When in Mexico…

So I got to accompany my sweet and fun sister to Mexico last weekend for the wedding of some dear friends. Mexico in February is the place to be! It was absolutely beautiful! It was such a treat to jet … Continue reading

Missing Mayberry

I was invited to a Pie Social this past weekend. Have you ever been invited to a Pie Social? My baker threw it. (She LOVES pie!) The minute I received the invitation I was intrigued. I mean, a pie social. … Continue reading

Guinep Trees

I’m back from my vacation!  I had a really great time.  It was so good to spend time with my sister.  We tubed and kayaked in the ocean, soaked up some sun, got massages every day… Wait! I promised you food stories, sorry.

St. Lucia is an interesting place.  It is a volcanic island that has man-made beaches.  We stayed at a resort so, aside from fresh fish, we didn’t really get to sample local fare.  The resort tailored their meals to visitors.  We had a 2 hour drive from the resort to the airport, though and were able to get a mini tour of the offerings of the St Lucian jungle.  Bananas, Coconut palms, Cacao trees, Mangoes, even a nutmeg tree! Our favorite discovery was the guinep tree!  Amanda and I grew up in Panama and we ate guineps by the pound.  We haven’t been able to find them since being in the states.

We were thrilled when one of our waitresses showed up with 2 bags full for us one afternoon.  She stopped at the village market on her way in to work.  Amanda and I rushed back to our room eager to see if they were as good as we remembered.  They were!

What is a guinep you ask?  It is the strangest fruit.  It is the size of a large marble.  It has a very thin, strong, green skin.  You crack it open and squish the fruit out into your mouth.  It is really just a large seed covered in a juicy, peach colored pulp.  You have to suck all the pulp off of the seed then discard the seed.  I think it tastes like mango and pineapple.  My sister thinks it tastes like a grape.

Either way, it’s delicious.  We ate both bags and had so much fun remembering our times in Panama.  I love the way food evokes memories.  I hope everyone is having a memorable summer and making the most of these last weeks… Till next time!

Fresh Fruit Salsa

Believe it or not, I’m going on vacation!!  My sister is treating me to 5 days in St. Lucia.  (I don’t actually know where that is, but I’m packing the sunscreen and aloe!)  I have so much to do.  I have been so busy at work that I haven’t even had time to pack.  I’m nervous about leaving.  I’m not sure if I’m nervous about being missed, or about NOT being missed!  I have never been on vacation while the restaurant is open…

Anyway, all that to say, that I am leaving you with the fruit salsa recipe I have been promising.  I am also leaving you to the blogging skills of my good friend, Reid Johnson.  He is a fabulous drink concoctor.  I make him shake me up a chocolate martini every time he comes over for dinner!  His recipe is perfect!  He’s gonna share it and some helpful hints in the days to come!

I plan to return with new food ideas from the islands.  I’m sure they will inspire some fused recipes upon my return.  I promise to share them all!  Until next week…

Fruit Salsa:

  • ½ Can crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 pint blueberries
  • 1 Cup diced fresh strawberries
  • 1 peach, diced
  • ½ pint raspberries
  • ½ pint blackberries
  • 1-2 jalapenos, diced finely

Instructions

  1. Salt to taste
  2. Combine all of the fruits together in a bowl.  Add the finely diced jalapenos a little at a time to control the heat.
  3. Taste for seasoning and add a sprinkle of salt to bring all of the sweet and hot flavors together.
  4. This salsa is delicious over grilled fish or chicken or simply served with tortilla chips.  You can also pour the salsa over a block of cream cheese and drizzle it with honey.  Serve the cream cheese with crackers as a unique (and easy) appetizer.

Picking the Perfect Piece of Fruit

Picking yummy fruit can be a challenge. The summer makes it a little easier, though. Most fruits are in season during the summer months which makes choosing a good piece of fruit pretty well guaranteed. The best indicator of ripeness is the “smell test.” Fruit should smell the way you want it to taste. Color is also a good indicator. The darker the color of the skin, the riper the fruit inside is. Some fruits, like peaches and plums, will continue to ripen even after they are picked, but most will not. This makes choosing a good fruit at the time of purchase very important.

As a general rule, all fruits should be smooth and free of mushy, dark spots. (darker colors in a peel or skin are fine as long as they aren’t soft) Most fruits should feel firm to the touch while giving under slight pressure. You don’t ever want to buy a rock-hard fruit hoping that it will soften. If the selection doesn’t seem to have a riper choice, use that time to try a new fruit! Here are a few guidelines that I use…

  • Berries: should be firm and dark in color. These are most easily chosen by the smell test. Even pretty berries can be tasteless if they don’t smell delicious.
  • Pineapple: always go for a “gold” pineapple. You really can’t go wrong. No matter what, these always seem to be sweet.


  • Melons: These should be smooth skinned with no mushy spots. These also are best identified by smell. They should smell sweet. The exception is watermelon. (You can’t smell that until you cut it open) The thump test is the one I use. The melon should sound hollow and the rind should be dark green.

  • Stone fruits: they should be firm, while yielding to slight pressure. No mushy spots which might indicate abuse by a previous shopper. These fruits should also smell sweet. If they have no scent, they probably won’t taste like much.

I hope these helpful tips help the next time you are at the grocery store or farmer’s market.  You can put them to use when you make my spicy fruit salsa!  Stay tuned for that blog in the next week or so.