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Creative fruit cooking recipes

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juicy apples
Tart, sweet apples pair well with savory, salty foods.
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Cooking with fruit allows you to be creative, experimental and health-conscious.

When most people think about fruit cooking recipes, they often go for pies, cakes and other types of desserts. However, some of the most complex tastes and textures can be found when you pair fruit with a savory item. In addition, making traditional food by using fruit that isn't so common adds a gourmet touch to your menu. Implement excitement and adventure by playing around with creative ideas for cooking with fruit.

The rhubarb is a tasty, yet often underused fruit that is bright in both color and taste. While rhubarb is, admittedly, not very popular, it adds an often unexpected flair to cuisine. Surprise your guests--and taste buds--by whipping up one of many creative fruit cooking recipes: an easy rhubarb mousse.

Turn one pint of unsweetened, heavy cream into whipped cream by mixing on high until the cream forms fairly stiff peaks, or to your desired consistency. Cut four cups of rhubarb into two-inch pieces and place in a pot, along with 1/2- to 3/4-cup sugar and 1/2-cup of water. Cover your pot and cook on low for six to eight hours. When the rhubarb is nice and tender, turn off the heat and add two tbsp. of butter and 1/2-tsp. of vanilla. Drain the water from the mixture and stir the cooked rhubarb into the whipped cream. Place this creamy treat into a serving bowl and let it chill in the freezer for a few minutes before serving.

Creative ideas for cooking with fruit are everywhere, you just have to open your mind and know where to look. A good place to start is at your local farmer's market or grocer. Let the colors and shapes of the food take your imagination to places it has never been. For instance, consider combining fruit with seafood to make a tasty ceviche.

Ceviche is basically fresh, raw seafood that is cooked by the juice of citrus fruit, with herbs and perhaps other vegetables thrown in. For a surprise, try adding pieces of sliced mango or firm melon. Bright, complex tastes will cover your palate, awaken your senses and expand your mind. While perhaps not for the faint of heart, ceviche is a delicacy that many cultures have their own variation of.

A simple and perhaps, beginner's version of ceviche is made by combining two lbs. of cubed tilapia fillets with one tsp. salt; 1/2-tsp. black pepper; two tsp. of chopped, fresh cilantro; eight to ten chopped garlic cloves; one seeded and chopped habanero pepper and the juice of eight to 12 limes. Mix all of the ingredients together, place one thinly sliced red onion on top and let it marinate in the fridge for two to three hours. During this time, the acid from the lemon juice will cook the fish, infusing it will a bright, citrus taste. Stir in a firm-fleshed tropical fruit, like mango or melon at the last minute. Eat the ceviche as is, or serve it next to a salad made of lettuce, avocado (another fruit) or other cold vegetables.

The tartness and sweetness of fruit pairs well with a savory, salty taste. For this reason, apples and sausage are a match made in culinary heaven, whether its winter or fall when you need a warm, soul-satisfying meal or spring or summer when the taste of savory fruit is calling your name. A great number of creative fruit cooking recipes combine apples or pears with meat. Apples and sausage are the basis of a traditional Thanksgiving dressing. Porkchops and applesauce are comfort food. Pineapple and ham is a classic combination.

To make sausage and apples, simply whisk 1/3-cup of apple juice in a small bowl with one tbsp. of Dijon-style mustard and one tbsp. cider vinegar. In a large skillet, heat one tsp. of vegetable oil over medium heat and add one lb. of turkey kielbasa, sliced 1/3-inch thick, along with one cup of sliced onion. Stir and cook for about five minutes, then add two sliced and cored medium red apples and cook for another five minutes. Add one cup of pitted, dried plums and the apple juice mixture, and let it simmer away for about ten minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy. Add a bit of cabbage or sauerkraut for the ultimate savory-sweet feast.

Once you have discovered a few creative ideas for cooking with fruit, you will likely try to incorporate nature's candy into all of your dishes.

Just Slow Cooking: Quick Rhubarb Mousse
Recipe Zaar: Simple Peruvian Ceviche
The Food Reference Website: Savory Fruit Sausage Sautee

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