Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pineapple Pardon

When Fresh & Easy markets first came to the Valley, I was passionate about my distaste and annoyance for the format and number of the markets seemingly popping up on every corner. The small grocery stores offered loads of ready-made, albeit "fresh" foods with a convenience price tag to match, and a sprinkling of beer, wine, and frozen and canned/boxed foods throughout. Once we moved to our new house, the only grocery store near by was, of course, a Fresh & Easy.

I love to cook, I love to shop; therefore, I tend to enjoy grocery shopping. Yet I grumbled and crossed my arms, refusing to let this store win me over, protesting whenever we had to stop. Of course, it eventually did. While the store has fairly limited inventory, they do carry the best store-bought hummus I've ever had, and the kicker? They have a clearance section, and it plays into my love for bargains, treasure hunting and the creativity that random ingredients you have either never tried before, or had no intention of buying, inspires. You never know what you'll find, and it's typically stocked with an assortment of ready to eat fresh meals, cheeses, produce, dairy, poultry, breads and sweets, all marked with the sell by date as the day it's on the shelf. So, there you have it, creative inspiration with a red and white expiration date sticker staring right back at you.

On our last trip, I picked up a container of pre-cut fresh pineapple chunks, pardoning them from the Fresh & Easy death row, and intending to eat them as is, but I decided to try something new. I don't have photos to post this time as I still forget to document my concoctions some times, but it came out too good to not share. I've guesstimated the measurements to the best of my memory, but adjust to your tastes.

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups fresh pineapple, cut into chunks and allowed to sit to release juice
    (you can use canned if it's what you have on hand)
  • a sprinkle of Thai chile powder, cayenne, chili powder or paprika (depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 1 Teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon sweetened black vinegar
  • a small pinch of kosher salt

Preparation

  1. heat a saute pan over medium high heat
  2. drain the pineapple juice into the pan
  3. add the extra virgin olive oil and let boil and reduce
  4. add pineapple to pan
  5. stir to coat with juice/oil mixture
  6. add vinegar, chile, salt
  7. let sauce reduce and turn pineapple pieces, allowing them to caramelize and turn golden brown on all sides
  8. sprinkle with sesame seeds and thin slices of basil, stir to coat and serve immediately