What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Heavenly Fruit Salad and Balsamic Vinegar | TahoeDailyTribune.com

What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Heavenly Fruit Salad and Balsamic Vinegar

Cal Orey

In the summer of 2006, I traveled to Southern California for a book tour at Barnes & Noble bookstores. I recall coming back in the car (I missed the plane) and was anticipating the adoption of my second Brittany. A 6-week-old pup was going to be delivered to me the next day. On the drive back to Tahoe I was brainstorming for the perfect pooch name.

The fresh fruit salad I enjoyed that morning at the hotel spawned memories of one of my fave films: “City of Angels,” which was based in Los Angeles. Seth, the hero (Nicholas Cage) is an angel fallen to earth. One unforgettable scene is when Maggie (Meg Ryan) is at her Lake Tahoe cabin and prepares the perfect fruit salad for Seth. And that vivid memory of her at peace in a place she wanted to be hit me: Seth was the suitable name for my new canine companion who would make my life complete as I was gearing up to go to the study and pen my next book.

Once again, I find myself writing another book. And while I have two Brittanys to keep me company in this solo and sometimes lonely profession, I’ve been craving an immune-boosting, pre-summer fruit salad. I’ve got the fridge stocked with plenty of pre-summer fruits, such as peaches, grapes, strawberries and pear, like in the bittersweet movie.

1/2 cup pears

1/2 cup grapes

1/2 cup strawberries

1/2 cup peaches

1/2 cup pears

1/2 cup pink grapefruit

Combine sliced and/or chopped fruit in bowl. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on fruit. Sprinkle with cinnamon and honey. Put in the fridge and chill. Serves 3 to 4.

Once cold, drizzle chocolate balsamic vinegar on an elegant white plate. Spoon a half to one cup of fresh fruit mixture on top. I have a bottle of chocolate balsamic vinegar. One tablespoon is a mere 20 calories, 0 grams of fat, cholesterol and sodium. It includes cocoa bean and sugar cocoa powder. As with red wine vinegar, the labeled contents aren’t the entire story. Balsamic vinegar, like its grape-filled counterpart, contains powerful antioxidants that protect against heart disease – and may even fight cancer.

So, pairing chocolate balsamic vinegar or regular balsamic vinegar with nutrient-dense fruits, you’ve got an easy good for you salad, great for warmer days ahead at the lake. This vinegar has a distinct, rich flavor. I’ve enjoyed regular balsamic vinegar, found at your grocery store, on vanilla ice cream at an Italian restaurant and it was heaven the first time.

Looking to pair your salad with something hot? Try a bowl of oatmeal or a toasted bagel (whole grain or cinnamon raisin are good choices). If you’re craving a decadent cinnamon bun but don’t have the time to make ’em from scratch, Cinnabons can be purchased at our spa resorts. And, of course, plain cheesecake can be found at your local bakery or frozen food aisle. Any of these sweet choices will be a perfect match with each bite of fresh fruit.

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