Fettuccine Carbonara Alfredo and Banana Loaf Cake-A A +A
By Artie Sy
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
ONE of the nicest and healthiest things to eat are raisins. Yes, simple old raisins and yet, they are so under rated, and as a food, thought of as a decoration and garnish.
This is due maybe, except for very small patches of land, especially in the Ilocos, we are not a grape producing country. We hardly know about the making of and the nutritional value of raisins, and the various varieties of raisins. There is often great confusion on the difference between these dried fruits when used in cookery.
The three most popular being called raisins, sultanas and currants. We usually see these ingredients in a great many of dessert recipes, and to many cooks, are a bit confusing. To define, raisins are dried white grapes, and they are dried to produce a dark, sweet fruit, and the grapes used are usually of the moscatel variety.
Also, we have sultanas, which are also dried white grapes, the difference being that sultanas are made from the seedless varieties, they are golden in color and tend to be plumper, sweeter and juicier that the seeded varieties. They are referred to as Golden Raisins in non-European countries. Then, we have currants that are dried, dark red and seedless grapes. They are dried to produce a practically black, small, shriveled and flavor-packed fruit and were originally cultivated in the south of Greece. The name currant comes from the ancient city of Corinth.
Today, most of the raisins we consume are produced in California, but they're also produced in Turkey, China, Chile, South Africa, Iran, Greece, Uzbekistan and Australia. Raisins are made by harvesting grapes and allowing them to dry in the sun for two to three weeks, or by placing them in special dehydration tunnels for about 24 hours.
Raisins contain some vitamins and minerals, plus they contain very little fat. Since they're dehydrated, they're an energy-dense source of carbohydrates. Raisins also contain quercetin, a type of polyphenol that acts as an antioxidant that protects the cells in your body from free radical damage. Dehydration doesn't change the nutritional value much - raisins retain most of the nutritional value of grapes, except for the loss of water. If you need to compare nutritional values of grapes and raisins, remember that dried fruits take up less space, so they're going to have more calories and nutrients by volume even though one grape has the same nutritional value as one raisin.
Nutrients per one-quarter cup of regular raisins:
28.7 grams carbohydrate
1.3 grams fiber
18 milligrams calcium
0.68 milligram iron
12 milligrams magnesium
272 milligrams potassium and many more
Think all of that for your child and family rather than junk food.
A very popular dessert, bread pudding, can be made in a jiffy, and once you make, you will never buy anymore, as you will learn that the store bought puddings are a pale and so anemic a version you will forever shun it. Realize that you can just make a pudding without much ado and have the real thing.
The following makes a very tasty pudding:
• 2 eggs
• 2 cups scalded milk or you can use powdered milk, in 2 cups of water
• 1/4 cup butter, cubed
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 4-1/2 to 5 cups soft bread cubes (about
• a medium sized loaf.) Use all, including the ends
• a cup raisins, (plumped up in a half cup of boiling water)
VANILLA SAUCE: Serve with the pudding.
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1-2/3 cups cold water
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Combine milk and butter; add to eggs along with sugar, spices and vanilla. Add bread cubes and raisins stir gently. Pour into a well-greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 in. from edge comes out clean. Meanwhile, for sauce, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Stir in water until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, vanilla and nutmeg. Serve with warm pudding. Yield: 6 servings.
For a savory dish, raisins can be added to a curried dish, to give the dish a touch of Kashmir. How to do?? Simply make your regular curry of chicken or shrimps, and just before serving, add half to cup and a half of dark raisins. This will cause a counterpoint to the spicyness of the curry and add a new dimension and mystique to your dish. You can add a cupful of raisins to your peccadillo (ground pork or chicken, cubed potatoes, carrots and garvanzo beans. You may also add plumped up raisins to Caesar's salad and to raisin sauce for tongue and chicken.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 06, 2013.