Prune or Dried Plum?

Probably shouldn’t share this, but one of my favorite books is an old Anne Rice novel that is not about vampires but mummies. 4,000 years ago a guy drinks a magic potion and after a couple thousand years gets tired of living so he is wrapped and buried as a mummy only to be found in the Victorian age by an Egyptologist treasure hunter. Mummy awakens and romance, vengeance and hilarity ensue. I imagine that living forever is helped by being strikingly beautiful and irresistible to the opposite sex, especially if they’re rich.

I think about this book when I eat prunes.

Plums are fine fruit, and in the summer when my three trees are bowed with the weight of those lovely little nibblies, I eat them with relish. Meaning, I will stand under the tree and pluck a branch clean, not that I eat them with a green pickle product.

Plums have so much more to offer. If you let them dry out, the sugar concentrates, the flavors intensify and then marry so well to a variety of food- pork chops, triple crème cheese, granola.

How did prunes get such a terrible reputation? Plums are considered exciting and young, and prunes are the crazy spinster auntie with too many cats. I’m curious how well the “Dried Plums” campaign is going.

I’m thinking about menus that involve things I already have on the shelf- and it reminded me of a chicken salad that I used to make when I created lunch specials at the restaurant I worked at before Kat lifted me out of the gutter.

Mix equal parts mayo and yogurt, introduce cooked, diced chicken and a variety of dried fruit that’s been whirled in a processor, pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper. Blend everything together. Serve it as a sandwich filling with lettuce and tomato or on salad greens with some candied nuts.

And if you can spare it, reduce a dessert wine, like port, over med-low heat until it coats the back of a spoon, about an hour. Let it cool slightly, add prunes, scrape in some vanilla pod or ground cardamom and pour over good Greek yogurt, add a few thin almond cookies, and fool your guests into thinking you made custard. You can also do this with raisins or fresh grapes, but use muscat instead of port.

About katflinn

Kathleen Flinn is the author of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry," "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" and "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good." All are published by Viking/Penguin.

Leave a Reply