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Kale, Apple & Persimmon Salad

What do you think about fruit in salad?  Not fruit salad – but green salads with fruit in the mix.  I happen to love it and the combo shows up on our table often.

In the summer, peaches, nectarines and blueberries are some of my favorites; in the fall, apples and pears of course.  For winter, persimmons and pomegranate seeds are a nice touch, and come spring I can’t wait to add red strawberries to the mix.  And of course, a little complimenting cheese doesn’t hurt.

Here are a few fruit & salad combos from past posts:

Summer BBQ dinner

Spinach with peaches, blueberries and ricotta from a Summer Grilling dinner.

Kale & Persimmon Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

Shredded kale with apples and persimmons (with beer braised turkey tacos).

Quinoa and beet salad

Butter lettuce with quinoa, roasted beets and blood oranges.

Turkey Chili, Firecracker Cornbread & Raw Kale Salad

Raw kale salad with grated pear, parmigiano, toasted breadcrumbs and a lemon vinaigrette (with weeknight turkey chili).

weeknight dinner

Spinach with apples and blue cheese (and weeknight turkey burgers).

persimmon-and-pomegranate-salad

Super quick holiday salad with spinach, persimmons and pomegranate seeds.

And the fruit is equally at home in grain salads …

wheatberrysalad

like this wheatberry salad with beets, carrots, apples and cranberries.

What are your favorite fruits for salad (not counting the obvious veg-seeming-ones like tomatoes and avocado)?  Or do you keep it separate and stick to vegetables for the add-ins?

Watermelon-Ice

This might just be my favorite new trick for summer.

I love just about all summer drinks – lemonades, margaritas, moon safaris, you name it – expected for one thing.  The melting-faster-than-ever-ice that causes all these great drinks to be watered down way too quickly.  When the temps aren’t so hot, this never seems to be as much of a problem.

Enter watermelon ice (cubes).

Cut up a watermelon (or half) into medium size chunks and arrange on a single layer on a baking sheet.  Freeze uncovered until solid and then transfer to a ziploc bag or airtight container and keep in freezer or ice chest until needed. Can be made a day or two in advance.

These work best for drinks that don’t have a lot of other competing flavors, or where the watermelon would be an added bonus.  It doesn’t flavor the drink too much, as it isn’t muddled or pureed and added at the last minute, but I wouldn’t add ‘em to a say bloody mary.

Since watermelon is over 90% water, it makes for my favorite fruit cubes.  They keep your drink cold, non-watery, and when you are done, you’ve got a nice bit of fruit to enjoy, sangria style.

P.S. – Grapes work well this way too!

fruitpurees

I really don’t mean to be boring and predictable, always linking weather to what I eat (or drink), but I just can’t help it.  It has been over 80ºF here lately and so I am in a summer state of mind.  And to me summer = backyard BBQ’s and lots of fresh libations.  So, I am taking this weather to mean we should get a head start on those drinks.

One of my favorites for summer (and spring) is to make a big batch of fruit puree for an instant “specialty” drink.  You can use fresh fruit of course, but frozen is easier, cheaper and means you have to wait until actual summer to get peaches.

Just puree any frozen fruit of your choice (peach, raspberry and strawberry are my favorite – but keep them separate, this isn’t a smoothie) with a little bit of liquid (I use peach nectar for the peach version and simple syrup with the raspberries) to thin it out.  It’ll keep in the fridge for a few days, if you want to get a head start on things.

You won’t be disappointed … these unexpected additions to the bar (as well as the CB2 bottle decanters) were the (or rather, one of) the hit of a recent party.

A few ways to use fruit purees:

  • Pour a bit into the bottom of a champagne glass and top with bubbly of your choice for a bellini.  Have multiple flavors, instant bellini bar!
  • Jazz up your standard vodka-soda
  • With a bit (or more) tequila, Cointreau and fresh lime juice on the rocks for a fruit margarita that isn’t quite so embarrassing

makingpeachpuree

What drinks would you make with these purees?

strawberry and orange with ricotta

The Art of Simple Food really is that – an art.  I am constantly delighted and surprised when simple foods, prepared simply become much more than a sum of their parts.

After I made that lasagna, I had a sweet tooth and a basket full of strawberries, so I decided to skim through Alice Water’s book again (since it was out) and see what looked good.  I knew I wanted something easy – no baking or making, just really one step more than eating them plain.  I also wanted more than just letting them macerate in their own juices or tossing them in some balsamic – both great preperations, don’t get me wrong, but they weren’t wowing me that night.

Alice, not surprisingly, had the answer.

strawberry and orange

Marinate sliced strawberries in fresh orange juice.

Thank goodness the woman has been winning awards for years.  So simple and and obvious combination once you read it, but I can’t say I would have ever done it on my own.

I had two blood oranges in the fruit bowl that needed to be used, so I used the juice from those and sliced up some strawberries.  The recipe suggests adding a bit of sugar too, but I didn’t think it was necessary.  After letting it marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, I poured the strawberries and juice over a bit of ricotta that I still had on hand and it was a d.i.v.i.n.e. combination.

It would also be great with greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream, or just plain and served cold. In fact, plain and cold is what the book recommends.

I think now, regardless of the preparation, any time I make things with strawberries, I may have to add a bit of orange.

strawberries in orange juice

strawberries in orange juice with ricotta

pineapplefritterswithsugar

Whew.  What a nice little break.  I know I am a bit behind in wishing you a Happy New Year, but happy, happy all the same!

I am finally getting settled back in and unpacked from an extended holiday trip to California.  It was quite a wonderful adventure – sunshine in Los Angeles, revelry in San Francisco, and simple bliss in points in between.  We celebrated with friends, spent time with family, and had had more amazing meals than one should really have in such a short time!

pineapple

And so while I should be thinking of kale and cabbage soup, I bring you pineapple fritters.

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Fruitbowl

Want to snack better – the secret is in a fruit bowl.  When I keep fruit in the fridge, it goes in the bottom drawer and is often forgotten.  However, when there is a bowl on the counter, it disappears quickly.  In fact, I have had two plums since I snapped this shot.  If it wasn’t there, I for sure would’ve found cheese instead.

When days are super busy (as they often are), its so nice to have a healthy, easy snack within reach.  It’s not just for home too – have a smaller version on your desk at work.  Much better than the vending machine (most times, anyway).

Fruit2

Other benefits…

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ABOUT

Martha Stewart I am not -
I have no intention of
whittling my own table
and can handle a martini
like nobody's business -
but I do have lots of
great ideas on cooking,
entertaining, and living
that I want to share with you.

Together, perhaps we can find
ways to have a bit more fun!

Contact:
info{at}caitlindentino{dot}com

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