Every food blog needs an interjection of hilarity from time to time. Mine most often comes from kitchen mishaps: a soup explosion on the ceiling (be careful pureeing those hot soups in the blender!), a gray strawberry cheesecake (thank you aluminum springform pan), or a black bean pound cake (this deserves a post of its own...to be continued).
How sweet it is to instead have the merriment fall in one's lap with no effort and no wasted groceries.
It began innocently enough. I had bananas. I wanted fruit salad. Was there a unique spin on banana salad out there in the webosphere, waiting for some friendly blogging?
Oh, yes indeed. I have two words for you, foodie friends: Candle Salad.
Are you ready for a laugh? Then click HERE. Warning: you may want to move the children to another room.
Can you believe it? I nearly fell off my chair in a fit of giggles. The vertical banana...the cherry... the whipped cream, for heaven's sake! A bit of investigating and I discovered that this was a recipe developed in the fifties for a children's cookbook: Betty Crocker's Cookbook for Boys & Girls, circa 1957 (Here is the original illustration). Oh the repression... Mr & Mrs Cleaver had to sleep in twin beds, but the kids were busy making phallus salads. Kevin quipped the perfect headnote (apologies, its hard to escape the puns!): "It's like an ejaculation of flavor in your mouth!"
OK, I'll cut it out and get on with the cooking. And you thought I was serious. Ha! I am happy to burst that bubble :) I added a twist to my fruit salad after all, finding inspiration in the abundance of basil in our garden. I've been making a scrumptious Bon Appetit fruit salad with a mint syrup since graduate school. Why haven't I made it with basil before now? Oh my goodness, utterly fabulous. Next time, I'm doing all-basil instead of basil mint. If you're looking for another use for your basil besides pesto, this syrup is it. I'm going to make more today to add to sparkling water for a hot weather sipper.
Use whatever fruit you like or have on hand, but for heaven's sake, please slice the bananas!
Summer Fruit Salad with Basil-Mint Syrup
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves (or more basil if you want an all-basil syrup)
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
generous pinch of sea salt (optional)
6 cups assorted diced fresh, ripe fruit and berries
Optional: additional fresh mint and/or basil leaves to garnish
In a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice, agave nectar, basil, mint, lemon zest, and (optional) salt. Add the fruit to the bowl & toss to combine. Let stand at least 15 minutes (or up to 3 hours) to blend the flavors. If desired, garnish with additional fresh basil or mint leaves. Serve! Makes 8 servings.