Tasting Friday, 5/05, 5:00 -6:30pm
Imagine yourself wandering through a field of knee high bushes, basket in hand, searching for the small glimmer of red in the wide expanse of green leaves. Ah ha! A strawberry! You pick it and place it in the basket with the other beautifully bright strawberries. The sun is warm on your back and the smell of sweet fruit is circling the air along with the breeze. The next berry you find you promptly pop into your mouth, wiping away the strawberry juices that always seem to make it to your chin.
Nothing says summer like the taste of sweet strawberries, especially here in New England, where you can’t consider it a real barbeque if there isn’t the token strawberry shortcake! This perfect little fruit has been around since before we can remember but gardening of the plant only started in the late 18th century in Brittany France. For centuries the fruit has been used for medicinal purposes such as decreasing cardiovascular health, decreasing inflammation and has been found to have anticancer properties. These wonderful traits come from the large amounts of Vitamin C, manganese and phytochemicals (free radical fighting nutrients). This heart shaped fruit also contains small amounts of unsaturated fatty acids that are found in the achene (seed) oil, making them a heart healthy food!
Today we have Thomas Wosley to thank for the ever popular strawberry and whipped cream power couple. This great man was part of King Henry VIII’s court and created the strawberry and cream combo, so for that, thank you oh so berry much!
Strawberry & Arugula Pizza
Adapted from amindfullmom.com
1 (16 ounce) large flatbread or Naan-style bread (or 1 pound homemade pizza dough, rolled out and prebaked at 400 degrees for 10 minutes)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
1 ½ cups fresh arugula
2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Brush the flatbread or pre-cooked dough with olive oil. Spread out the slices of mozzarella evenly over the flatbread. Spread the strawberries over the cheese and sprinkle with the feta and rosemary.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.
- Top with arugula and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Ahh, cantaloupe…the most well known and enjoyed melon in America. These fruits are most often seen in a bright, colorful fruit salad, but they can be so much more than that! The cantaloupe we all know and love is actually called a North American muskmelon, but is referred here as a cantaloupe because the seeds originally came to North America from a town called Cantalupo in Italy. I guess we should thank the Italians for bringing us this gift and the recipe we present here today will do just that. This recipe is a cantaloupe mozzarella bruschetta and it is just what you need to use up the rest of that large melon in an interesting way! It takes the sweet cantaloupe and pairs it with savory components to step up the fruit game and give it a starring role.
To get started on this recipe, it is important to know how to choose a good cantaloupe. It is best to choose a ripe melon by its smell, weight, and rind. Choose a melon that is heavy for its size. When you push on the end where the stem was, it should give a little and should have a sweet, slightly musky scent. The rind of a good cantaloupe should have raised netting, the small spiderweb-like veins that run all over and should have a gold tint, it should not be green.
One cup of cantaloupe only has about 55 calories, due to its high water content. This is why it is such a refreshing summer snack. Along with all that hydration, cantaloupes also contain over 100% of your daily vitamin A needs which help with eyesight, immunity and skin health. It also has 98% of your daily vitamin C needs which is an antioxidant, helps with wound healing and immunity and also helps your body absorb the bit of iron that is found in the melons. The seeds are edible and also contain omega-3 fatty acids which are good for cardiovascular and cell health.
So grab your cantaloupe and get started!
Cantaloupe Mozzarella Bruschetta
Adapted from countrycleaver.com and foodiecrush.com
1/2 cantaloupe, skinned and diced
8 ounces mozzarella, diced
1/4 cup basil, chiffonade
1 loaf French baguette, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Honey to your desired sweetness
Balsamic vinegar to drizzle
Salt and pepper to taste
- Slice baguette and toast in oven if desired (if using a day old or very crusty baguette you can skip this step).
- Combine diced cantaloupe, mozzarella, and basil in a large bowl. Add olive oil, honey to desired sweetness, salt and pepper to taste and toss gently to combine.
- Top baguette pieces with mixture and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.