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WHAT’S COOKING?: ‘Flavor-filled’ recipes with summertime fruits

WHAT'S COOKING?: 'Flavor-filled' recipes with summertime fruits

Since spring, I have been writing about “flavor-filled” ways to prepare fresh vegetables and fruits from local gardens, roadside stands, farmers markets, local grocers … and of course, from your own yard or garden. Today’s “fruit combination” topic was spurred by enthusiastic readers’ comments. It seems all of our common goal is to enjoy this wonderful time of year as much as possible! I’m glad to “hear” that many of you — much like my family — are still enjoying squash, corn, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, cucumbers, melons, strawberries, blueberries and peaches and are always anxious for more what you refer to as “relatable” recipes.

Though the main season for spring-summer gardens will soon be coming to a close, many area farmers and “grow-your-own-fresh-food” enthusiasts will be planting fall gardens within a month or so. South Carolinians are so blessed to have a climate just right for growing our own food, or buying some that was grown in our state’s “sweet” soil.” That said, please feel free to use the following recipes now, and you may want to save them for future occasions. I hope you will enjoy them all and will benefit nutritionally.

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Layered fruit bowl

(You may add other layers of your favorite fruits if desired.)

2 cups slices of peaches that have been washed, pitted

2 cups seedless watermelon, cut from the rind and cubed

2 large ripe bananas, sliced (optional)

2 cups cantaloupe, cut from the rind, seeded and cubed (optional)

2 cups blueberries, washed, drained, halved

2 pints strawberries, tops removed, washed, drained, sliced

2 (6-ounce) cans frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1 or 2 kiwi fruits, peeled and sliced to garnish the top, optional

In a decorative glass dish, layer the fruit from the peaches down to the strawberries or vice versa (just don’t put the banana slices on top as they will change color). Be sure to drizzle the orange juice evenly over the fruit after everything has been layered. It is a natural preservative and adds a welcome splash of flavor. Cover the dish well, and allow the fruit to marinate in the refrigerator for two hours or longer. If you’d like, you may garnish the top with the kiwi slices before serving. This recipe makes 12 to 16 servings.

Peach-perfect tea cake

(You may use 3 cups of an alternate fruit if you prefer.)

1/2 stick butter (Land ‘O Lakes)

1 cup self-rising flour (White Lily)

3 cups fresh peaches, cut into thin slices and sweetened to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in an 8-x12-inch glass or metal baking dish. Remove the dish from the oven, but leave the oven on to preheat. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, milk and cinnamon until the ingredients form a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the baking dish on top of the melted butter. DO NOT STIR IT.

In a separate bowl, sprinkle the peach pieces with the lemon juice. Pour these fruit pieces into the center of the baking dish, on top of the batter. AGAIN, DO NOT STIR IT. Bake this tea cake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Always serve tea cake warm. It is yummy enough alone, but you may choose to top each piece with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, a scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream.

Peach ‘pie’ with self-made crust

(This recipe may be used with any fruit filling.)

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2/3 cup Butter-flavored Crisco

1 (16-ounce can peach pie filling or make an equivalent amount of sweetened, stewed peaches)

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer set on “low” to combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, egg, Crisco and water. Mix for about two minutes to form a batter or until well combined. Pour this batter into a very lightly greased 9×11-inch glass or aluminum pan and smooth the batter evenly into the pan. In a separate bowl, mix the peach pie filling (or an equivalent amount of sweetened, stewed peaches), lemon juice and pie spice or cinnamon until these ingredients are well combined. Pour this into the center of the batter. Do not stir this filling in with the crust! Bake at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the crust forms and becomes lightly browned.

Baked peaches

1/2 cup raisins or mixed dried fruit bits

5 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash, peel and slice the peaches into thick slices. Place the slices in a square casserole dish that has been “greased” with butter or margarine. In a bowl, combine the raisins or mixed fruit, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spoon this mixture evenly over the peach slices. Sprinkle the apple juice across the top of the dry mixture. Bake this dessert at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the peaches are tender. Serve this dessert warm on top of a nice slice of pound cake, with ice cream … or with cake and ice cream. This recipe makes four dessert servings.

Fruit slushie/smoothie

1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, peaches or other fruit

1 cup cold or frozen orange juice concentrate

2 cups fat-free plain yogurt

1/2 cup fat-free or 1 percent milk

For a “slushie,” use frozen fruit and frozen orange juice concentrate. For a “smoothie,” use almost-thawed versions of these ingredients. Combine all ingredients in a blender until everything is smooth. This recipe makes two large glasses of fruity goodness. (Remember you may use blueberries, peaches, strawberries or other of your favorite fruits.)

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