raison d’être: celebrate raisin sweetness

raison d’être
Celebrate raisin sweetness.
Also all the health benefits attributed raisins– including enhanced energy levels. Raisin fiber bulk adds fullness –minus calories or fats…and another reason why raisins can be an extra dash of panache in almost any menu item.
The Menu Shoppe has it covered…
great tips for great menus.
From the Californian Raisin site calraisins.org
…this zesty soup.
Caramelized Onion Soup with Golden Raisin Pesto
4 large ripe tomatoes–cored, peeled and diced
* see note for substitutions
Olive oil; as needed
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped or sliced
1 quart chicken broth
 Salt and pepper; to taste
For the Golden Raisin Pesto
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 bunch cilantro
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Olive oil; as needed
1/4 cup pine nuts
 Salt and pepper; to taste
Trim with whole raisins and cilantro sprigs
In sautépan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil until almost smoking. Add onions and cook until caramelized, stirring constantly. Stir in garlic and tomatoes, stirring all the while–cook about 5 minutes. Then add broth; bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste.
For the Golden Raisin Pesto
In blender or food processor, combine cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil as needed, pine nuts and raisins. Pulse until well blended and smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, adjust seasonings in soup; divide and ladle into bowls. Garnish with dollop of pesto, fresh cilantro leaves and whole raisins.
NOTE: One can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes may be substituted. If cream soup is preferred, purée soup in blender and add 1 cup of heavy cream.

Carrot and Raisin Salad
1/3 cup raisins
1 pound matchstick-cut carrots
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 1/2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine mayonnaise and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Spoon dressing over carrot mixture–toss gently to coat.
Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.
Neapolitan Meatloaf with Raisins and Pine Nuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup hot water
4 slices of white sandwich bread, crusts removed and bread torn into pieces
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 pound ground beef chuck
1/2 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated aged provolone cheese
Preheat the oven to 425°. Spread the pine nuts in a pie plate and toast in the oven until golden, about 2 minutes. Let cool. In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the hot water until plump, 10 minutes. Drain. In a large bowl, soak the bread in the milk until soft, 10 minutes. Using a fork, mash the bread thoroughly, then beat in the egg until fluffy. Add the ground meats to the bowl along with the raisins, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of the pine nuts, the 2 tablespoons of oil and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Blend until just incorporated. Oil a large rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the meat mixture to the prepared baking sheet and form it into a 4-by-8-inch loaf. Drizzle the meat loaf with olive oil. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons each of the pine nuts and the provolone cheese, pressing to help them adhere. Bake the meat loaf in the upper third of the oven for about 25 minutes, until browned on top and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165°. Remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes.
Cut into thick slices and serve.
Rum-Raisin Applesauce Cake
Cooking spray
1 cup golden raisins
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon powdered sugar or Caramel Rum Raisin Sauce
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray, and dust the pan with 2 teaspoons flour. Place butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave at high 1 minute or until butter melts. Add granulated sugar, stirring with a whisk. Add eggs, and stir well. Stir in applesauce and next
6 ingredients (applesauce through salt). Lightly spoon 1 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Add flour, stirring just until blended (do not overstir). Stir in raisins. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.
Caramel Rum Raisin Sauce
3/4 cup dark rum
1 cup raisins
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
In a small saucepan, warm the rum with the raisins. Remove from the heat and let soak for 20 minutes. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over moderate heat until a deep amber caramel forms. Remove from the heat. Slowly and carefully add a little of the heavy cream to stop the cooking. Add the remaining heavy cream and stir in the raisins and rum. Serve warm.
NOTE:  The sauce can be refrigerated for 1 week. Reheat gently, stirring occasionally, before serving.
If it’s on the menu…the Menu Shoppe has it covered.
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This entry was posted in appetizer, bistros, cakes, desserts, National Food Holiday, patisserie, salads, soups and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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