A fresh fruit and vegetable focused dinner

Happy Independence Day, everyone! Hope you are enjoying a fun weekend with family and friends. Today I decided to chill out and relax by going to the beach. Of course, just because of that it looks like it will rain. We need the rain so I can’t really complain about it.

Tonight I plan to watch the fireworks in Wellington. It has been a busy few days, starting with Ladies night out on Thursday, then driving to Miami on Friday to help my aunt celebrate her 89th birthday. I had my Independence Day BBQ yesterday at my mother’s house. I invited a date to join us so it was more than just family.

I decided to make a fruit and vegetable focused meal.  In that, I made a new salsa that I really liked for an appetizer. It was an Avocado Kiwi salsa served with Plantain chips from a recipe I found on Epicurious.com.

Kiwi is one of the super fruits. It seems like such a small unassuming fruit but in fact it has the highest density for any fruit of vitamin C and is higher in potassium than a banana or other citrus fruits. It is also rich in Vitamin A and E and the black seeds when crushed produce kiwi fruit oil which is rich in Alpha-linoleic acid, an Omega 3 essential fatty acid. They are also high in fiber.

I served the salsa with store bought plantain chips. I fudged some on this. Fresh plantain chips are the best, but due to time and my dislike of frying, I bought the healthiest store brand (which isn’t all that healthy!)

Dinner consisted of Shrimp, Pineapple and Vegetable Kabobs and a Brown rice and Wheat berry blend. I have mentioned both in previous blogs.

I wanted to do a red, white and blue dessert that was fruit based. In ice cream parfait glasses, I layered blueberries, low fat whipped cream (is that possible?) a little bit of shortcake (1 ½ shortcakes divided among 4 parfait glasses) raspberries layered with the other ingredients then topped with strawberries, a dollop of whipped cream and coconut on top. It was a nice, not too heavy ending to dinner.

After dinner my date and I went for a walk which ended up t be a 2 mile walk. Not planning to do that, I had sandals on. The soles of my feet now feel like someone took sandpaper to them! Still, it was a beautiful clear night and we enjoyed it.

Below is the salsa recipe. I have included the Fried Plantain recipe. In some areas it might be easier to find plantains fresh rather than the chips. You could use good old baked tortilla chips or less than healthy mixed veggie chips (yes, they have more fat than other chips!).

With all the fresh fruits available, I hope you will follow my lead and make a fruit and veggie focused meal this month.

Fried Plantain Chips
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lime zest
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
6 cups vegetable oil
4 very green plantains (about 1 1/2 pounds)
In a small bowl, combine zest, salt and cayenne. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels and set near stovetop.
Heat oil in a 5-quart pot set over medium to medium-high heat until a thermometer reaches 375º. While oil is heating, cut ends off plantains and use a sharp knife to score each plantain lengthwise 5 times. Place into a bowl of hot water and soak for 5 minutes before peeling. Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, slice the plantains into very thin (about 1/8-inch) strips. Fry strips 6 at a time, turning frequently, for 30 to 45 seconds or until golden. Remove using tongs or a spider and sprinkle immediately with salt mixture.
Plantain chips can be made several hours in advance. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to serve.
Adapted from Epicurious
Avocado Kiwi Salsa
2 kiwis, peeled and roughly chopped
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste
Gently toss together all ingredients, adding salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately.
Note: Since I was making this for a party, I tossed together everything except for the avocado and added it a few minutes before guests arrived.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups