Carol's latest book, Gluten-Free Cooking for Two, is now available. Designed for small households, each perfectly-proportioned recipe serves two people. You will eliminate unwanted leftovers and reduce waste when you cook right-size meals with the 125 recipes in this book. Enjoy!! Celebrate with me!!! Gluten-Free Cooking for Two has won two awards: named one of ten "Best Gluten-Free Cooking Books in 2017" by and won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Living Now Book Awards in the "Natural, Nutrition, Organic, Vegetarian" category.
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Watch for Carol on "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden," a PBS-TV show airing on your local PBS station during 2017-2018.

Join Carol at the National Western Complex, Expo Hall level 2 in Denver on April 21,10:30 am during the GFAF Expo Conference. See you there!

Grilled Fruit: Easy, Chic Gluten-Free Dessert

Grilled fruit is deliciously gluten-free.

Grilled fruit is deliciously gluten-free.

Last month, I had dinner at the now-famous Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail, CO. You may remember Kelly from a recent season of the Top Chef TV show, where she was a finalist.  Her Vail restaurant serves Colorado cuisine and the menu featured grilled Colorado plums for dessert. They were fabulous!

Naturally gluten-free, grilled fruit is a fantastic way to enjoy seasonal fruit.  You see it on many upscale restaurant menus. Why does grilled fruit taste so good? Fruit is basically made up of water and sugar. Grilling concentrates the flavors by reducing the water and caramelizing fruit’s natural sugars. Plus, the flavor of food is heightened when warm. Amazingly simple, grilled fruit doesn’t have to be dessert: you could serve it as a side dish, a garnish, or even an appetizer.

I am particularly fond of grilling pears, plums, peaches, and nectarines (and figs?when they are in season? I wish they grew here in Colorado!) because they are soft, cook quickly, and have a nice texture when cooked.  Plus, serving fruit for dessert moves us that much closer to fulfilling our quota for fruits and vegetables for the day.

Grilled Fruit Recipe

by Carol Fenster, author of 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes (Wiley, 2010)

Ripe, but firm fruit (pears, peaches, plums, figs, or nectarines?1 whole fruit per person)

Mascarpone cheese or cream cheese, slightly softened (about 1 tablespoon per person)

Honey, for drizzling (about 2 tablespoons per person)

Ground cinnamon (optional)

Fresh mint leaves, for garnish (optional)

[1] Make sure cooking grate is clean and well-oiled. Prepare grill to medium heat (you can hold your hand an inch over the cooking grate for 2 to 3 seconds).  Halve fruit; remove core or seed and place cut-side up on cutting board or tray. Brush with light, neutral-flavored oil such as canola or grapeseed.

[2] Using tongs, place fruit, cut-side down, on heated grill. Close the lid and cook until grill-marked and heated through, about 10 minutes (actual time varies by type and size of fruit so watch closely so you don’t char them). Halfway through cooking, use tongs to turn fruit by 90 degrees to make pretty cross-hatch grill marks. Carefully remove fruit from heat and place on serving plate.  For shinier fruit, brush immediately with more oil or honey. Top each half with tablespoon of mascarpone or cream cheese or sour cream, then drizzle with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon, and garnish with sprig of mint. Serve warm for best flavor.

Tips from Carol

[1] Serve grilled fruit over vanilla ice cream and include crisp gluten-free cookie for nice texture contrast. Sherbet or martini glasses make pretty serving dishes.

[2] Serve grilled fruit on slices of Boar’s Head blue cheese or chunks of feta cheese or slices of Parmesan or Swiss cheese for savory contrast.

[3] Arrange grilled fruit on tray (as in photo) and let guests choose from an array of toppings, such as cheeses, yogurt, whipped topping, honey, etc.

[4] The larger and denser the fruit, the longer it takes to cook. Figs cook quickly because they are small and porous; pears take the longest because they are bigger and more dense. Peaches, plums, and nectarines are somewhere in between. Check doneness of fruit while it is grilling by inserting toothpick from the side (rather than stabbing with a fork) so you don’t mar or squash the fruit.

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