Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer's Fruity Bites

I really don’t mind the fruit flies that show up every year around this time. My kitchen counter always has a bowl filled with plums, peaches, apricots and nectarines. In my refrigerator you can’t miss the half of a watermelon that gets slowly whittled down. I almost feel that I am pumping my body full of vitamins, and other powerful nutrients in order to survive the chilly, crunch of winter. I am starved for ripe fruit, and I just cannot bear anything from a conventional store. Most of the fruits have been harvested under-ripe, and then chilled just to make to the store’s display case hoping to seduce you into buying. Don’t! Why waste you time and money a two-bit hooker when true love waits for you on the local farmer’s stand. I am not aware of any summer fruit that prefers to be collected up under-ripe, and nor do I know of any fruit that will ripen once it is chilled below 65 degrees.

Sure if the fruit is ripe and fragrant refrigerate it – extend its shelf life by up to a week. I am all for that but, I will not; cannot, nor, should not suffer a mealy, tasteless nipple of fruit this time of year. After all, I am squirreling away nutrients so I can make it to next summer, and I want to enjoy the feast.

Summer Fruit Cocktail – yields 10 to 12 servings
1 bottle (750 ml) Proseco or another dry sparkling wine
1 bunch of lemon verbena – rough chopped
1/2-cup sugar
5 ripe peaches
5 ripe apricots
5 ripe plums
3 cups diced yellow watermelon

In a 2-quart saucepan bring the proseco, verbena, and sugar to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to it simmer for 5 minutes. Then remove from the saucepan heat, and place in the refrigerator to completely chill.

Remove the pits from the peaches, apricots and plums and then dice the fruit.

In a large work bowl add the diced peaches, apricots, plums and watermelon. Once the proseco mixture has chilled strain it directly over the fruit. Gently toss the fruit, and refrigerate to chill.

Serve in a martini or sherbet glass with a dollop of crème fraiche or yogurt.

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