Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fruit Salad with Vanilla-Lime Dressing

School's out, summer is in full swing and the KC kitchen staff is more eager than ever to get to work.
I, on the other hand, am readjusting to the amped up summer house volume and the sheer exhaustion of fielding ceaseless requests to paint, set up the sprinkler, help practice piano, go to the park, walk to the library, recall the Spanish word for prairie (pradera, by the way), host a spelling bee, make popsicles, make worksheets, make popcorn, make playdough, put on a puppet show, demonstrate a proper cartwheel, and the dreaded...can we plug in the glue gun?

With the day spiraling into hot glue territory, it's time to act. Fast. So what's quick, simple, can be made from stuff you already have sitting on your kitchen counter and irresistibly enticing to a swarm of sunscreen-slathered, half-dressed ragamuffins armed with a glue gun?

Fruit freaking salad, baby.
Fruit Salad with Vanilla-Lime Dressing
inspired by The Pioneer Woman

For the dressing

1 cup granulated sugar
2 limes, zest and juice
1 cup water
1 & 1/2 tsp good vanilla extract (or the caviar of one fresh vanilla bean)

For the salad

1/2 medium peeled, pineapple, cored and chopped into chunks
1/2 small cantaloupe, rind removed, seeded and chopped into chunks
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 cups grapes, halved
1/2 pint blueberries
1/2 pint raspberries
1 handful fresh mint leaves

To make the dressing, combine the sugar, lime zest, juice, water and vanilla in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil, stirring until all of the sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool.
You'll be relieved to know that preparing a fruit salad requires no advanced training. Wash, peel, core, and slice fruit as necessary and put it all in a bowl. Use whatever fruit you have. Enlist your glue gun-wielding kitchen staff and go to it.
Pour the cooled dressing over the top of the fruit and toss everything together gently. Or if your staff has a case of the pickies, leave the dressing on the side and use it as a dip instead. Garnish the whole beautiful mess with mint leaves.
Don't forget to destroy the glue gun while their slurping the last of the juice from their bowls.

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