By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
I saw a warm-weather serving dish set online that I loved. The perfect pastels complemented each other, came in various sizes and were perfect for presenting a multitude of treats. The biggest delights were the edible bowls themselves.
The idea came to me not from a kitchenware site, but from a supermarket advertisement promoting a seasonal produce sale. I've seen carved single watermelons, and occasionally melons, used before as decorative baskets for fruit salads, but the photo lineup of the scooped-out halves of personal seedless watermelons, honeydews and cantaloupes of various sizes was even more inspiring.
The muted pinks, greens and oranges of these unadorned fruits next to each other was so pretty and appealing, it tempted me to fill them with more than just fruit salad for dynamic centerpieces to a warm-weather buffet table.
Following are a few ideas. All ingredients are to taste. Use a variety of sizes of melons for effect. Cut in half any melons you are using, scoop out flesh and seeds, leaving a colorful approximate one-inch border of the fruit between the rind and the inside of your "bowl
." Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for preparing homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it! Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since these are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations. They can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.
- HAM 'N' CHEESE 'N" MORE
Spread thin slices of ham with spicy mustard and top with a thin mixture of finely diced sweet gherkins and green olives. Alternate rolling slices of sharp cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack cheese around the ham slices. Decoratively stand up rollups within melon basket.
- THIS SALSA IS A STAR
In your favorite fruit salsa recipe that contains peppers, tomatoes and fruit substitute diced honeydew and cantaloupe for the fruit. Serve in a small melon bowl with crumbled feta cheese on top. Use store-bought or homemade herb crackers and spears of peeled jicama and unpeeled cucumber for serving.
- FRUIT FOR THOUGHT
Marinate chunks of melon (use a melon baller if possible) in passionfruit iced tea. Drain, shake in a large plastic bag with red pepper flakes, freshly ground black pepper and tarragon. Fill melon bowl with the fruit and decoratively drizzle with lemon or berry nonfat Greek yogurt.
- BROWNIE BITES WORTH A BIGGER BITE
Layer bottom and sides of melon bowl with store-bought or homemade brownie bites and crumbled chocolate chip cookies. Top with a mixture of melons, blueberries, sliced strawberries and chopped peanuts. Drizzle with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and sprinkles.
Lindsay Maitland Hunt, author of Healthyish
, has determined that satisfying home cooking should be good for you, but "not too good for you
," as her subtitle advises. This makes watching your own navel for weight fluctuations much more fun and tasty - and, as Hunt writes, easier to stick to. The recipe developer shows off her well-developed chops with innovative, simple flavor combinations, such as Banana-Avocado-Chai Shake; Red Lentil Soup with Cilantro-Lime Yogurt; and Pistachio Apple Slice Cookies.Lisa Messinger
at Creators Syndicate
is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes
(Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet
(Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.