Story by Lori Ross
|Photo: Lori Ross
I am addicted to Farmers Markets….I go to every one that I see, I buy tons of gorgeous produce and cook up a storm! Since there are only two of us, even after eating our 5 a day and entertaining, we often have an overabundance of fruit and veggies from the local farmers fields! So I have become a master at using up fruits and vegetables. I want to share with you 20 quick things you can do with fruit…as appetizers, sides, snacks or desserts, in 15 minutes or less…all tested and well received over the last 20 years of boating and entertaining!
1. Frozen Magic: Frozen Red, Black or Green seedless grapes served in a bowl of ice on a hot night.
2. Blue Strawberry Fruit: Dip fresh strawberries or grapes in sour cream and then roll in brown sugar (first tasted at Blue Strawberry restaurant in Portsmouth, NH) – just put a bowl of each, spoon some sugar and sour cream in a plate and let everyone dip and enjoy!
3. Minted Pineapple: Peel and slice pineapple; top with mint sugar (grind fresh mint into white sugar with mortar and pestle or fork), serve.
4. Hot Stone Fruit: Grill halved and pitted peaches, plums or apricots - top with a little brown sugar, grill for 2 minutes, turning half- way through cooking, add dollop of creme fraiche, whipped cream or yogurt.
5. Salt Apples: Slice unpeeled apples and sprinkle with a little sea salt (favorite of my Dad's).
6. Pepper Pears: Top ripe pears with a little fresh ground pepper and serve with a pungent blue cheese and shelled walnuts (candied nuts are nice too!)
7. Drunken Watermelon: Slice watermelon and drizzle with vodka, gin or white rum!
8. Hurricane Figs: Split fresh figs, fill with goat cheese, wrap in prosciutto and grill (on foil) for 2 minutes to melt goat cheese and heat prosciutto (I first made this on the grill when power went out during a hurricane at my home!)
9. Berry Cream: Top fresh berries with thick Greek yogurt (or sour cream) drizzled with a tablespoon of brown sugar or honey.
10. Patty's Favorite Breakfast: Take a whole cantaloupe, halve and seed it and fill with vanilla ice cream (my pre-school best friend's favorite breakfast!)
11. Iced Cherries: Mix cherries (Sweet, Rainer, Sour) in a bowl of ice and serve with hunk of dark chocolate on the side.
12. Tropical Wonder: Peel and slice papaya, mango, kiwi, star fruit, persimmon and banana; top with a few grinds of nutmeg; place attractively on platter with quartered fresh lime to squeeze on fruit; serve with champagne or sauternes and ripe, soft cheese (brie, Époisse, goat) and crackers.
13. Orange Amaretto: Peel seed and slice oranges and drizzle with Amaretto or other sweet nutty liqueur.
14. Bananas Foster: Halve bananas lengthwise, place on foil, drizzle with brown sugar, good rum and nutmeg and grill (in foil) or bake for 15 minutes on medium heat. Serve topped with ice cream or heavy cream and coffee spiked with rum.
15. 1950s Grapefruit: Halve, seed and top grapefruit with sugar; broil or grill until sugar melts, top with a Maraschino cherry and a drizzle of vodka.
16. Fruit Fondue: Warm chocolate or butterscotch ice cream topping and dip sliced, apples, pears, figs, banana, berries, shelled nuts or dried fruit in warm sauce.
17. Berry parfait: Layer berries and whipped cream in clear wine glasses ending with a layer of cream and a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg on top.
18. Fresh Fruits, nuts and cheese: Core and slice apples or pears thin, serve with thin slices of good cheddar, Swiss, edam, gouda, blue or parmesan cheese and shelled walnuts or pecans and serve on a pretty platter. Delicious with great with a dessert wine like port, Sauternes or red wine
19. Dried fruit, nuts and warm cheese: Take a whole brie, drizzle with mixture of honey, a little brandy and shelled nuts; heat in oven or microwave until warmed, then serve with crackers or bread, and assorted dried fruits (figs, dates, apricots, dried apple, crystallized ginger, craisins, raisins, dried cherries) - great with port or Madeira.
20. Rustic dessert platter: Place whole small apples, pears, clementines, cherries, apricots, peaches and plums with assorted unshelled nuts on a platter. Add wrapped, individual servings of cheeses (e.g. Laughing Cow or other tiny gouda, edam, goat cheese crottins) or sliced assorted cheeses and a basket of crackers or French bread. Serve platter as is and provide plates, napkins, nutcrackers, forks and knives (and a bowl for shells, pits and wrappers) and offer after dinner liqueurs and/or coffee for a lovely dessert. Let everyone crack, peel, pick and eat!