When I think of apricots (or see, eat or smell them), I am transported back to my childhood years when part of summer vacation meant picking, cutting and sorting the apricots grown on my grandparents' ranch in Gilroy. To me, the ones in the stores are like something from another planet because the flavor is so far off as compared to homegrown ones. But I recently was treated to some "ranch cots" thanks to my sister's generosity.
Try looking for good apricots at farmers markets or fruit stands. I am writing this from Gilroy and every day I am lured to the big bag of dried apricots she gave me. Since apricots are on my mind, I thought I'd go ahead and feature that delicious fruit in this week's recipes, using fresh and dried apricots. Two recipes require baking, but, if you start early enough in the day it is not so bad. Hope you see something you like.
Adapted from a recipe courtesy of The Food Network.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds chicken tenderloins, cut in 1/2 across on an angle
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons cider or white wine vinegar
- 12 dried pitted apricots, chopped
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup apricot all fruit spread or apricot preserves
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish
- Heat a large skillet with a lid over medium high heat. Add oil and chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Lightly brown the chicken a few minutes on each side, add onions. Cook about 6 minutes.
- Add vinegar to pan and let it evaporate. Add dried apricots and chicken stock. When stock comes to a bubble, add preserves and stir to combine.
- Cover pan, reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle some chopped parsley over the chicken just before serving. Makes 6 servings.
Apricot blueberry muffins
- 4 fresh apricots, peeled, pitted, and diced, about 1 cup
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Dash ground nutmeg
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 375. Toss diced apricots and blueberries with lemon juice. Set aside. Grease and flour 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk together butter, milk and egg. Stir milk mixture into the dry ingredients and blend just until moistened. Fold in the fruit mixture. Spoon batter into muffin cups.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for about 3 minutes in pan then remove to cool completely. Makes 12 muffins.
Apricot nut bread
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour one 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Pour boiling water over apricots; let stand 15 minutes.
- Mix together flour, baking powder and salt. In another mixing bowl, blend butter, sugar, eggs and corn syrup; mix until smooth and well blended. Stir in chopped apricots with water in which they were soaked and stir in nuts. Stir in dry ingredients gradually.
- Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven about 1 1/4 hours or until wooden pick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool on rack. Serve with fruit butter spread, jam or jelly if desired. Makes one loaf of apricot nut bread.
Apricot strawberry banana smoothies
- 1 diced fresh apricot
- 6 fresh strawberries
- Half a banana
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup yogurt, plain or fruit flavored (apricot is good)
- 1/4 cup crushed ice
- In a blender, mix the apricot, strawberries and half a banana; blend well, then add water.
- Blend again till all the fruits and water are properly mixed, about 1 minute.
- Store mixture in the refrigerator and serve it chilled. Stir or shake before serving. Makes 2 servings.