As Good As It Gets: Antioxidants for Dessert
Summer Apricots: A Sweet Source of Anti-aging Nutrients Summer fruits are a delicious way to add antioxidant vitamins, flavonoids, and other revitalizing phytonutrients to your diet. As rich in anti-aging nutrients including vitamin C and beta-carotene as they are in flavor, apricots epitomize the spirit of Mediterranean-style cuisines. In Turkey, this delectable relative of the peach is so prized that the Turkish equivalent of the English idiom "it doesn't get any better than this" (bundan iyisi Şam'da kayısı) is "the only thing better than this is an apricot in Damascus." The featured role of apricots in my native Romania's famously luscious pastries, jams, and other desserts reflects the enduring cultural influence of early Greco-Roman and Turkish settlers on our diverse and vibrant cuisine. One of my personal favorites is a distinctly Romanian variant of Italy's albicocche cotte al vino ("apricots cooked in wine"). Fresh Apricots Cooked in Wine Unlike the Italian version, my grandmother's recipe - which appears below - doesn't require making a syrup of dry white wine, sugar, and vanilla. The use of a sweet dessert wine and cinnamon instead reduces the preparation time and calorie count, while maximizing the fresh, natural taste of the fruit.You can also adjust the taste of this dessert to suit your palate. If you desire a honey-like sweetness and complex flavor, choose a true dessert wine, such as Romanian Grasa de Cotnari, Hungarian Tokay, or an imported or domestic Muscat. If you have less of a sweet tooth, your might prefer the taste of lighter white wines like a sauvignon blanc or German Riesling. INGREDIENTS Fresh apricots, 1-1/2 lb (fruit should be ripe but not mushy) White dessert wine* Cinnamon, a pinch Vanilla ice cream (optional) Cut apricots in half and remove the stones. Place facedown in a large skillet. Pour in wine. Cook the fruit approximately 3 minutes on each side. Serve alone or with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream for special treat! Romanian Holiday: A State of Health, Happiness, and Mediterranean Desserts Moderate portions of simple yet elegant fruit-based desserts like this one are a great way to integrate sensual pleasure into a naturally healthy lifestyle. Even in the wintertime, one bite of this refreshing treat recalls the extended hours of sunlight during my summer holidays on the shores of the Black Sea. Regardless of whether you summer in Portofino, Martha's Vineyard, or your own backyard, my grandmother's summer dessert recipe is guaranteed put you in a vacation state of mind.