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VOL. 37 | NO. 29 | Friday, July 19, 2013

Celebrating summer with fresh fruits

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The first week in July holds many celebrations for the Bona Family. It marks our son-in-law Doug Baltzer’s birthday; Don’s brother Bob Bona’s birthday and the Fourth of July – our country’s Independence birthday! So, we celebrate! And most of the celebrations are in the warm, sunny outdoors. There’s no place I’d rather be!

For the Fourth of July afternoon, we headed over to another brother’s house (Don has seven brothers and sisters). Some of us enjoyed the warm summer day out by the pool, while others gathered around the island in the kitchen to nibble on several of the yummy appetizers everyone had made.

I was unable to make anything, but I did stop by a local store and grab some Cannolis. I wasn’t being lazy, I was just having a Murphy’s Law day. It’s Murphy’s Law that on any given holiday, when you’re supposed to be cooking for other people, your kitchen’s drain is going to stop up – so much so that you have to call a plumber in to get down and dirty.

That’s what happened with me. I put a load of clothes in the washer as I started working in the kitchen before starting my “wonderful creation” to carry along, but when the washer started draining after the first cycle, all the dirty water started bubbling and filling up both of my kitchen sinks.

I grabbed the Draino and a plunger and worked with the mess for a while, but that clog wasn’t going to budge. So much for my clean kitchen – and my housework. Now I had water all over the floor around the washer, a washer full of wet dirty clothes, two sinks full of grungy water, and dishes in the dishwasher that needed to be cleaned. And so much for my “wonderful creation!”

After my many unsuccessful attempts to move that stubborn “whatever” that was stuck in my drain, I decided I wasn’t going to let it ruin my celebration! So I cleaned up the floor, cleaned around the sink as best I could, shut the washer down, then turned out the light and headed to the store for one of their wonderful creations.

The next day, I called Roto-rooter, and it was even proving a bit stubborn for the plumber at first, but he finally got the upper hand, and now my sink is draining freely and the dishes and the clothes are clean.

However, back to the party and the yummy things we ate.

There are always delicious appetizers at family gatherings, and this one was no exception. There were cheese dips and chips, toothpicks with black olives, salami and cheese chunks speared on them, and fresh vegetables.

One of the appetizers I really enjoyed was the olive, salami and cheese speared on the toothpicks. They were easy and tasty. However, one of the desserts that was looking so good was one made by Jessica Bona: a fresh fruit tart.

She has always proved to be quite a good little cook at all of the family functions. In fact, both she and her sister are always bringing something yummy. Becca, her sister, is the one who brought the toothpick goodies.

The picture is of the fruit tart. The tart and the appetizers were both easily made and yet so elegant and impressive. Both were big hits with the family. Here’s Jessie’s recipe for this week’s article.

Jessie’s Fruit Tart

1 refrigerated pie crust

Press the pie crust onto the bottom of a pizza pan. If needed, roll out to fit the diameter of the pan. You might need to add part of a second crust to completely cover the bottom of the pan.
Bake as directed and set aside to cool.

Jessie’s filling:
1 can of vanilla frosting
Alternate filling:
1 package (8 ounces) of cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of milk
Assorted berries and fresh fruit: blackberries, blueberries,
raspberries, strawberries, fresh, sliced peaches, kiwi
Fruit glaze:
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch
1 1/3 of a cup of peach or apricot nectar
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish, if desired

To assemble after making the crust: If using Jessie’s filling, lightly stir the frosting, then spread it on top of the baked and cooled pie crust. If using the alternate filling, beat the cream cheese, sugar and milk until smooth and then spread it over the cooled crust.

To finish the tart, arrange the berries or fruit over the top filling. Refrigerate while preparing the glaze.

For the fruit glaze, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, nectar and lemon juice until smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir it for one minute or until it thickens. Let is cool, and then brush it over fruit.

Refrigerate for one hour. Just before serving, add dollops of fresh whipped cream if desired. Refrigerate the leftovers.