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March, 2009

A Lucky Irish Fruit Salad

By Dennis Linden

While the competing schedules of today’s busy modern family make it difficult to share a home cooked meal together, it is not impossible with a little planning and can even be fun.

Cookin with the Kids Image
Melissa’s encourages parents to find the time to gather as a family once a week for a dinner that everyone pitches in to prepare. It’s a great way to teach your children some basic cooking skills and, more importantly, cooking with your children will build memories that will remain in your hearts forever.

Each COOKIN’ with the KIDS feature will offer a simple, healthy and delicious recipe that can be prepared by a child or a group of children working together, under the supervision of an adult. Parents should always read through each recipe carefully to decide the division of labor based on age and ability as well as where help will be especially needed. Since some of these recipes are the kids’ contribution to a family meal, many of these articles will include suggested complimenting dishes from Melissa’s recipe archives for the adults.


Here’s a healthy, all green, fruit salad dessert for this month’s Saint Patrick’s Day meal that is also safe and fun. Meaning, it requires no knives to prepare the main ingredients and starts with a scavenger hunt! If you have the time, your kids’ culinary class for this one should start at your local retail produce department to let your kitchen helpers find and pick out the fruit ingredients. Bring along the recipe as your own personal check list, but ask your young assistants to gather all the green fruits that they can find. Each fruit represents an opportunity to point out what to look for in ripeness and quality.

Actually, it may be training time well spent; just think of all the time that would be saved if you could delegate the produce shopping to your sous chefs during future visits to the market. For now let them scour the produce department for the fruits, while you pick up the parsley, mint, cabbage and yogurt. Depending on the season, fruit availability will produce varying combinations of ingredients. Our recipe here uses the usual fresh fruit suspects that work well together when available. You may substitute or add any other item that your helpers are able to find as both of the dressings suggested for this dish will compliment most any fruit mix.

Here’s the safe part of this recipe, which is also a lot of fun; arm the kids with a wide selection of melon ballers of all sizes. This knife free recipe allows even your youngest sous chef to be an equal member of your prep team, though you may want to match your smallest helper with the smallest of melon ballers. The only items that will need adult assistance are slicing the avocadoes and the julienned cabbage; depending upon the age of your oldest, you may choose to do these tasks yourself. The rest of the ingredients are simply made into balls by your crew and then tossed into a big mixing bowl. The parsley and mint leaves can also be torn into smaller pieces by a chef of any age. While the simple dressing of low fat key lime Yoplait proved to be the tastiest formula tested during the formulation of this recipe, a mashed avocado and mayonnaise or Green Goddess dressing would also work, if yogurt is not popular in your household. St. Patrick’s Day is an infamous time for adult celebrations that are traditionally connected to a bit of consumption of another sort. At least here is a healthy “G” rated recipe that allows the whole family to be Irish for the day and one that your kids will, excuse the pun, have a ball making!

Shamrock Salad
Shamrock Salad
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
6 Kiwifruit
½ Organic Honeydew Melon
2 Organic Granny Smith Apples, made into balls with skin on
3 Hass Avocados
¼ cup Organic Parsley leaves
½ cup Mint leaves
3 cups Organic Green Cabbage (fine julienne into slaw)
¾ cup Key Lime Pie Yoplait, low-fat
3 Organic Limes, juice and zest
1 Organic Lemon, juiced

What Kids Can Do:
1. Make melon balls of kiwifruit, melon, apples
2. Juice limes & lemon
3. Coat apple balls with lemon juice to keep them from browning*
4. Separate leaves from stems of parsley and mint

What Adult Can Do:
• Slice avocados
• Julienne cabbage
• Zest limes

Preparation:
In a large salad bowl combine fruit balls, cabbage, parsley and mint, lime juice and ½ cup of Yoplait. Blend well

Plating:
Place several slices of avocado in center of plate (use half an avocado per person). Serve a scoop of salad mixing over the avocado slices and a dollop of the remaining Yoplait on top. Garnish with a few parsley or mint leaves. Culinary lesson opportunity: Hold out a few of the apple balls from the lemon juice to demonstrate the browning from oxidation that occurs when apples are treated.