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.
Thank you, so much, everyone, for the support--in sweet notes and copious votes--for my Cooking Light entry! I cannot begin to thank you enough!
Alas, I got the news via email last weekend that I had not won. Poop! Oh well, you win some, you lose some. I will say, though, that the winning recipe looks pretty smashing. Eggplant? Portobellos? Double cheese? And it's still "light"? Yes and YES. I am definitely going to make it once the weather turns cool again. That should be right around mid-December.
Umm...winter months. Winter was my least favorite season when we lived in Bloomington, IN for the graduate school adventures. I consider 55F "freezing", so you can imagine my complaints and general irritability when it was 10 degrees and I had to scrape half an inch of ice from my windshield each morn. I remember my bafflement of those who managed to look cute and carefree as they traipsed cross-campus: bright pink cheeks, jauntily-knotted scarves, adorable shearling boots. I was the Quasimodo to their Esmeralda-ness: frozen-featured, runny-nosed, and hunched against the wind with an overstuffed backpack to complete the resemblance.
I recall my Midwestern, mid-winter hideousness to drive home the irony of my new-found longing of the cooler months. Texas will do that to a woman. No complaints, though; I still prefer profuse perspiration and flip flops to numb extremities and ski boots. But I will return to full bon vivant status when the temperature drops below 100.
In the meantime, I am still hungry, so it's nothing but super-easy fare for the time being. Here's my new favorite: Ginger-Lime Brown Rice with Pinapple & Edamame. Cheap, fast, easy, healthy, and most of all, delicious. Bingo.
I served it as a side-dish to grilled pork tenderloin, but would happily eat it as a main dish if my resident meat lovers had other plans. Fresh pineapple has been fabulous the past few weeks: ultra-ripe with bright tropical and floral flavors. It's lush texture works so well with the slight bite of the edamame and the toasty flavor of the brown rice. I like plenty of lime and ginger here, but you can temper it to your preference. And it case it needs saying, it is a perfect midnight nosh (when you cannot put down a favorite read--i.e., Stieg Larsson mysteries!!!) or for lunch the following day.
Ginger-Lime Brown Rice with Pineapple & Edamame
I recommend making the rice earlier in the day (or night before). Then fogedabout it, chilling (or freezing--post cooldown--for up to a month). If you do not want to make and cool brown rice ahead of, use a package of frozen brown rice (yes, it exists! Not everywhere, but look to see if your store has it) or shelf-stable cooked brown rice (e.g., Uncle Ben's brand) as a shortcut.
1-1/4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups shelled frozen edamame (no need to thaw)
4 cups cooked, cooled brown rice
1-1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
juice and grated zest of 2 medium limes
In a large, deep skillet, bring broth, ginger, and soy sauce to a simmer over medium high heat; add the edamame and cook 8 minutes over medium heat. Add the cooked rice, and pineapple, toss gently and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is hot throughout, 3 to 5 minutes more. Stir in cilantro, lime juice, and lime zest and serve. Makes 4 main dish or eight side dish servings.