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ABC7 On Your Side: Canned cuisine

July 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Some people are turning to canned food to cut costs at the grocery store.At the Inland Empire Art Institute of California, culinary students are learning how to stretch food dollars by making meals mainly from cans. According to Executive Chef Eyad Joseph, that can be a great way to cook and save.

"Very affordable, healthy, you can make it taste great and it's something new that a lot of people haven't experienced," said Chef Joseph.

At a recent fundraiser, called the "Canstruction Luncheon," Joseph competed against other seasoned chefs in a challenge to create great meals from canned cuisine.

"And we were told we were going to make a dish out of a canned item and make it look great, taste great, and affordable," said Chef Joseph.

One chef made an English salmon curry made of canned salmon, coconut milk, sweet peas and white beans as the main ingredients.

"Another chef used a chicken item that he incorporated with canned tomatoes and canned beans and other vegetables like canned asparagus and water chestnuts and made a beautiful salad out of it," said Chef Joseph.

Chef Joseph, who was raised in the Middle East, created dishes like a simple pizza, tuna salad, hummus and baba ganoush. Joseph chose meals where vegetables played a major role on the plate and cost as little as 80 cents to make.

Fresh food loses its nutrients the moment that it is picked. Then there is the time it takes for the food to get to the warehouse and then to the market. Finally, food may lose even more nutrients depending on when the food was purchased, and then consumed.

"From factory to farm you're talking less than a day and the reservation of the nutrients is incorporated into that, so you don't lose a lot of flavor or nutrients," said Joseph.

It is important to know that fresh produce is usually picked before its prime so that it holds up well at market. Canned food is allowed to ripen longer, then immediately canned, preserving freshness.

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English Salmon Curry
Yield: 3
Chef Brien Clements
Omakase
3720 Mission Inn Ave.
Riverside, Calif.
(951) 788-8820

12 oz coconut milk
1/4 lb butter, unsalted
12 oz salmon, canned, skin and bone removed
12 oz peas, canned
12 oz tomatoes, diced and no salt added
12 oz white beans, canned and rinsed
1 tbsp curry powder
1 oz lemon, cured in salt and sugar, white pith removed
tt salt, kosher
tt pepper, black and fresh ground

-- In a large saucepan, combine the coconut milk and butter and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer until a nice thick glaze forms. -- Add all remaining ingredients, heat for another 2 minutes, or until warmed through, thick and well-coated. -- Serve immediately.

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Chicken Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Luis Martinez, CEC/Executive Chef
Riverside Marriott Hotel
Riverside, Calif.

1 12-oz can of chicken breast
3 oz of canned Mandarin oranges
2 oz of roasted cashews
2 oz of crispy Chow Mein noodles
2 strawberries cut in quarters
1 oz of toasted sliced almonds
7 oz of spring mix salad

In two 12-inch pasta bowls, place equal parts of the spring mix salad and top with the chicken, Mandarin oranges, cashews, almonds, noodles and drizzle about 3 oz of the strawberry dressing.

Strawberry Vinaigrette

1 cup of fresh strawberries
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon of fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of fresh chopped garlic
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 cup of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh parsley

In a blender add the strawberries, honey, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, orange juice , lime juice, salt, garlic, Dijon mustard, basil, tarragon and parsley. Blend in until puréed consistency. Add the olive oil slowly to emulsify the dressing.

Dressing must be used with in 72 hours

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The costs of the items prepared on the show were as follows:

Foul (garbanzo bean/fava bean stew) costs $2.34
Veggie Pizza - $3.16
Hummus - $1.82
Baba Ghanoush - $2.01
Light Tuna Salad - $3.71

All the dishes' pricing was valued at four servings.

For these recipes, please e-mail: Eyad Joseph, ejoseph@aii.edu

It's getting tougher to make ends meet these days, and ABC7 On Your Side is a campaign to help you save money. Watch Eyewitness News for money-saving tips and freebies to help stretch your dollar.

 

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