I was in New Jersey all of last weekend for Father’s Day, and Saturday I got to spend some time with my friend Vikki — a fellow journalist and food blogger, who writes for Jersey Bites. She is also an amazing cook.
Like me, she enjoys getting a bunch of ingredients and creating something. Unlike me, she is really, really good at coming up with exotic combinations you wouldn’t think of.
We spent a majority of the day Saturday cooking and creating some fun dishes centered around grilling, fresh fruits and vegetables and several mystery ingredients. I brought two mystery ingredients — a whole coconut and a kiwi. Vikki brought acorn squash. Needless to say this was an adventure.
Have you ever tried to crack open a fresh coconut? Um, yeah…you don’t want to. We had to use a screwdriver and hammer to finally get it open. Need I say more?
We decided to use it in an antioxidant fruit salsa that was absolutely amazing, and took seconds to make. It had mango, kiwi, coconut, peaches, papaya, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, fresh lime and several other fruits. Vikki had the great idea to cut thin whole wheat sandwich rolls, coat them with butter, sprinkle them with sugar and cinnamon, and bake until they were crispy. They made great “chips” to serve the salsa with.
|How colorful is that salsa?!|
We also made a peach pie from the new Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, which Vikki was reviewing, and I will link to when it’s published. I swear we should have videoed our adventure, because in addition to our first experience with a coconut, it was also our first experience making pastry dough from scratch for this pie. Here are some pictures of the pie.
Although I told her over the phone, I’m pretty sure that when Vikki found out I had never eaten a fig before, she almost fell over. So, she made sure to have some on hand for me to try. They were the dried kind and I quickly became a fan of the fruit.
We used the figs to make one of four grilled pizzas that came out with the perfect mixes of sweet and savory.
There was traditional mozzarella with homemade tomato sauce, figs and honey goat cheese with balsamic vinegar, grilled apricots with honey goat cheese and an orange reduction glaze and a mascarpone, blueberry, mango with a raspberry sauce pizza. So.Absolutely.Yummy.!
In addition, she made a really easy grilled “salad.” She took a romaine lettuce heart, cut it in half, drizzled olive oil on it and put it on grill for a minute or two. Then she sprinkled fresh grated Parmesan cheese on it, followed by fresh squeezed lemon. So simple, yet so good.
It was an exhausting day of cooking, but so much fun! Do you get your friends together and cook? If not, you should try it, it’s really a whole lot of fun!