(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
If you and your grill have been “friends” for years, you might think you know everything there is about each other. Perhaps you’ve barbecued virtually every meat and vegetable imaginable.
Expand your imagination to include seasonal fruit and you and your family or guests are in for summer treats. As in the grilled strawberry salad that follows, it can take just seconds to make your mark (grill marks that is, while accentuating both the juiciness and flavor of fruits even more than when they are served chilled or at room temperature).
Following are some additional split-second ideas. Fruit should be ripe, but not soft. All fruits should be pitted or hulled, cut in half and grilled with cut sides down, for 30 to 40 seconds (unless otherwise directed in a recipe), or until grill marks appear:
- Once at room temperature, dice grilled nectarines and sprinkle over cooked, skinless chicken breasts along with curry powder, golden raisins, cooked fresh corn kernels and fresh or dried tarragon.
- Add grilled peaches to cooked oatmeal, along with honey, candied pecans, chopped dried apricots and shredded unsweetened coconut.
- Use grilled plums to top vanilla frozen yogurt along with splashes of dark chocolate sauce and pomegranate or cherry juice, pomegranate molasses or pomegranate or raspberry syrup.
Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun – and fast. The idea tips take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since there are no right or wrong amounts. These are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations, so whatever you – or your kidlet helpers – choose to use can’t help but draw “wows” from family members and guests.
THAI PAPAYA SALAD WITH GRILLED STRAWBERRIES
1/2 clove garlic
1 teaspoon chopped shallot
8 cherry tomatoes
1 cup (preferably Chinese) long beans, cut into 1 / 4-inch pieces
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons palm sugar or light brown sugar, or to taste
2 cups shredded green papaya
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, stemmed and cut into wedges, plus 6 large fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half (see Note)
1 tablespoon crushed roasted cashews
1 tablespoon chopped dried shrimp (optional)
Red chili flakes, to taste
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon finely slivered Thai basil leaves
1 teaspoon finely slivered mint leaves
1/4 cup shredded carrots
Yields 3 servings.
In a large mortar and pestle, or in a bowl with a metal meat mallet, mash garlic and shallot to a paste. Add tomatoes and beans; pound a few times to release juices. Add lime juice, fish sauce and sugar; stir gently to dissolve sugar. Add papaya; pound lightly.
Mix in the 1/2 cup of strawberry wedges, cashews, shrimp and chili flakes. Season with salt.
With a utensil, carefully place strawberry halves on a hot grill, cut side down, for 30 to 40 seconds, or until grill marks form.
Mound salad on a platter or 3 salad plates. Top with the grilled strawberries, Thai basil leaves, mint leaves and carrots.
Note: Fruit should be ripe, but not soft
-www.CaliforniaStrawberries.comQUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Sometimes pie recipes call for a double crust. “If you are using store-bought commercial crusts, which come frozen and only as bottom crusts, be aware that you can use a bottom crust as a top,” writes Robert L. Blakeslee in Your Time to Bake: A First Cookbook for the Novice Baker
. He continues: “Just let it thaw out until the dough becomes workable, then place it over the filling as a top crust or cut it into strips to create a lattice top.” Lisa Messinger 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.