Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sun-Kissed Fruits In Parade

One of the veritable delights of a Philippine-summer is the endless abundance of the sweetest tropical fruits.   There are over a hundred varieties you can find in the country’s orchards that can satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.   Take advantage of these sun-kissed fruits as not only do they do a good job of hydrating our bodies, they also pack a lot of essential vitamins and minerals.  There are so many ways to enjoy them – you can sink your teeth into the raw and succulent flesh, mix it with some ice cubes for a thirst-quenching smoothie, or use it to bake a fruit dessert. 
My kitchen has been very busy this summer; a witness to the colorful parade of the country’s sweetest and colorful tropical fruits.  The heat this summer is unbearable as it is, and I hate to heat up the temperature in the kitchen even more by turning on the oven, but I love to take advantage of the fresh fruit in season.  So the kids and I have been busy making no-bake fruit pies, churning out ice cream and blending refreshing smoothies.

Taking inspiration from DulceLin’s much-loved Mango Torte, I tried to recreate my own version but the kids couldn’t resist sinking their teeth into these golden yellow mangoes as they scooped them into balls, resulting to a less-than-plump pie filling.

Philippine bananas come in a variety of sizes depending on the province where they are grown.  The pocket-sized senorita from Cavite to the big Cavendish bananas from the Dole and Del Monte planatation in Bukidnon and Cagayan, respectively.  To make banana bread, the best bananas to use are the over-ripe Cavendish,  the ones with the skin almost black all-over, as they pack the most flavor.
We had an excessive surplus of bananas, that aside from the banana bread we also made Banana Cream Pie.

Nothing could probably make summer more evident than having the juice of the watermelon running down my kids’ chin as they take a bite off the watermelon wedges.   

A watermelon smoothie has the perfect cooling effect for the summer heat. We flavored our smoothie with syrup (made with equal parts water and sugar) and a sprig of freshly-picked mint.  
If there’s a summer fruit that makes my family wish that summer is here to stay, it would be the avocado!  

We enjoy this in many ways - scooped out in a tall glass and sprinkled with sugar and powdered milk in a layer;  blended and frozen into a popsicle, made into a velvety ice cream, topped with chopped pistachio nuts.