Plum-Perfect Party Cooking

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(NAPSI)—Gold Medalist and World Champion swimmer Natalie Coughlin is one busy woman. She’s training hard for the 2012 summer games-and she’ll be cooking up a storm for her family this holiday season. In fact, when she’s not in the water, Coughlin can often be found in the kitchen, creating delicious, healthy recipes that work perfectly with her training regime. As an international swimming competitor, Coughlin meets people from all over the world and likes to experiment with the foods of different cultures by developing healthful dishes with flavorful ingredients and seasonings.

Dried plums are an important part of her diet for both cooking and snacking. “I love to cook with California Dried Plums because they are a healthy way to add flavor and key nutrients to both sweet and savory dishes,” says Coughlin. Dried plums are a superfruit with nutrition packed into every tasty bite, including fiber, antioxidants and potassium.

For Coughlin, healthy eating doesn’t stop with the holidays. Whether it’s a Super Bowl party or any festive occasion throughout the year when friends and family get together, she likes to celebrate her Filipino heritage with a platter of lumpia, crisp spring rolls filled with a savory mixture of ground pork and water chestnuts. She uses her grandmother’s recipe, but with a few tweaks of her own to make it healthier.

Coughlin’s version adds dried plum purée to the ground pork filling to enhance flavor, add moisture and improve texture. (With dried plum purée, you can also use leaner pork, which helps to cut down on calories and fat.) Then she bakes the lumpia instead of deep-frying them, which not only reduces the fat, but also means less muss, fuss and cleanup for the cook. The final touch is a spicy chili dipping sauce made with dried plum purée and diced dried plums.

With her busy schedule, Coughlin is always looking for ways to make entertaining less stressful. Lumpia are perfect, since they can be frozen, then thawed and cooked as needed, so Coughlin suggests making a double batch and freezing half-that is, if you can resist cooking and eating them all at once!

Lumpia With Dried Plum Purée

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 20−25 minutes

Makes 24 lumpia

1 pound ground pork

1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

¾ cup minced onion

¼ cup California dried plum purée (For purée recipe, visit

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon water

24 lumpia wrappers

Cooking spray

Dried Plum-Chili Dipping Sauce (recipe below)

Mix together pork, water chestnuts, onion, dried plum purée, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix flour and water to make a paste.

Place one lumpia wrapper on a work surface and place about 2 tablespoons pork mixture near the edge closest to you. Roll bottom edge towards the middle, fold in both sides and continue rolling. Moisten edge with flour paste to seal. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

Heat oven to 425° F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange lumpia on baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Bake 20−25 minutes or until browned and crisp. Serve with Dried Plum-Chili Dipping Sauce.

To make Dried Plum-Chili Dipping Sauce, in a blender, purée ½ cup Thai sweet chili sauce, ½ cup water and ¼ cup California dried plum purée. Stir in ¼ cup diced dried plums. (Makes 11/2 cups)

Nutrition Information Per Serving (1 lumpia): 138 calories; 14 mg cholesterol; 5 g total fat; 1.6 g sat fat; 1.8 g mono fat; 0.4 g poly fat; 0 g trans fat; 161 mg sodium; 18 g carbohydrate; 4.6 g protein; 0.7 g fiber; 149 mg potassium

Whether it’s a family holiday gathering or a casual get-together, Natalie also likes to serve these goat cheese−filled dried plums because they’re easy to make, packed with dried plum nutrition-and delicious!

Dried Plums Stuffed With Goat Cheese

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Makes 24 dried plums

¼ cup fresh goat cheese, softened

2 teaspoons garam masala (Indian spice blend)

24 California pitted, dried plums

Heat oven to 400° F. Mix goat cheese with 1 teaspoon garam masala. Make a slit in each dried plum and stuff with ½ teaspoon goat cheese mixture, leaving slit open on top so that filling is visible. Place in an ovenproof dish and bake in oven about 5 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with remaining garam masala. Serve warm.

Nutrition Information Per Serving (3 dried plums): 67 calories; 2 mg cholesterol; 1 g total fat; 1 g sat fat; 0 g mono fat; 0 g poly fat; 0 g trans fat; 16 mg sodium; 14 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 1g fiber; 155 mg potassium.

For other great recipes and cooking videos featuring California Dried Plums, visit and Like us on


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