Fruit-tastic Appetizers: Fruit Recipe Ideas

August 2, 2010 9:40:37 AM PDT
Are you overwhelmed with how to use all of your fresh produce purchased at a local market? In Good Taste food blogger Maris Callahan has some tips on how to create some easy and quick appetizers using local fresh fruit and vegetables.

  • Summer is the perfect time to play with fresh produce.
  • Shopping at farmers markets can be overwhelming because there are so many produce options, but don't be intimidated by the variety.
  • Initially, stick to the types of fruits and vegetables that you like and talk to the farmers to find out what they'll be bringing each week. You can start planning recipes around their produce.
  • Once you've developed some ideas that you're comfortable with, you can branch out to try new-to-you fruits and veggies.
  • When you're cooking a recipe, don't be afraid to try new things. Be flexible with your cooking ? you can substitute fruits and vegetables in a lot of my recipes if you can't find a certain ingredient or if you see something else at the market that looks fresher.

TODAY'S RECIPES:

  • All have a 'Farmers Market to Table' theme with a fruit emphasis.
  • A lot of the fruit came from Michigan farmers (Michigan is the leader in producing delicious cherries and blueberries).
  • All of these recipes can be found on Maris' food blog, www.ingoodtasteblog.net which offers quick, healthy recipes and cooking tips for young professionals and new cooks seeking accessible meal solutions.

Recipe #1: Bruschetta with Michigan Peach Salsa & Brie

Recipe Tips:

  • Cheese and peaches available at all markets now and there are U-pick orchards in Michigan for peaches, apples, blueberries so if you want to make cooking/attending farmers markets a weekend trip, you can visit www.michigan.org for ideas.
  • Pairing sweet with savory is a nice way to keep your palate entertained.
  • You can serve leftover bruschetta topping as a sweet salsa as a unexpected dip for tortilla chips

Bruschetta with Michigan Peach Salsa & Brie

Ingredients:

  • 2 large peaches, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Dash of ground cayenne pepper
  • 8 ounces French bread baguette, cut into 24 slices
  • 4 ounces chilled Brie cheese, cut into 24 pieces

Directions:
Prepare salsa: In a medium bowl, mix peaches, bell pepper, green onions, cilantro, sugar, lime juice and cayenne pepper. Arrange bread slices in an even layer on a baking sheet. Top each bread slice with 1 piece of cheese; broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts and bread is toasted. Remove pan from oven. Assemble bruschetta: Top each bread slice with about 1½ Tbs. of the fruit salsa. Serve immediately.

Serves: 12

Yield: 2 bruschetta per person

Recipe #2: Cowboy Corn Caviar

Recipe Tips:

  • This is a great alternative to salsa, packed with plenty of fresh veggies with a Southwestern-inspired kick from the cilantro and lime
  • You can also serve it as a side dish at a cookout or over greens as a main dish
  • Very versatile

Cowboy Corn Caviar

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh corn, cut off the cob
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 avocado, cut into small pieces
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, plus 1 tbsp extra
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn, bell pepper, and zucchini and sauté for about 4-5 minutes until the vegetables are just cooked. Remove from pan and set aside. In a large bowl combine the sautéed vegetables, red onion, and avocado and gently mix. In a small food processor combine the lemon, cilantro and olive oil. Process for about 20 seconds until the cilantro is just cut down into smaller pieces. Drizzle this dressing over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle the last tbsp of fresh cilantro over the top and serve.

Recipe #3: Watermelon, Feta & Basil Salad

Recipe Tips:

  • A lot of people pair mint with watermelon but basil is a classic summer herb that adds bold flavor and refreshment
  • If you make this a few hours before serving the watermelon will absorb the dressing, which tastes great

Watermelon, Feta & Basil Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 8-lb seedless watermelon cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 cup reduced-fat feta
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves

Directions:
In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the watermelon, feta and onion and toss gently. Garnish with the basil and serve.

Recipe #4: White Strawberry Sangria

Recipe Tips:

  • On hot summer days, white wine in sangria is a nice alternative to red wine
  • Fresh berries give the beverage extra flavor
  • Freeze fruit juice or puree in ice cube trays the day before you plan to serve sangria. When they start to melt, they'll cool your drink without watering it down.

White Strawberry Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 1 750-milliliter bottle dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1/2 cup strawberry schnapps
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • Ice cubes Whole strawberries (optional)

Directions
: In a 2-quart pitcher stir together wine, strawberry schnapps, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add sliced strawberries. Cover and chill for 1 to 4 hours. Serve in glasses over ice. If desired, garnish with whole strawberries.

Makes: 5 servings.

To find more Farmers' Market recipes, visit www.ingoodtasteblog.net and for more information on Michigan and Chicago farmers market, visit: www.michigan.org and www.chicagogreencitymarket.org.


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