Arlene's Cuisine

For some reason I have always associated pineapple with Easter and spring, so with spring officially here and Easter just around the corner, today’s recipes focus on pineapple.

The pineapple has been around for a long time. The pre-Incans and Incans of Peru cultivated it because there are pictures of it on ancient vessels. We usually think of pineapple as Hawaiian, but it is actually native to South America and from there it traveled to the West Indies where Columbus saw it in 1493.

Indians had huts with pineapples or pineapple tops at the door, which meant strangers were welcome. That’s why you sometimes still see homes today with cement or ceramic pineapples at the door.


Pineapple and Spareribs

  • 2½ to 3 pounds pork spareribs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ green pepper cut in ½ inch pieces
  • 1 stalk of celery sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons of fat (poured off the meat as it cooks)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups pineapple tidbits
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

Cut ribs into serving pieces, season and bake in a roasting pan at 350 degrees for 2 hours, turning occasionally and pouring off fat two or three times. Cook onion, green pepper and celery in pork fat for about 5 minutes. Blend in cornstarch. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring until thickened. Pour over ribs and bake about 45 minutes longer. Serves four to six.



Stir-Fry Salad

  • 1 fresh pineapple
  • 1½ quarts coarsely shredded crisp lettuce
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 cup blanched pea pods
  • ½ cup sliced water chestnuts
  • Spicy Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1¼- to 1½-pound boned, skinned chicken breast or canned chicken pieces

Trim, pare and core pineapple. Cut into small wedges to make 2½ cups. (Refrigerate any remaining for another use.) Prepare lettuce and vegetables, toss and refrigerate. Prepare Spicy Sauce. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir-fry in 1 tablespoon peanut oil over high heat until opaque, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons Spicy Sauce and stir-fry ½ minute. Push to one side of pan and add pineapple. Stir-fry to heat. Sprinkle lightly with soy sauce.

Portion lettuce/vegetable mix on four salad plates and top with pineapple/chicken., Blend remaining oil with remaining Spicy Sauce, beating well. Use as dressing. Serves four.


Spicy Sauce: Blend ¼ cup ketchup with 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons juice from pineapple, 1 teaspoon each Worcestershire sauce and sweet-hot mustard, 1 clove garlic (pressed) and ¼ teaspoon chili powder.


Pineapple Coffee Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (1½ teaspoons for Salida’s elevation)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (½ teaspoon for Salida’s elevation)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups diced fresh or canned pineapple chunks, blotted dry and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Whisk flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl whisk egg, yogurt, oil and vanilla until smooth. Add dry ingredients and stir until well blended. (Don’t overmix.) Fold in pineapple. Pour into prepared pan. Combine pecans and remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar in another bowl and sprinkle over batter. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until top is golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm. Serves nine.