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Mother Nature provides us with such taste delights that with just a little imagination and skill, you have delectable, creative, and extremely tasty dishes for family and friends. The smooth, velvety texture of cantaloupe is one of those very versatile fruits that gives us color appeal as well as a sweet, divinely appealing taste.

Most people use cantaloupe in fruit salads to add color to other fruit dishes. But cantaloupe can stand on its own and very well, indeed. Try some of these the next time you're in the mood for a special fruity dish with endless variations and good taste as well.

1 cup chopped cantaloupe with the rind removed
1 tsp. water
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tbs. lime juice
1 tsp. finely grated lime zest
In a small pan, simmer the fruit with 1 tsp. water until very tender. Cool to room temperature. Place all ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth. Use with grilled chicken or fish - Also create tropical pancakes with this fruity butter.

1 very ripe cantaloupe
1 quart milk
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
3 drops yellow food coloring
1 drop red food coloring
Cut cantaloupe in half; discard seeds and peel. Cut cantaloupe into bite-size pieces. In a blender blend the fruit and 1 cup milk until the mixture is smooth; set aside. In a pan sprinkle the gelatin over 1 cup of the milk. cook over medium heat stirring constantly until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in cantaloupe mixture, all the remaining milk and all the remaining ingredients. Mixture will look curdled. Pour into a 13x9: baking pan. Cover and freeze until partially frozen, about 4 hours, stirring mixture occasionally. Spoon the cantaloupe mixture into a chilled mixer bowl. At medium speed, beat until smooth, but still frozen; return to the pan. Cover, freeze until firm, preferably over night. To serve: Let sherbet stand a room temperature for 10 minutes before scooping. Garnish with mint leaves.
Remove rind from cantaloupe. Slice into rings. Place on glass plate and place a scoop of lime or pineapple sherbet in the center. Place a few mint leaves around the ring - Refreshing as a summer rainfall - but much tastier!
Remove rind from cantaloupe. Slice in rings, slice in half. Place on lettuce-lined salad plates and drizzle with French dressing and crumbled Camembert cheese.
Would you like to wow your guests? Cut a cantaloupe lengthwise into six sections with knife. Remove the seeds. Loosen the melon and cut it into small sections, but do not remove. Fill with fresh cut watermelon, ruby red strawberries, just-picked raspberries, tropical pineapple and a few kiwi slices. Place in center of plate. and surround with finger or tea sandwiches. or Cut a cantaloupe lengthwise into six sections with knife. Remove the seeds. Remove the fruit with a small knife. Soak the fruit in a light fruity
wine for about an hour. Replace the fruit and accent with mint leaves. Serve as a salad on watercress- lined small plates.
Peel the cantaloupe, cut in half and remove the seeds. Slice into small strips. Toss with prosciutto and serve as a meat accompaniment.
Or just serve plain. It is sweet, juicy, and smooth. Use cantaloupe to decorate your food, as well as a part of your meal, and even as dessert with ice cream or sherbet.
Take advantage of cantaloupe. This melon can be used as part of a picnic lunch or as an elegante entree at a "fancy" affair. However you serve it - .
©Arleen M. Kaptur 2002 May

Arleen Kaptur has written numerous articles, cookbooks, and the novel: SEARCHING FOR
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