form around the nut shell which will harden by early July. Only then will the nutmeat start to grow until it cracks the shell open.  No human hands touch the pistachios during harvest which begins in early September and can go through late October.  The tree is shaken and the falling nuts are collected on canvas covered catch frames or tarps to be dried and de-hulled.  The husks are really wet when they come off the tree and it takes less than 24 hours to dry out most of the moisture.  The husks will now come off very easy and need to be taken off within 48 hours of picking so the shells don’t stain or mold.  Pistachios were once dyed red to hide stains and to make them stand out in vending machines.

Pistachios are one of the oldest flowering fruits, at least 9000 years, and traveled from the Middle East through the Mediterranean to the US in 1854 although they were not commercially grown until 1976.  Pistachios are primarily grown in California, New Mexico and Arizona where the growing season is hot and dry with daytime temperatures of 100 degrees or higher, there are cooler nights in the winter with at least 800 chill hours of below 45 F, and rainfall is almost non-existent between May and October.  Almost all California pistachios are grown in the southern San Joaquin Valley in Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties with a small amount being grown in Paso Robles and the Sacramento Valley.  California produces over 300 million pounds of pistachios each year, almost 98% of all domestically grown Pistachio’s.

Pistachios are naturally trans-fat free and cholesterol free, full of fiber and antioxidants and an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper and manganese.  They don’t do well if you leave them out in a dish because they absorb moisture easily.  It is best to keep them in a sealed container or they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a year.   Pistachios make a great snack for that holiday get together!

Pistachios are also good in both savory and sweet recipes such as Chicken Biryiani, Almond Pistachio Saffron Curry to put over grilled meat or try in a Pistachio and Almond Cake with Orange Salad. 



Colorful mandarins start in November and carry through spring as the many different varieties come to maturity.  Some of these include Satsumas, Clementines, Gold Nuggets, Pixies, Page, Lee, Kara and many more. The name tangerine has no botanical basis but was most likely developed as a marketing term for brightly colored mandarins.

Satsumas, also called mikans, are a Japanese variety brought to the US in 1878.  Tangerines were first shipped in 1841 from the port of Tangiers off the coast of Morocco.  Clementines have a thin tight peel and you will often find seeds inside.  The biggest difference between all mandarins is that Satsumas have a loose peel that slips off effortlessly like a glove, with no mess and no seeds to deal with.  Satsumas are a perfect snack size that you can eat anywhere without the difficult peeling and complication that comes with eating a valencia or navel orange.  They have the perfect mix of sweetness, tartness and low acidity, with very little pulp, no seeds and taste like they are melting in your mouth. 

Most citrus fruits originated in China and then made their way west which is where the word mandarin comes from.  In the United States Satsumas are grown in places where you wouldn’t normally expect citrus to grow. They need hot summers and a certain amount of chill hours in the winter and can tolerate low temperatures down into the 20’s.  Satsumas are grown in California in the thermal belt which runs from the San Joaquin Valley up to north of Sacramento.  They also grow in some southern states like Texas, Lousiana and Alabama where there are mild winters.

Look for mandarins with an aromatic smell, firm tight peel, no dented spots and a heavier fruit means they are juicier. They can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator, but not for too long because prolonged storage can dry them out.  

A 2008 U.S. Department of Agriculture study said Satsumas have six to seven times as much synephrine, a natural decongestant, as other citrus. Four or five Satsumas have enough synephrine to equal the effect of a Sudafed tablet, the study said. Satsumas are also naturally low in calories and a single fruit contains 34 percent of the USDA daily recommendation for vitamin C.

Mandarins are delicious, easy to eat and will help keep you healthy this winter season. Once you start snacking you won’t be able to stop.

California Kiwi’s are here!

California Kiwifruit season from October to May is just getting started, while New Zealand located in the Southern Hemisphere with opposite seasons is winding down their Kiwifruit season with the start of their summer.   Kiwifruit originally came from China to New Zealand and were called Gooseberries.  In 1967 the Hayward Kiwi variety which is larger and sweeter, began to be grown commercially in California.  Now California produces 98% of all Kiwifruit grown in the US with growers in the Central Valley up through the San Joaquin Valley and ending north of Sacramento.

Like the Kiwi Berries, Kiwifruit are grown in orchards on trellis’s and need a lot of water, sunshine and a certain amount of chill hours for a fruitful harvest.  The kiwi is a small oval fruit covered in brown fuzz with a surprise burst of flavor inside.  The green flesh is dotted with black seeds with flavors of melon, strawberry and banana but uniquely sweet all at the same time.  Kiwifruit should be allowed to ripen like an avocado on your counter and will yield to gentle pressure when ripe.  Unripe kiwi’s will have an acidic taste and are not palatable.  Once they are ripe you can store them in the refrigerator for up to 7-10 days. 

Kiwifruit are low in calories and are full of Vitamin C to boost your immune system, fiber for a healthy heart, potassium for releasing energy during exercise, antioxidants to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease and Vitamin E to help lower cholesterol and boost immunity.

Kiwifruit won’t be as sweet at the very beginning of the season as the fruit picked later in the season.  The quality of the California Kiwifruit is predicted to be outstanding this year so start looking for them now.  Put slices of kiwi’s on top of pancakes or oatmeal, mix them in a spinach salad , use as a marinade for meat or the easiest way of all to eat your kiwi is to cut it in half and scoop out the insides with a spoon. Try a new way to eat a kiwi.
Click here for recipes.

Kiwifruit Recipes

Brie with Kiwi- Delicious appetizer for your holiday party

California Kiwi Commission

  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons currants
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice, ground
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 kiwifruit, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pecan pieces
  • 1 small wheel of brie cheese

Place the cranberries, currants,brown sugar, cloves, ginger root, allspice, mustard and water in a medium saucepan. Cook gently over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer the mixture until the cranberries swell and the liquid thickens into a jam like consistency, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. When cool, stir in the chopped kiwi and pecan pieces.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the whole brie on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Spread with the cooled kiwi-cranberry marmalade over the top of the brie to coat the edges evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the brie round swells. Remove from the oven and gently slide the brie onto a cheese board or plate.

Serve immediately with crackers. Serves approximately 12

Southwestern Seafood Ceviche

– Recipe courtesy of Chef Stephen Barry


  • 1/2 lb prawn meat, raw, diced
  • 1/2 lb salmon, raw, diced
  • 1/2 lb scallops, raw, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 sweet bell pepper (red, yellow or orange), diced
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 chile pepper, crushed
  • 2 cups fresh lime juice
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 4  Kiwifruit, diced
  • 2 limes, segmented
  • 1 orange, segmented
  • tortilla chips (to serve)


Poach the diced prawn meat for two minutes; then, drain and cool. In a large non-reactive bowl, combine the prawn meat, salmon, scallops, white fish, red onion, peppers, tomatoes, chili and lime juice. Marinate seafood mixture in the refrigerator for 2½ to 3 hours. Just before serving, drain off the excess lime juice and add cilantro, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Carefully add the kiwifruit, oranges and lime segments. Serve on crisp tortilla shells.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 3 hours
Makes: 4-6 servings

Lambchops with Kiwi Fruit


  • 1 Kiwifruit peeled and crushed
  • 1 Kiwifruit peeled and sliced
  • 2 Lamb chops around 1” thick
  • 1/2-cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4-cup Fresh oregano leaves chopped (or 1 tbsp. dried oregano)
  • Cloves garlic minced

In a marinade (plastic or glass) container place lamb chops on the bottom sprinkle with a oregano, garlic and cover with olive oil. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours (overnight for optimal results). Remove from refrigerator and cover with crushed kiwifruit let stand for 10 minutes.

Barbeque lamb chops 13-15 minutes a side (turning once)on semi-direct heat. Garnish with Kiwifruit slices serve immediately.



Follow us ...

twitter24x24square facebook24x24square youtube24x24square pinterest24x24square instagram24x24square