Summer fruits are plentiful this year with peaches, nectarines, plums, pears, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, and more.
I just came back from a wonderful two weeks in France dining on the French cuisine. Fresh fruits were used in every type of recipe and at every meal. Here are some of the tasty treats. I will be sharing recipes from the French in other columns also.
Just a note, during the summer it is good to eat foods that have a lot of water in them to help keep you hydrated. Watermelon, melons, peaches, cucumbers, and squash are some of these foods.
Plums are high in resveratrol, a compound also found in red wine which fights the signs of aging. When dried these plums become prunes and they lose 67 percent of their moisture to become prunes.
I won a Blue Ribbon for this salsa in 2013 at the Blueberry Festival.
½ medium red onion, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, minced
½ large yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped (Optional)
1 cup fresh blueberries, coarsely cut up
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons EVOO, olive oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Gently toss together in a bowl red onion, jalapeno pepper, yellow bell pepper, cilantro, and blueberries.
In another bowl whisk together orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, and olive oil, add salt and pepper, to taste. Pour over blueberry mixture and mix to coat evenly. Gently spoon into 2-half pint jars, chill for 4 hours and serve after it has set at room temperature for 20 minutes, Shake the jar to mix dressing with strawberry mixture. Serve with chicken, pork, shrimp or as bruschetta topping.
Watermelon, Blueberry and Romaine Salad
6 cups romaine lettuce, cut into bite size pieces
3 cups seedless watermelon cubes, about ¾ -inch
1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
½ English cucumber, cut into ¼-inch coins then cut crosswise in half
½ cup Vidalia or sweet onion, cut nto thin slices
1 6-ounce container Key lime pie yogurt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
In a large salad bowl toss together romaine lettuce, cucumber slices, blueberries, onion slices, and watermelon cubes.
In a bowl whisk together yogurt and sugar, add more if desired. When ready to serve the salad pour the dressing over mixture and gently toss until well coated. Serve immediately.
Tomato - Mozzarella-Peach Salad
3 ripe tomatoes, cut into ½-inch wedges
3 ripe medium peaches or nectarines – cut into ½ - inch wedges
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into ½- inch cubes or balls
¼ cup fresh sweet small basil leaves
2 tablespoons champagne or white vinegar
1 teaspoon white or regular balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons EVOO, olive oil
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
On a large shallow bowl arrange tomatoes and peaches in a circular design. Top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves.
In a bowl whisk together vinegars, sugar, and oil; drizzle over salad. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Plum Panzanella Salad
6 firm, ripe plums, cut into ½ - inch wedges
1 cup toasted bread cubes
¼ cup fresh sweet basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 English cucumber, cut into ½ - inch chunks
½ cup black olives
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbed
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
Champagne or white vinegar
In a large clear glass salad bowl toss together plum wedges, cucumber chunks, black olives, sliced red onion, and toasted bread cubes. Toss to mix evenly, top with feta cheese crumbles.
In a bowl whisk together 2-tablespoons champagne or white vinegar
1 - teaspoon balsamic vinegar, and 3-tablespoons EVOO, olive oil, and 1-teaspoon granulated sugar. Drizzle as desired over salad.
Nectarine and Cherry Clafoutis
A clafoutis (cla-foo-tee) is a rustic French baked dessert made with cherries in a custard-like batter. It is very easy to make and is very tasty. Various other fresh fruits may be used in the recipe.
Helpful Hint: Use a plastic straw to push out cherry pits through the top stem opening.
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 fresh lemon
Zest of one lemon, about 2-teaspoons
1 ½ pounds nectarines, cut into ½-inch wedges
1 cup fresh ripe red cherries, pitted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
½ cup heavy cream
Confectioner’ sugar for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a shallow 2 ½ quart baking dish with butter and lightly dust with granulated sugar.
In a bowl add lemon zest and 1- tablespoon lemon juice. Add the nectarines and cherries and 1-tablespoon granulated sugar and toss to combine.
In a blender combine eggs, milk, almond and vanilla extract, flour, salt, heavy cream, and ½ cup granulated sugar. Blend on high until mixture becomes frothy, about 1-minute.
Pour the fruit into the prepared pan along with any juices and pour the batter over the top. Bake at 350 degrees until just set, about 45-50 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes.
When ready to serve dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with whipped cream, if desired.
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup chopped pecans
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
¼ cup butter
6 cups fresh pitted red cherries
1 to 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 egg, room temperature
¼ cup milk
Vanilla ice cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a bowl stir together flour, 2-tablespoons sugar, baking powder, chopped pecans, and cinnamon. Set aside
In a saucepan combine the cherries, 1 to 1 ¼ cups sugar, cornstarch, and ¼ cup water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Keep filling hot.
In a small bowl whisk together egg and milk; add to flour mixture, stirring just to moisten. Pour filling into a 2-quart baking dish. Using a spoon, immediately drop topping into small mounds atop filling.
Bake cobbler in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into topping comes out clean. If desired, serve warm with ice cream.
Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.