Cheryl’s Cuisine: June 2017

summerThere are some flavors you just can’t improve on.  Some of these include fresh, ripe, sweet, juicy  summer fruits and melons.   There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than cold, sweet, juicy watermelon.   You can serve it alone or in a salad, but it always brings a “pop” to your taste buds.   

NOTE:  You can sprinkle fresh fruit with grapefruit or orange juice in place of lemon juice to preserve freshness and color.

Let’s look at some ways to serve these summer delights:

Citrus Sections:

Arrange orange and pink grapefruit sections together on a plate and sprinkle fruit with Grand Marnier.

Tropical Fruits:

Prepare a compote of pineapple cubes, mango cubes and papaya cubes.  Sprinkle compote with coconut milk and top with flaked coconut.

berriesMixed Berries:

Combine strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and pitted fresh cherries.  Sprinkle berries with brown sugar.

Mid-Summer Salad:

Syrup:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
1 Tbsp. grated orange rind
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp. lime juice

Fruit:

1/2 watermelon
1 large cantaloupe
1 large honeydew melon
1 cup seedless grapes
1 cup strawberries
1 cup canned pineapple chunks, drained
Fresh mint leaves, optional

Mix all syrup ingredients together in a medium saucepan.  Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat; boil 5 minutes, stirring.  Let cool.  Seed watermelon.  Halve and seed cantaloupe and honeydew.  Scoop all melon flesh into balls.  Halve grapes.  Stem and halve strawberries.  Place prepared fruit and pineapple chunks in large glass bowl.  Gently mix.  Pour syrup over top;  chill before serving.  If desired, garnish with mint leaves.  Makes 10-15 servings.

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Palm Beach Gold:

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup shredded pineapple
1 1/2 cups papaya balls
1 cup orange segments

Whip cream, gradually adding sugar, until stiff peaks form.  Fold in marshmallows and fruit.  Pour into serving dish or individual cocktail glasses.  Chill well.  Serves 4.

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Paradise Fruit Salad: 

220px-PerfectStrawberry1 cup honeydew melon balls
1 cup chopped peeled peaches
1 cup cantaloupe balls
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp. honey

Mix honeydew, peach, cantaloupe, strawberries and almonds in a bowl.  Add the juice and honey mixture and toss until coated.   Chill, covered, for at least 30 minutes.  Makes servings to feed four people.

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Don’t knock chilled fruit soups if you haven’t tried them.  Years ago, my sister and I visited Germany where we fell in love with cold strawberry soup.

Strawberry Soup:

1 quart strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups dry white wine

Prepare berries; puree’ with sugar in blender.  Strain into a 3 quart bowl.  Whisk in sour cream, then half and half and wine.  Chill.  Serve in well-chilled sherbet glasses.  Garnish each with a half strawberry.  Serves 6-8.

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Chilled Cantaloupe Soup:

3 medium cantaloupes, halved
3/4 cup dry sherry
melon3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups orange juice
Mint leaves, optional garnish

Scoop pulp from cantaloupes, leaving shells 1/2″ thick.  Combine pulp, sherry, sugar and orange juice in blender. Blend until smooth.  Chill thoroughly.  Serve in cantaloupe shells. Garnish with mint, if desired.  Serves 6.

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Melon Soup:

1-8 oz. pkg. softened pineapple cream cheese
2 cups cantaloupe chunks
1 cup honeydew chunks
1 cup orange juice
1/4 tsp. salt

Puree’ all ingredients in blender until smooth.  Chill before serving.  Serves 4.

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Now, if  you’ve opted to serve just fresh fruit, here are two dips your guest will enjoy:

Kahlua Fruit Dip:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup Cool Whip, thawed
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup Kahlua

Whip together with beaters.  If desired, you can top with chopped peanuts.

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Amaretto Fruit Dip: 

1 pint sour cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
2-4 Tbsp. Amaretto

Mix all ingredients.  Serve as dip with assorted fresh fruits.

Farmer’s market voucher program

Farmers-Market.jpg

Lackawanna County senior citizens will once again be able to participate in the very popular local farmers market voucher program that has been a staple in our community for a number of years.     

The Lackawanna County Commissioners Patrick M. O’Malley, Jerry Notarianni and Laureen A. Cummings announced that the County’s Area Agency on Aging, in cooperation with the State Department of Agriculture, will be distributing Farmers Market Nutritional Program vouchers at senior community centers.

Under the program, each eligible senior can receive up to four $5 vouchers that can be redeemed at participating farmers markets and farm stands for fresh fruit and produce.  The program is a win-win for both consumers and farmers.  It gives senior citizens access to locally grown produce and directs shoppers to area farmers that they generally may not see on a regular basis.     

The County has 20,000 vouchers available for distribution.    

Those who qualify are Lackawanna County residents who will be 60 or older by December 31, 2016 and whose annual income does not exceed $21,978 for a single person, $29,637 for a couple or $37,296 for a three person household.  Proof of age in the form of a driver’s license or birth certificate must be provided along with proof of Lackawanna County residency in the form of a utility bill or a driver’s license.

Vouchers will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, beginning at 9 a.m. at the centers.  Seniors who are unable to visit a site may appoint a proxy to pick-up a voucher for them.  Proxy forms can be obtained at the Area Agency on Aging, local senior centers or online.

Distribution dates and sites include:

Friday, July 8:  Dunmore Senior Center, 1414 Monroe Avenue, Dunmore   

Monday, July 11:  Mid Valley Senior Center, Green Wave Heritage Apts., 310 Church St., Jessup

Wednesday, July 13: Jewish Community Center, 601 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton

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Any questions? Call the Area Agency on Aging at (570) 963-6740.