Family Recipe: Fruit Salad

The other day I was chatting online with a group of friends and I mentioned making fruit salad. One of my younger friends asked, “Can you send me the recipe for that?”

I’ve never really thought about writing a recipe for fruit salad, since I’ve been making it since I was a kid. It was always a staple at family dinners with my maternal grandparents. My Grandma was known to make a literal punchbowl of fruit salad for parties.

This recipe does not make a punchbowl full.  The nice thing about fruit salad is that you can put any kind of fruit into it, and if you don’t eat it all in one meal, it keeps in the fridge for a few days.

I change it up based on what comes in our CSA box each week, and based on which fruits are in season.

Grammie’s Fruit Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 Apples (any kind but red delicious, those are awful)
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 bananas (not overly ripe or they fall to mush)
  • 3 cups berries, your choice (I recommend 2/1 ratio, sliced strawberries and blueberries)
  • 1 ripe pineapple, cored and skinned. You can also use a can of pineapple tidbits in juice (juice drained off and fed to a kid) if fresh pineapple isn’t available.

Optional, but tasty when in season:

  • 1 cup fresh peaches, skin removed
  • 2 kiwis sliced, skin removed
  • 1 mango, peeled and removed from the pit/core

Note: I don’t like melon in my fruit salad. If you do, add 1-2 cups of your favorite melon (Cantaloupe or Honey Dew hold up well in a fruit salad).

Directions:

  1. Clean, Chop/slice all of your fruit (not needed for blueberries). I try to make each kind of fruit bite-sized, but a different shape. That way it makes for a nice presentation.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the fruit. If you omit the oranges, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and toss the fruit to coat. This keeps the apples from browning.
  3. Serve fruit salad cold as a side dish for any meal. If you like it spicy, serve it with Tajin on the side.
  4. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days in a covered container.

Talk Back: What are your favorite fruits to include in Fruit Salad? 

Family Recipe: Potato Cheese Soup

When I was a kid there was a local restaurant called Piret’s. They served delicious, fresh French food that was unpretentious. One of my favorite dishes to order was their Potato Cheese Soup. They published a cookbook, which my mom bought, and while she cooked a lot of things from the cookbook, the one that was most often made was their Potato Cheese Soup. In fact, to this day when you place the book on the counter, it opens to that recipe.

Today I present my take on Potato Cheese Soup. It’s easy to make, it’s filling, and it tastes sooooo good. Like most soups, it’s better the next day. It freezes well.

You can make it vegetarian by using veggie broth/stock. I do not recommend making it with non-dairy cheese (sorry vegans). You can make it Gluten Free by using GF 1-for-1 flour.

Potato Cheese Soup

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 cups chicken broth or stock (I recommend using stock-homemade is best, but I’m being extra)
  • 2 large yellow or sweet onions, peeled and diced
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, divided in half
  • 1/4 cup white wine (dry- don’t use sweet or cooking wine)
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tablespoons AP flour
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups cheese (I like medium cheddar, but you could use colby, or a sharper cheddar)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large stockpot, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter and saute onions until clear and slightly browned.
  2. Add potatoes and cook for 5-10 minutes until potatoes are slightly translucent.
  3. Deglaze the pan with white wine, make sure to scrape off all the yummy brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add all of the chicken broth/stock and bay leaves. Cover pot and cook on low for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through.
  5. In a smaller pot, melt remaining 2 T. of butter. Sprinkle melted butter with AP flour and stir until a paste forms over a low heat. The paste should brown slightly- DON’T BURN IT!
  6. Pour milk into the flour/butter paste and whisk briskly. You do not want lumps. Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens. This may take a few minutes. As the mixture thickens and there are no lumps, add the cheese slowly, about 1/2 cup at a time, until it is incorporated/melted into the sauce. Once the sauce with complete, remove from heat.
  7. Add the cheese sauce to the soup mixture slowly, stirring constantly. Once it is fully mixed, remove the bay leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. This step is optional but recommended. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender (like this one) puree the soup. Put back on the heat, and allow to simmer without the lid for another 20-30 minutes. This will give the soup some time to thicken up.
  9. Serve Soup hot with crusty French bread. Resist the urge not to eat it all in one sitting.

Makes 6-8 Servings