There are thousands of varieties of plums which can range in color from
green to red to deep purple to almost black. Available from June through
late October plums are often the forgotten fruit of the summer. As readily
available as grapes, peaches and nectarines they seem to be relegated to
the bottom of the fruit baskets or left to turn into prunes (OK, if I’m
going to be politically corrected and follow the plum boards new
advertising campaign, they are no longer called prunes but rather dried
Plums are a good source of vitamin A, potassium and fiber. You should look for
unwrinkled, smooth-skinned fruits without blemishes. They should be free
of soft spots and discolorations. Look for plums that, like other stone
fruits, give gently to light pressure, and avoid those that are either too
hard or too soft. If your plums seem a little hard leave them at room
temperature for a few days to soften up, but unlike other fruits, they
will not actually ripen further (develop more sugar) like other fruits.
You can refrigerate ripe plums in a plastic bag and use within a week.
This column is my wake up call to all you fruit fanatics looking for
something new. Try a fresh plum!
OATMEAL, ALMOND, PEAR AND PLUM CRISP (pareve)
Studies from Northwestern University and the University of Kentucky
indicate that fiber-rich bran from oatmeal can actually reduce cholesterol
levels in the blood.
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
3 medium pears, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
3 large plums, halved, pitted, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350. In bowl combine the oats, brown sugar and flour.
Add the oil and mix with fork until coarse crumbs form. Mix in the almonds
and set it aside. In a 10-inch-diameter glass pie dish combine the pears,
and plums. Sprinkle sugar, lemon juice and nutmeg over the top of the
fruit. Sprinkle the oat crumb mixture over the top of the fruit. Bake
until fruit is tender and topping is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool
CHINESE PLUM SAUCE (pareve)
1 pound plums halved and pitted
1 pound apricots halved and pitted
1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped ginger
1 small onion sliced
1 (or more) Serrano chili seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon mustard seed toasted
1 cinnamon stick
In a sauce pan combine he plums, apricots, 1 1/4 cup cider vinegar and
3/4 cup water. Cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. In a
separate pan, combine the 1 cup cider vinegar, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup
white sugar and lemon juice, ginger, onion chili and garlic and boil for
10 minutes. Combine the two mixtures and add the salt, mustard and
cinnamon. Simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and let the
mixture cool for about 10 minutes. Puree the sauce in food processor.
Return it to the saucepan and simmer until thick. Remove from the heat and
let cool to room temp. Place the sauce in a covered container and
refrigerate until you’re ready to use it. Makes 4 cups.
PLUM STREUSEL CAKE (pareve or dairy)
1 teaspoon each baking soda and baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup buttermilk, sour milk* or non dairy substitute
2 cups halved Washington Italian prunes or plums
1/3 cup flour,
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 tablespoons margarine
Ground cinnamon to sprinkle
Preheat oven to 350. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the
sugar and margarine until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla; mix well. In
another bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and
salt. Add the dry ingredients and milk on non dairy alternative
alternately to the creamed mixture. Mix well. Pour the batter into a
greased and floured 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Arrange fruit cut-side up on
dough. Sprinkle the top of the cake and fruit with the streusel topping
and some cinnamon. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted
near center comes out clean. Makes 12 servings.
Streusel Topping: using a fork. Cut in 2 tablespoons margarine until
*To make sour milk: Add 1/2 teaspoon vinegar to 2/3 cup plain milk; let
stand 5 minutes.
ASIAN FRUIT SLAW (pareve)
This is a simple different and delicious alternative to tossed greens.
A Note about Cabbage
Detach the loose leaves (“wrapper leaves”) and discard.
2. Core the cabbage and split the head in half, allowing
the leaves to be peeled away more easily.
Peel the three outermost layers (approximately six
leaves, not including wrapper leaves) off the head.
4. Carefully check these six leaves. The most practical
way to check is to hold the leaf above direct light.
Because the leaf is translucent and the bugs are not,
the bugs are accentuated and easily detected. Check both
sides of each leaf.
no insects are found on these six leaves, then they and
the remaining leaves of the head may be used without
further checking. It is recommended that the remaining
leaves be washed before use.
6. If three or more insects are found on the first six
leaves, the remaining leaves must be thoroughly washed
and checked prior to use.
For the dressing:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
For the slaw:
1 medium head Napa cabbage*, sliced thin
1 cup red cabbage, sliced thin
3 plums (or 2 peaches or nectarines), rinsed and sliced into thin
1/2 cup green onions, sliced diagonally
1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped or broken
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup candied ginger, slivered fine
Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar with a tight
fitting lid. Shake well to combine. Combine all the ingredients for the
slaw in a salad bowl and mix to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the top
of the slaw and mix to combine. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
* Also known as Chinese cabbage.
PLUM CHICKEN (meat)
1 pound plums, pitted and cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons margarine
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup prepared tomato based chili sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken
Preheat oven to 350. In a blender or food processor, process the plums
and water and sugar until pureed. Melt margarine in a wide skillet over
medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft. Stir in the plum puree, brown
sugar, chili sauce, soy sauce, ginger and lemon juice. Cook, uncovered,
stirring often until slightly thickened. About 15 minutes. Sprinkle the
chicken with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken in a lightly greased
baking pan. Brush a little of the plum sauce over the top. Bake,
uncovered, for 30 minutes, basting with plum sauce every 15 minutes. Turn
the chicken over and bake, basting occasionally, for 30 more minutes. Heat
the remaining sauce and serve it with the chicken. Serves 6. This recipe
can be doubled or tripled and made on the grill.
Eileen Goltz, a
professional chef and caterer, is the author of the new cookbook,
© Eileen Goltz 2004