Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Fruit

Today it was announced that some sliced apples are being recalled due to the possibility of listeria contamination that were distributed to some fast food chains. Now, of course this is but another reason to stop eating at these kinds of food outlets but apples in summer? Yes, I know there are varieties of apples that ripen in the summer, like the Lodi, but these are sour apples. It takes the cooling of autumn to bring in the crisp, crunch of a Jonathan or Fuji. This the season of the peach, plum, blueberry, watermelon and cantaloupe if that is not enough of a selection try a raspberry, fig, blackberry or apricot. Almost every region in this nation has some fruit, weighted with maturation and full of sweet, juicy fabulousness wanting for you to bite in.

And, most fruits that we eat require no cooking, and a few asked just to be peeled then seeded. The vines in my garden are chockfull of watermelons and cantaloupe swollen by water and heat. This my second year growing both of these, and really my first year having planned to have cantaloupe. You see, last year I had a volunteer that relieved its self mid-summer and how could I say no to it. I figured it most be of strong seed stock to have pushed through the tilling, and weeding (perhaps not so diligently on my part) to make it to maturity that I saved the seeds for one. I have had half cantaloupe almost every morning for the past two weeks; gave some way to eager hands and even cubed some for a place in the chest freezer.

I still have a couple of watermelons in the garden and a couple sitting on the dining room table, and I am a waiting, finger crossed, for my blackberries. I will eventually get to apples but that is not for at least another month, and at that time I will be willing to slice my own. 

Cantaloupe Salad – yields 6 servings
½ cantaloupe – seeds discarded, and peeled
½-pound cucumber (approx. 2) - peeled
1-red bell pepper
1-yellow bell pepper
4-ounces ricotta salata cheese
1 small red Thai chili – minced
1/3-cup mint leaves – chopped
¼-cup Thai basil leaves – chopped
1/3-cup fresh lime juice (from approx. 1 large lime)
2-tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Dice the cantaloupe, cucumber and bell peppers into ½-inch squares, and place in a large work bowl.

Cut the ricotta salata into ¼-inch cubes and add to the cantaloupe. Mix in the Thai chili, mint, basil, lime juice, olive oil and black pepper into the cantaloupe to thoroughly to distribute.

Refrigerate for an hour before serving. 

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