Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Keeping It Light


Fruit for dinner is one of my favorite treats and especially apropos for the humid evenings her in the Deep South. The fruit is cool, light and refreshing and only take minutes to prepare a plate. I like to make it fancy and pick a variety of fruits to please my palette and dress them up on pretty plates to match the tropical vacation feel of the meal.

Another plus is that there are so many fruit and veggie vendors locally that on the way home from work I can usually get a bag of fruit that is right on the cusp of ripe to rotten for pennies. And … I read the other day that fruit at this point in its lifecycle has the most antioxidants, so it’s cheap and healthy.

Today I got my mitts on some bing cherries, strawberries, pineapple and grapes, but any grouping will do. Since it stays warm here pretty much all year round, except for those 10 days from January through March, anything in season fits on this plate. You can also spruce it up cheese, cold cuts or salami, crackers, maybe even a sweet cream or chocolate sauce (or one of my favorites – Nutella, which pretty much goes with anything.)

And what to drink with such a lovely meal? I prefer an incredibly chilled Pinot Gris or Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc, but a fruity herbal ice tea works great as does some soda water with lemon or lime.

Then just nibble away. One of the other things I like so much about this kind of treat is that it is a slow meal. Something you savor as you think or read. It really isn’t meant to be gobbled up like a burger or potato, but to be relished and appreciated. Of course, if Nutella is involved, gobble gobble (I may also try a pinot noir then).

Finally, after all my babbling, fruit plates are great for company. Everyone appreciates a plate of succulent fruit and you can give it an elegant twist with figs or dried dates. Give everyone little appetizer plates and full glasses of vino and everyone will think you are channeling Martha, or maybe someone more elegant. Add candles to the setting, put your dangling earrings on and Voila, instant South Beach class – well maybe not, since I don’t know if that statement is an oxymoron. But you can also take this to parties and it pleases the young and old alike, especially with the chocolate.

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