Well, friends, it seems that summer has finally arrived! I hope you all had a relaxing, fun-filled July 4th holiday! We were very lucky this year, as the long holiday weekend came with warm sunny days, lots of time to relax, and of course, no stress at all. No stress? Yeah right! As is the case every summer, we hope for the warm sunny days, especially on the weekends, please! But time to relax? No stress? Come on, who are we kidding? Summer means working hard to get the stuff we NEED to do done quickly so we can do the stuff we WANT to do! The stress comes from that little idea! We need to think ahead, so that what we need to do takes less time and effort, and we are able to enjoy ourselves without the guilty feeling of not getting it all done.
Summer time is such great time to enjoy “taking our food out to play”! We can get really creative with how we prepare and serve fresh foods. We are no longer limited to cooking indoors when the season turns to summer. Fire up the grill and throw another log on the fire…we are cooking outdoors this season! While we use our grill year round, there is really no comparison to summer grilling, and enjoying the backyard!
When planning your menu, chances are, if you can cook it in the oven, generally you can cook it on the grill. Meats and vegetables are generally the first thing to come to mind when we think of the grill, but why not start with dessert? After all, life is short, so start with dessert! Because of the natural sugars in them, fruits cook…and therefor grill…really well. Most any firm fleshed fruit can be cooked over the open flame of a grill. Also available in many cookware stores and departments are grilling baskets and sheets that work well for more delicate foods.
I love to grill pineapple and peaches… While they are juicy and sweet to start out, after a few minutes on the grill the sweetness level increases and as for the tenderness…well they will simply melt in your mouth. Grilling larger pieces of fruit will be easier than grilling bite sizes, so you will want cut them smaller after cooking. I like to cut my peaches in half and brush the cut side lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Similarly, I will cut my pineapple in thick slices and again, brush lightly with EVOO. Grill for a few minutes on each side, turning when grill marks are showing. Another fruit that is great grilled is bananas. As with other fruits, choose firmer bright colored bananas, brush with EVOO and grill lightly.
As with anything we eat, you never know how something new will work out until you try, so don’t be afraid to get creative and take your food out to play!
Grilled Fruit Salad
- 1 large pineapple, ends removed, peeled and cored
- 4 ripe peaches, cut in half and pits removed
- 4 nectarines, cut in half and pits removed
- 4 bananas, peeled
- Extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ to ½ cup “sweet” salad dressing (such as a fruit vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing)
Heat grill to medium.
Prepare fruits and lightly brush them with EVOO.
Place on grill, (peaches and nectarines should be placed cut side down) and cook 4-6 minutes per side (until warmed and grill marked)
Allow to cool and then cut into bite sized pieces, lightly toss with dressing and serve at room temperature or chilled.
To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.