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Food a La Carte

"Cooking With Cantaloupe"

Cantaloupes

"Cantaloupe For The Month Of July"

Well, the hazy, hot, humid days are upon us! July kicks off with fireworks on the Fourth and there's heat everywhere! How about some delightfully cooling cantaloupe recipes to help cool things down?

Cantaloupes are hands-down the most popular type of melon in the United States, but did you know that we know as a "cantaloupe" really isn't one? The melon with the netted exterior and wonderful aroma is actually a "reticulated muskmelon." Well, whatever you call them, I call them delicious! An average cantaloupe has only between 100 and 200 calories and is anything more refreshing than cold melon on a sweltering summer day?

As with any fruit, it's always a good idea to wash a cantaloupe before cutting into it. Simply scrub the exterior of your cantaloupe with a clean produce brush and rinse thoroughly with cool water. This will prevent any contaminants from entering your food. Always refrigerate any cut fruit and discard any fruit that has remained unrefrigerated for over two hours. Remember the mantra, "If in doubt, throw it out!"

Our first recipe this month is for quick and easy Shrimp and Cantaloupe Kabobs. I've been on a kabob-kick lately; they're just so easy and delicious! This time of year, I just can't get enough grilled food. The grill carmelizes and makes everything smoky-delicious and the kitchen doesn't get heated up, either...win-win! From start to finish, this recipe takes just over 30 minutes and tastes like it takes much longer. (If you're using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them for about an hour prior to using them on the grill. This will keep the skewers from burning.) It's easy to double this recipe and make more skewers, if you have a hungry crowd; just keep adding ingredients to the skewers.

As always, feel free to experiment with the recipe. Substitute your favorite protein for the shrimp; chicken would be a great substitute. You can serve the kabobs over basmati rice or couscous for an light, easy meal. Shrimp and Cantaloupe Kabobs make wonderful appetizers, too. If Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, no problem, these work great under the broiler.

Next, we have a light and delicious recipe for Cantaloupe Meringue Pie. That's right, this sweet pie features cantaloupe under that light and airy layer of meringue...this dessert screams summer! This pie is best made with very ripe cantaloupes, so this recipe is a good one to turn to if you find yourself with a cantaloupe that's a little past its prime for slicing and eating. You never want a cantaloupe to go to waste; their goodness is too precious!

We hope you have enjoyed reading these recipes and hope you will try them! Take advantage of the bountiful produce we have available now and incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into your cooking. Check back in August for more delicious recipe ideas with Food a la Carte!

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Shrimp and Cantaloupe Kabobs

 Shrimp and Cantaloupe Kabobs

Prep. time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 10 minutes - Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb peeled deveined extra large shrimp

MARINADE:

  • 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley

KABOBS:

  • 6 one inch cubes fresh cantaloupes
  • 6 white pearl onions
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 6 one inch pieces red peppers

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, brown sugar, white pepper, garlic, fresh oregano, & parsley ingredients in shallow dish.

  2. Add shrimp and toss. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour stirring occasionally.

  3. Cook onions in boiling water to cover 4 to 5 minutes or just until crisp tender and drain. Put on skewers alternating vegetables, cantaloupe and shrimp. Season with salt and pepper

  4. Discard marinade.

  5. Grill 4 to 5 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

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Cantaloupe Meringue Pie

Cantaloupe Meringue Pie

Prep: 1 hour; Bake time: 10 Minutes - Serves: One 9" pie (8 servings)

INGREDIENTS:

CRUST

  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground shortbread cookies (like Keebler Sandies)
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

FILLING:

  • 1 large very ripe cantaloupe
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar (increase up to 1/2 cup if your cantaloupe isn’t very sweet)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla

    TOPPING"

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 6 tbsp. sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together shortbread cookie crumbs and melted butter until the crumbs hold together well (you may need to add another tablespoon of melted butter if they don’t). Press evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9″ pie plate. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the crust starts to lightly brown on the top and edges. Set aside to cool.

  2. Turn your oven up to 400 degrees (F). Cut your cantaloupe in half and discard the seeds. Scoop out the pulp (a cookie or ice cream scoop works great for this) and put into a large saucepan.

  3. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil, mashing the cantaloupe as it heats to bring out all the juice. Transfer the mashed cantaloupe pulp to a food processor or blender and process for a minute or until smooth. You should have about 2 cups of cantaloupe, if you have more, set aside the rest for another use (like a granita or a sorbet). Pour the 2 cups of cantaloupe back into the saucepan.

  4. Mix together flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 tsp. of water. Add the flour and cornstarch mixtures to the cantaloupe and cook, stirring, until thickened.

  5. Separate your eggs, placing the yolks into a medium bowl and the whites in small bowl. Set aside the whites and let come to room temperature.

  6. Beat egg yolks until smooth. Add 2 tbsp. of water. Stir a little of the cantaloupe mixture into the egg yolks in order to heat the yolks gradually. Pour the yolk mixture into cantaloupe mixture. Continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the filling is thick and creamy and can coat a spoon.

  7. Remove from heat. Add in butter and vanilla and stir until the butter has fully melted. The filling should look like a custard or pudding and in fact you could transfer it to a ramekin and chill to eat it as such.

  8. Pour into the baked pie crust.

  9. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar together until frothy. Continue beating, adding 6 tablespoons sugar (feel free to use less if you prefer your desserts less sweet) gradually, until stiff peaks form. Scoop the meringue on top of the pie filling and smooth with a spatula.

  10. 10. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until delicately brown on top. Cool completely. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Store in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap.

ENJOY!