written by: lrohner
• edited by: Diana Cooper
• updated: 10/29/2010
Host a December dinner themed around foods that start with the letter D. Do not fret, as there are dozens of delicious delectables well-suited for your delightful guests at the dinner table.
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Rich in protein, duck is perhaps best known as the basis for the once-popular dishes Duck a l’Orange and Peking Duck. A common misconception is that duck is high in fat. According to Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, this is true of a whole duck but it does not apply to a skinless breast or leg meat. In fact, one 3.5-oz. serving of skinless duck breast contains only 140 calories, 28 g of protein and 3 g of fat, while an equivalent serving of leg meat contains 178 calories with 29 g of protein and 6 g of fat.
When considering foods that start with the letter D, look to foods from around the world. Unlike radishes in the United States, daikon is neither small nor red. Best known for its usage in Japanese dishes, the daikon’s mild taste allows it to add crunchy texture to dishes without adding overwhelming flavor. While domestic radishes are roughly the size of a strawberry, the daikon can grow as large as 20 inches and weigh up to 100 lbs. One 3-oz. serving of daikon contains 18 calories and provides 34 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. The green daikon tops, often used in soup, are a rich source of vitamin A.
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Eating durian fruit is an experience you will not soon forget. Although it is flavorful and rich in nutrients, its flesh gives off the odor of rotting garbage. A native of southeast Asia, its smell is so intense that it is commonly banned in offices and hospitals in Thailand. If you can get past the aroma, a 1/2-cup serving of chopped durian contains 178 calories and provides 11 percent of the daily value of carbohydrates, 18 percent of the daily value of dietary fiber and 80 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, manganese and thiamin.
Popular in middle eastern cultures, dates may be one of the oldest fruits known to man and are mentioned in both the Bible and the Quran. California is the date capital of the United States, accounting for 82 percent of the country’s production. Dates are low-calorie, with only 24 calories per date. A serving of 5 to 6 dates also provides 31 g of carbohydrates, 14 percent of the RDA of dietary fiber and 7 percent of the RDA of potassium -- three times that potassium content of bananas, according to the California Date Committee.
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Although Americans spend considerable amounts of money ridding their lawns of dandelions, they are filled with vitamins and nutrients and have many culinary uses. Dandelion greens are most often seen in southern cuisine as their taste and texture are similar to mustard greens, another southern favorite. A 1-cup serving of boiled dandelion greens contains a mere 35 calories, 7 g of carbohydrates, 2 g of protein and 3 g of dietary fiber, and are rich in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A, B6, C and K, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, manganese and iron. Although mostly served boiled or sauteed, you can also use the greens in a salad.