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Berries : Relishing Strawberries

July 01, 1993|MARCIA CONE and THELMA SNYDER

When you tire of eating fresh strawberries, it's time to think about preserving them while their flavor is still at its peak. Here are two nonfat condiments and one low-fat dessert.

These dishes are low in fat, but that's not all. Strawberries are naturally high in Vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron, heal wounds, resist infection and maintain healthy bones, gums and teeth. *

Serve this relish with grilled poultry or fish, or a chicken salad.

STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB RELISH 1 cup sliced strawberries 1 cup 1/2-inch pieces rhubarb 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup golden raisins 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 green onions, thinly sliced 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, raisins, vinegar, green onions, allspice and cayenne in 2-quart microwave-safe casserole or 4-cup glass measure. Cover tightly with lid or plastic wrap, turned back slightly on 1 side. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) 3 minutes. Stir.

Cover again and microwave on HIGH until rhubarb is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve warm or chilled. Makes about 2 cups.

Each tablespoon contains about: 12 calories; 0 sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 3 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.08 gram fiber.

*

Strawberries and rhubarb are cooked to a buttery consistency, producing a pleasantly tart alternative to butter. Try spreading it on your morning toast.

STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB BUTTER 1 cup sliced strawberries 1 cup 1/2-inch pieces rhubarb 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed, or to taste 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Place strawberries and rhubarb in 4-cup glass measure. Cover with plastic wrap, turned back slightly on 1 side. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) until rhubarb is tender, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring once.

Stir brown sugar to taste, lemon zest and allspice into strawberry-rhubarb mixture. Microwave, uncovered, until thick, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring after 3 minutes. Store in crockery, covered, in refrigerator. Makes 1 cup.

Each tablespoon contains about: 9 calories; 1 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.1 gram fiber.

*

Usually the crust throws a fruit pie into the high-fat category. This crust has no added fat.

STRAWBERRY PIE 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 1/4 cup honey 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/3 cup currant or strawberry jelly 4 ounces nonfat ricotta or cottage cheese 1 tablespoon orange juice or orange-flavored liqueur 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 quart fresh whole strawberries, hulled, washed and dried 1 pint nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt or lemon sherbet, optional

Process graham cracker crumbs, honey and cinnamon in food processor bowl until they stick together.

Lightly spray 9-inch microwave-safe pie plate with cooking spray. This will facilitate serving. Press crumb mixture into bottom of pie plate. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) to slightly warm shell, 1 minute. With back of spoon, press crumb mixture to bottom and side of pie dish again to set crust. (This step ensures that crust keeps its shape while still being easy to cut and serve.)

Spoon jelly into 1-cup glass measure and microwave on HIGH until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Brush 2 tablespoons jelly over crust.

Beat together ricotta cheese, orange juice, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla. Spread mixture over jelly in crust. Arrange whole strawberries, points up, over cheese mixture. Brush strawberries with remaining jelly to glaze. Chill about 2 hours to set. Top each serving with 1 scoop frozen yogurt. Makes 6 servings.

Note: If jelly has hardened too much to spread, microwave 30 seconds to 1 minute to soften.

Each serving contains about: 217 calories; 184 mg sodium; 6 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 43 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.83 gram fiber.

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