Tag Archives: tropical fruits

I don’t know how this happened.

Remember my post from 2 weeks ago? The one with the pineapple update? The update where I said we probably had at least 4-6 weeks until harvest? Well, we went to Austin last weekend to visit the kids and came home to this:

Pineapple Harvest 6

I don’t know how this happened. They went from firm, mostly green and this:

Pineapple Close-Up - Aug2013

to completely, thoroughly golden-yellow ripe in 4 days. FOUR DAYS!

Side by Side Comparison - 4 days

I can only attribute it to:
A.) four days of intense Houston heat, followed by
B.) a good solid day of rain during drought conditions, and
C.) my lack of experience growing pineapples (even with 15+ plants)

We had no choice but to harvest them before they got too ripe, which was disappointing because we really had hoped the kids would be here to participate. Instead, The Complete Package & I cut them down. No kids; no celebration.

Pineapple Harvest 1

Pineapple Harvest 2

Here’s a peek behind the curtain at how we’ve accumulated so many pineapple plants over the past few years. Each plant, while it’s fruiting, puts off several shoots (ratoons) that can be removed and replanted to form new plants. Each of our four fruiting plants put off at least 2 to 3 ratoons.

Pineapple Harvest 3

Pineapple Harvest 4

I’m no math whiz, but if each pineapple plant produces 3 ratoons PLUS a pineapple fruit, that means you now potentially have FOUR (4) additional future pineapple plants, because you can replant the ratoons and replant the top off the pineapple fruit. We started six years ago with the top of a pineapple plant we’d bought at the grocery store. We now have over 15 plants because we keep re-potting the ratoons & pineapple tops. I joke about our mini-plantation, but it’s actually kind of true. They’re taking over our back porch. Two years ago, we harvested one lonely but gorgeous pineapple. This year, we got this:

Pineapple Harvest 5

Which brings me to our new little gadget I just have to show off. My friend Kirsten of Comfortably Domestic (my sister from another mister) and her four boys were so excited about our pending pineapple harvest, they sent us the new OXO ratcheting pineapple corer & slicer. Oh, baby!

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Ready to Cut

To use it, lop the top off your pineapple, leaving about 3/4″ so you can replant it later and become a semi-obsessed mini-plantation pineapple farmer like me.

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Lop off the top

We set the pineapples into a mixing bowl to capture any juice so I could make marmalade (always thinking ahead), then TCP set about coring those golden puppies. The OXO pineapple corer tore right through each pineapple in seconds.
It was amazing to watch and surprisingly fun to use.

Pineapple Harvest 2013- OXO Pineapple Corer & Slicer

Did I mention it ratchets? You don’t have to turn the bowl or move the pineapple or anything! Just twist the handle on top and it ratchets after each cut until it reaches the bottom. Once done, you simply pull the rings right out of the shell. That’s right – I said rings!

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Rings on the Slicer

It cuts the entire pineapple into perfectly even rings. Shut up! I know!

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Perfectly Sliced Rings

We set aside one tub of rings for Jonah Bear & Lilly Bug, since they both said they’d like to recreate our pineapple upside-down cake from the 2011 harvest, and poured most of the pineapple and juice into the Dutch oven to make my first ever batch of pineapple upside-down marmalade (pineapple, brown sugar & maraschino cherries). With that, there was only one last task to conquer.

Remember that post I mentioned in the first paragraph? The one where I said we probably had a few weeks until harvest? Well, I may have mentioned in that post that I’d also like to make fruity cocktails with this batch of pineapples. And since the OXO corer/slicer did such a nice job of creating the perfect vessel, there was just one last thing to do.

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Pina Colada Fixings

You should know me well enough by now to know that I never turn down a fruity ‘pinkies up’ frou-frou girly cocktail. So here’s to you, and here’s to friends who send friends kitchen gadgets, and here’s to the great pineapple harvest of 2013.

Pineapple Harvest - Pina Colada

Oh, and just in case you’d like to join me:

Pineapple Harvest 2013  - Pina Colada Recipe

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Filed under Family Stuff, Food & Recipes, Things I Love

Tropical Cream Cheese Pound Cake

When it comes to dessert, my motto is usually “More is More.” A pan of plain brownies doesn’t cut it in my world. They need to have Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate syrup, dark chocolate chips and a shot of Kahlua thrown in. There are, however, a few things for which I am a purist. Shortbread cookies and pound cake, for example. Some things are just better in their pure, simple forms.

Don’t get me wrong – you can still add stuff, but the key is to keep it simple. To enhance, not overshadow. Sometimes, that’s a thin line to balance. For a girl who trips over her own two feet and walks into walls (this girl), that can be tricky. This week, I tried something that could have pushed ‘simple’ over the edge, but didn’t. It worked beautifully and started with some of my favorite things:

1. Lots & lots of butter, cream cheese and some gorgeous brown eggs

2. A bowl of soft, fluffy, sifted all-purpose flour; I’m a messy sifter

3. Macadamia nuts, shredded coconut and Cream of Coconut

4. A bag of dried tropical fruits – mango, papaya and pineapple

The result was a soft, moist, not-too-dense pound cake with all of the flavors of the islands. I’m not going to lie. My heart melted at the first bite. This, to me, is a perfect cake. No layers. No frosting. Just pure, delicious cake. It was super easy to whip up, and made two large gorgeous loaves. Here’s how I did it.

NanaBread’s Tropical Cream Cheese Pound Cake:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup Cream of Coconut
3 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 6-oz. pkg. dried tropical fruit

To start, lay your butter, cream cheese and eggs out in advance. You’ll want them to be at room temperature when you start putting this together.

Preheat your oven to 325F. Spray 2 large non-stick loaf pans with Pam spray for baking (or grease & flour both pans).

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. With the mixer still running, gradually beat in the sugar, then add the salt, vanilla, almond extract and Cream of Coconut. Beat until thoroughly combined. Turning the mixer down a notch, add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder; whisk to blend well. Roughly chop the dried fruit into 1/2″ pieces, then add the fruit, macadamia nuts and coconut to the bowl of flour; stir until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold until all of the flour mixture is incorporated. Divide the batter in half and spread evenly into each loaf pan. Tap the pans gently on the counter a few times to help remove air bubbles, then bake at 325F for 60-75 minutes, rotating once half-way through baking. The cakes are done when a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the top of the cake. You’ll want to keep an eye on it so you don’t over bake these. An over-baked cake is a dry cake.

Remove from the oven and place the pans onto wire racks for at least one hour. After one hour, remove them from the pans and allow them to cool on the racks for another hour. One loaf can be sliced and stored in an airtight container for now; the other loaf can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and zipped into a large freezer bag and stored in the freezer for later. Or you can make a friend’s day and share a loaf. It’s up to you, but I’d taste it first and then decide. You might just decide to hang on to both.

Note: This recipe was adapted from a cream cheese pound cake recipe by my blogging friend & baker Anne, the genius behind the From My Sweet Heart blog. If you haven’t seen Anne’s blog yet, you need to drop in for a visit. She’s a lovely lady and her love of baking shows in all of her recipes and photographs. If you drop in, please tell her I said hello.

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Filed under Food & Recipes

Baby Pineapple Update: Day 40

The Grand Dame & her Little Prince - hanging out on Day 40.

Today is Day 40 in our adventure to grow our own pineapple. So far, it’s been glorious. The biggest surprise, besides how fast she’s growing, is the rows of gorgeous purple flowers. I never expected that. In fact, I had no idea it would bloom all around the pineapple. It’s really beautiful. Here’s a close-up of the flowers so you can see them in all their glory:


And now, here’s a photo of the pineapple I got for Mother’s Day. It came from the grocery store. In fact, it is the pineapple we used to create Spike – pineapple plant #2. Notice those golden pentagon shapes on the sides of the pineapple? See those little brown pointed tags sticking out of each pentagon? That’s where the purple blooms emerged and then died back. Who would have guessed?

The store-bought pineapple that birthed Spike.

How cool is that? I had NO idea that those little shaggy brown things on the side of a pineapple used to be gorgeous purple flowers. I’ve learned so much from our pineapple plant. I really have. And because of it, I have a much greater appreciation for every pineapple I see in the grocery store, and for the people who grow them. I wonder if they name their pineapples, too?

Here’s the gratuitous 3-panel shot so you can see how she’s doing. As you can see, the shoots are bulging from the base of the pineapple fruit. I keep expecting them to pop out onto stalks any day now. They’re fascinating. Since we’re hoping to get at least one more pineapple from this plant, we’ll have to cut at least one of the shoots off once they fully emerge. According to my trusted Hawaiian Ag website, I should be able to plant the shoots to create additional plants. Then we’ll have a full-fledged pineapple farm (of 3-4 plants). Okay, it will be more like a pineapple “patch” but I’m okay with that. Overall, things are progressing beautifully. Maybe I’m just a proud pineapple mommy, but I think my baby is turning into one gorgeous little lady. “Who’s a pretty girl?”

To see them up close, click on the photo. To return, just hit your “back” arrow.

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Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts