Elegant Edibles Catering
Ahhh, summer! Warm sunny days, lots of time to relax, and of course, no stress at all. Yeah right! We may have been enjoying the warm sunny days, (even on the weekends, of late!), but time to relax? No stress? Come on, who are we kidding? Summer means working hard to get all of the stuff we NEED to do done quickly so we can do the stuff we WANT to do! Our stress comes from that crazy notion! We need to think ahead, so 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.
I don’t know about you, but with the very warm weather we have been enjoying of late, the last thing I want to do is heat up the house by turning on the oven or stove. Lucky for me, summer time is a 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 weather turns warm (or as in the recent days, hot!). Fire up the grill and throw another log on the fire…we are cooking outdoors tonight! While we may use our grill year round, there is really no comparison to summer grilling, and enjoying the great outdoors!
Chances are, if you can cook it in the oven, you can cook it on the grill. Meats and possibly vegetables are generally the first things to come to mind when we think of grilling, but why not start with dessert? After all, life is short, so starting with dessert sounds good to me! Because of the natural sugars in them, fruits cook…and therefor grill…really well. Any firm fleshed fruit can be cooked over the open flame of a grill. It might be a little intimidating to think about grilling fruit, but using grilling baskets and sheets (available in many supermarkets and variety stores) works well for more delicate foods like fruit (and seafood, too). Another handy way to prepare fruits for grilling is to thread cubed pieces on skewers and then grill them that way.
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 the tenderness…well they will simply melt in your mouth. Grilling larger pieces of fruit will be easier than doing bite sizes. You can cut them 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 barely ripe bananas, peeled
- Extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ C honey
- ½ C freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 T lime zest
- 6-8 large, fresh mint leaves, jullienne sliced*
- 1 t poppy seeds
Heat grill to medium.
Mix dressing ingredients and set aside.
Prepare fruits and lightly brush them with EVOO.
Place on grill, (peaches and nectarines cut side down) and cook 4-6 minutes per side (until warmed and grill marked)
Allow to fruits to cool and then cut into bite sized pieces. Gently toss with dressing and serve at room temperature or chilled.
*to jullienne slice herbs, rinse the leaves, then stack individual leaves atop one another and roll tightly. Carefully slice thin strips of the rolled leaves.
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.