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Slice of Life

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Using macadamias worth expense

I got a lovely gift basket for my birthday with a couple of cans of macadamia nuts in it.

Lots of other good stuff, but, oh, those macadamia nuts. So yummy, so delicious; they disappeared within about 30 minutes after being unwrapped (OK, maybe it was a little longer, like an hour, but, seriously, not much longer than that). They are so addictive, so be warned if you buy them, you will become a huge fan.

They are expensive, mainly because the shell is extremely difficult to crack open and the packaging and transportation of the nut needs to be climate controlled to avoid spoilage.

I realized during my macadamia research that I can substitute chopped macadamia nuts for pecans and almonds in just about any recipe. Granted, I’d probably have to rob the Federal Reserve and Fort Knox to do so, but it just might be worth the risk of incarceration just to be able to include macadamias in my menu more often.

Macadamia Sweet Potato Bake

2 (24 ounce) cans sweet potatoes or yams, drained

4 or 5 ripe bananas

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts

1/2 cup crushed corn flakes

1/2 cup melted butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl combine the sweet potatoes and bananas with cinnamon and salt. Mash together to totally combine. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish. In a bowl combine the brown sugar, nuts and corn flakes. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes in the pan. Drizzle the butter or margarine over the top. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until lightly brown and bubbly. Serves 6 to 8.

Macadamia and Pineapple Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in half

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups finely chopped macadamia nuts

1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Caribbean jerk seasoning

1 tablespoon minced onion

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons white wine

1/2 cup crushed pineapple

2 tablespoons apricot preserves

Shredded mixed salad greens

Pound the chicken breasts until they are about 1/3 inch thick. In a shallow bowl beat the eggs. In another bigger bowl combine the nuts, bread crumbs, salt, jerk seasoning, onion and pepper. Coat the flattened chicken with the beaten egg then coat both sides with the nut mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Cook the chicken for 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked throughout. In a small microwave bowl, combine the wine, pineapple and apricot preserves. Microwave for 1 minute or just until warm. Divide the greens between 4 plates. Top with a cooked chicken breast and drizzle the warm sauce over the top. Serves 4. Note: You can double the sauce recipe if you like.

– Submitted by Ron Escarcon of New York, N.Y. Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.