A Bread Rich With Fruit And Nuts

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - January 30, 2008
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Richard Castillo is professor of psychology and chair of the Social Sciences Division at UH-West Oahu. After graduating from UH-Manoa with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s in Asian religions, he continued on at Harvard University, where he earned his Ph.D. in medical and psychiatric anthropology specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in different cultures.

Richard’s book, Culture and Mental Illness: A Client Centered Approach, is known by mental health professionals throughout the world. He is a frequent keynote speaker at professional conferences, and will be speaking at two conferences to be held in Japan this year.


In his spare time, he likes to take long walks soaking up the beautiful Hawaiian scenery and listening to live music at various venues around Honolulu.

This column is dedicated to Richard, a caring person who has made his mark on the world.

If you like apricots, this moist, delicious loaf is for you.

Apricots are originally from China and have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. It is said that Alexander the Great is responsible for bringing the fruit to the Western world.

The skin of the apricot has a downy texture, which becomes smooth when the fruit is fully ripe.

When purchasing, choose undamaged fruit that is neither too hard nor too soft, and avoid fruit that has cracks or white spots. Apricots must be handled carefully as they spoil easily when bruised. Wash just before consuming them and store them loosely, as they get moldy when tightly packed. Ripen them at room temperature; they will keep for about a week in the refrigerator once ripe. You may also freeze them - blanch for 30 seconds, remove skin and pit, and store in airtight freezer bags.

The apricot is very high in vitamin A, especially when dried. Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin, mucous membranes and good sight. Apricots are also rich in potassium and a good source of vitamin C.


APRICOT ALMOND LOAF

* 1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/3 cup Smart Balance margarine (no trans fats)
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 4 egg whites, slightly beaten
* 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
* 1 15-ounce can apricot halves packed in light syrup or juice, drain and reserve 3 tablespoons of the juice, or 5 fresh, ripe apricots, cut into small pieces and soaked in 3 tablespoons of apple juice
* 1/3 cup chopped almonds, divided in half

Preheat oven to 350 and coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Lightly flour pan and shake excess flour from pan.

Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together margarine and sugar. Add egg whites and vanilla, and beat until combined. Place apricots in a blender or food processor and pulse until finely chopped, adding some syrup if necessary. If using fresh apricots, add juice to the blender with the fruit before chopping. Add flour mixture alternately with apricots to the creamed mixture, stirring to combine after each addition. Mix in half the nuts. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining nuts.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

Makes 12 slices.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 225
Fat: 6 grams
Cholesterol: 10 milligrams
Sodium: 200 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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