Tag Archives: pineapple

Bar Stool Fridays – Easy Does It Smoothie

Avocados can be used for so much more than just guacamole.  Not that I don’t enjoy guacamole – I just don’t like to limit my enjoyment of avocados to merely being scooped up by tortilla chips.

Did you know that the avocado is considered a fruit, not a vegetable?  Many cultures serve avocados for dessert adding sugar to the fruit.  This is not something I eat all the time because I do like avocados with my savory foods, but I encourage you to keep an open mind.  I’ve enjoyed avocado ice cream and find it a delicious addition to fruit salads, however, I understand that it can be a big taste transition to someone who’s only served avocados with their tacos.

Here’s an easy way to combine a sweet taste with your avocado by adding pineapple and orange juice.  Besides, this recipe entails little risk since it just uses one avocado and is a smoothie so it is easy to share with fellow adventurous taster.  Sweet, creamy, and healthy!

Avocado Smoothie
Makes 1 large smoothie

1 small ripe avocado (pitted and removed from peel)
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 – 3/4 cup orange juice
1  – 2 Tbsp agave syrup

Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth.  Adjust the amounts of  juice and agave syrup depending on your preference for taste and texture.

Pour into glass and serve right away.

Tips for selecting fresh avocados:

The best way to tell if an avocado is ready for immediate use is to gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand.  Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit is firm yet yields slightly to gentle pressure.  The color doesn’t tell you enough about ripeness – the Hass avocado will turn darker as it ripens, but other varieties remain light-green even when ripe.  Avoid avocados with dark blemishes on the skin (like many in the above picture) or overly soft flesh.

If you don’t want to serve avocados for a couple of days, purchase hard, unripened fruit.  I find that leaving the avocados on my kitchen counter is adequate for ripening, but some folks swear by the process of putting the fruit in a paper bag and adding an apple or banana to help it ripen faster.

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Live Like An Islander

Well, maybe just a little bit.  So, we can’t all live on the Hawaiian islands, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some fresh pineapple.  Especially, this time of the year (March – July) when pineapples are at their peak.

What’s holding you back?  Not sure how to pick a ripe one?  Don’t know how to cut it?  Do you buy this?

Instead of this?

I find the fruit tastes so much better when I pick it out and cut it myself, and I think you will, too.  Yes, I know it isn’t as good as freshly picked in a tropical location, but I can settle for a tasty second best if you can.

How to choose?  Look for the largest and plumpest ones with crisp, dark green leaves.  It should be firm to a gentle press and only yield slightly.  If you have a good nose, you should be able to get a faint, pleasant pineapple aroma at the base of the fruit when it is ripe.  Avoid pineapples that are overly soft, wrinkled, cracked, or have yellow or brown leaves.  Don’t believe folks who tell you that a pineapple is ripe when a leaf can be removed from the crown easily – it is often a sign the fruit is rotten.

Once you’ve gotten the fruit home, you need to cut it for eating.

I use a large knife and a cutting board.  Place the fruit on its side and slice off the lid and the base.

Stand the fruit upright again, and slice down the the side from top to bottom to remove the rough skin.  Try to leave as much of the sweet flesh as possible.  I trim off any remaining eye spots (those brown areas) as I go.

Once all the skin is removed, I lay the fruit on its side again in order to cut the pineapple into slices.

We most often enjoy fresh pineapple as is – I don’t add it to recipes.  Because of that, I just cut it into bite-size wedges, so I cut each slice in half.

Then, I trim out any remaining brown eye holes and remove the core from each half.

I further cut each half into smaller pieces.

Your cut pineapple should be stored in an airtight container (I just use a big zip-top bag) in the refrigerator for no more than 3 days.

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Bar Stool Fridays – Hurricane Irene

Dear Irene,

Please play  nice.  You see, we here on the East Coast really don’t need your rain and wind.  Wouldn’t you rather become a mild little thunderstorm and bring some much needed rain to Texas?  I think that drought-stricken state would be very grateful to you as a tropical storm.  It is pretty simple to get there.  Turn left and go due west, just past Louisiana.  You can’t miss it.

Thanks for considering my request.

Sincerely,
Cook in a Bar

My thoughts and good wishes are with the folks along North Carolina’s Outer Banks and Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  I hope Irene isn’t too harsh on you and your homes.

Please understand that I’m not advocating hunkering down and drinking away your sorrows like some old-timers used to do in locales like New Orleans.  I am, however, suggesting that everyone think about the people who will be impacted by the storm this weekend.  And, if it suits you, drink to their good health and fortune.

You might even consider making this drink – my version of a hurricane.  So, the original drink often calls for passion fruit juice or at least maraschino cherry juice to give the drink a pinkish hue..  No luck finding passion-fruit juice in local grocery stores that are being cleaned out in preparation for the storm.  But, as everyone should do in times of emergency, I got creative.  Luckily, I had a pitcher of watermelon agua fresca that I knew would add a bit of red color and a tropical flavor.  I suppose you could use another red juice (cranberry?  kool-aid?), if you prefer.

Hurricane Irene
Makes 1 drink

1 ounce dark rum
1 ounce light rum
1 ounce watermelon agua fresca
2 ounces orange juice
1 ounce lime juice
1 ounce pineapple juice
dash of Angostura bitters

Add all ingredients to an ice-filled shaker and shake vigorously.  Strain into a crushed ice-filled goblet or wine glass.

I wish everyone a safe and dry weekend.

 

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Bar Stool Fridays – Infused Vodkas

I think most commercially flavored vodka tastes like chemicals.  I don’t like it at all.  I do like the concept, however.

So I decided we should just make our own flavored vodka by infusing it with fresh fruit.  We made two different batches – one with lemons and limes and the other with fresh pineapple.  They both turned out beautifully and couldn’t be easier.

You just need fresh fruit, vegetables, or herbs, vodka, a glass container, and time.  You may be tempted to use cheap vodka, but don’t – you’ll be disappointed.  Use a vodka that you don’t mind drinking.  You can also use another kind of spirit, too – be creative.

Lemon Lime Vodka
Makes one 750-mL bottle

3 – 5 limes, thinly sliced
3 – 5 lemons, thinly sliced
1 bottle vodka (750 mL)

Layer the citrus fruit along the bottom of a large glass container.

Pour in vodka.

Cover and store in a cool dark place for 4 to 6 weeks.  Take a sample taste after a month and then try the spirit once a week until it reaches the appropriate flavor.

The citrus oils can be very strong tasting.  You may want to filter the vodka when you bottle it.

Discard the used fruit – all the flavor has been steeped out by the vodka.

My brother and his friend enjoyed this vodka so much on ice that they drank it before I had time to make a cocktail with it.

Pineapple Vodka
Makes one 750 mL bottle

1/2 to whole fresh pineapple
1 bottle vodka (750 mL)

Peel and dice the pineapple.  You can use one-half to a whole pineapple.

Arrange in the bottom of a glass container.

Pour vodka on top.

Cover and store in a cool dark place for 4 to 6 weeks.  Take a sample taste after a month and then try the spirit once a week until it reaches the appropriate flavor.

Once you are ready to bottle, discard the used fruit.

New Orleans is hosting Tales of the Cocktail festival this weekend.  I wish I was there.  Instead, I made a cocktail like something I might sip there.

Tales of the Pineapple
Makes 1 drink

2 oz pineapple vodka
2 oz spiced rum
2 oz pineapple juice
2 oz mango nectar or juice
2 oz orange juice

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker.  Shake well.

Serve over crushed ice with a pineapple slice garnish.  Goes well with sunshine and good company.

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