Fresh pineapple: inexpensive and in season

As Fortune family legend goes, when my mother was pregnant with me, she craved pineapple like mad. Personally, knowing my mother’s penchant for pineapple in general, I have my suspicions that this was less a craving than a very convenient and plausible excuse for eating one of her favorite foods in abundance – but either way, I can’t blame her for it. I too share her adoration for pineapple, in spite of the horrible way it makes my tongue feel when I overindulge, though I can’t say whether I was conditioned for it in utero, or just share her good taste in fresh fruit.

I know what you’re thinking: Pineapple is tropical, and therefore hardly a Maine fruit! It is, however, in season and therefore inexpensive right now, and what are we Mainers if not a frugal sort? We love a bargain, and at about two bucks a pop wherever you go right now, it’s silly not to pick up a pineapple or two if you enjoy it. I find that its sunny, tangy-sweet flavor makes the promise of summer feel just a little more real, whether stirred into a savory dish like chicken curry, or a sweet dessert like tapioca pudding.

I usually serve my curry with white rice, but somehow our open bag of rice got lost in the shuffle of our move, and rather than expend the energy to locate it, I grabbed my canister of quinoa instead. It was a nice change in texture, but ultimately I found I missed my rice.

Ian and I both love tapioca pudding, but because it requires forethought in the form of soaking the pearls in advance (or using instant) it rarely happens in my kitchen. In fact, I think this is the first time I’ve made it for Ian, because he couldn’t stop raving about it. He even had a bowl for breakfast! I have followed and enjoyed Alton Brown’s slow-cooker method in the past, but it requires cooking for two hours, and I dawdled too long, so I had to alter the process quite a bit in order to actually get it made before bedtime.

pineapplecurry

Pineapple Mango Chicken Curry

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cubed
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can diced potatoes, drained
  • 1 can sliced carrots, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped

In a wok or deep skillet, combine raw chicken, coconut milk and seasonings (garlic, ginger and curry powders.) Bring to a simmer and cook until chicken is firm and no longer raw. Add diced pepper and canned vegetables and stir well to coat. Cook until coconut milk thickens, and add mango, pineapple and scallions. Serve over cooked rice or quinoa.

pineappletapioca

Ginger Tapioca Pudding with Caramelized Pineapple

  • 1/2 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped

Soak tapioca pearls overnight in two cups of water, and drain when ready to prepare. In a saucepan, whisk together half & half, yolks, vanilla and ginger over low heat until well combined. Add tapioca pearls, combine well and turn up heat; continue to stir until mixture has thickened and pearls are translucent. Place in a container, cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin, and refrigerate 2 hours or more. In a skillet, melt butter and brown sugar; add pineapple and cook until pineapple has softened and browned. Serve on top of or mixed into pudding.

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Fia Fortune

About Fia Fortune

Fia Fortune is a home cook who enjoys gardening, creating recipes for her two blogs, cooking for herself and her boyfriend, and trying to keep up with their blended family of four cats.