Thursday, May 23, 2013

Papaya-Coconut Paletas + @OXO Summer Fruit Tools {#SummerOfThePopsicle}

Papaya-Coconut Paletas {#SummerOfThePopsicle} | www.girlichef.com
Now, as much as I love to complain about the sweltering heat of summer, I also have reasons for welcoming that heat.  Warm, plump, juicy fruits that dribble down your chin when you take a bite.  Icy popsicles that leave you with sticky fingers.  Glasses and bottles filled with refreshing cocktails that sweat right alongside you under the heat of the sun.  Even an Autumn-lovin' girl like me enjoys sand between my toes, sunshine on my shoulders, and the sound of the waves lapping up to the shore while I hide my eyes behind huge Jackie-O shades, enthralled in a good book.

I melt at the sight of a plant hung heavy with ripe tomatoes.  Give me a basket and a blueberry bush, and I'm as wide-eyed as I was when I was 10.  And I'll admit that the purple stain a half an hour of mulberry picking leaves on my fingers and my palms is a sight I crave when there is snow on the ground.  Give me a radio and a swimming pool and you may not see me for the rest of the day.
Summer Fruit Tools from @OXO | www.girlichef.com
Speaking of summer fruit, I tend to get lost in the wonderland of rich shades of the rainbow.  I pick so from the fields or the garden until my bags and buckets are overflowing.  I raid the farmer's market, and even the produce department like it's going out of style.  Or out of season.  I love the local fuzzy peaches, the ruby cherries, the blueberries the color of a fresh bruise, and the grapes that slide right out of there skins when you pinch them.  But I also cannot resist a spiny pineapple, or a  bright green-fleshed kiwi with it's smattering of minuscule seeds and scratchy skin, or the vibrant hues of the sweet mangoes or papaya so tender you can eat it with a spoon.

This obviously means that I need a few fun gadgets in my kitchen arsenal.  So, when given the opportunity to try an awesome array of Summer Fruit Tools from OXO, my cheeks starting tingling in anticipation of all of the fruit to come.
Summer Fruit Tools from @OXO | www.girlichef.com
Here's a rundown of the OXO Summer Kitchen Tools that I tried, and my thoughts on each one:
  • Ratcheting Pineapple Slicer: I'll admit, I've always wanted one of these.  Let's just say that it didn't disappoint.  It's extremely easy to use and you get that fun spiral of perfectly cored, spiral-sliced fruit once you're done ratcheting.  It's not essential, I mean, I can cut up a pineapple like it's nobody's business, plus, if you just want chunks or wedges, this won't help you.  However, if I'm in the mood for a spiral, I'm excited to have this tool to pull out of my holster.
  • Strawberry Huller:  I have a couple of different styles of strawberry hullers, but none like this.  It's easy to use, and it'll get the kids helping in no time.  It works well, but I'm probably more likely to reach for my paring knife.
  • 2 Piece Fruit Scoop Set:  These are great.  I like the heft and comfort of the handle and the size of the scoops themselves.  They are great at scooping seeds from a melon (and I'm thinking a pumpkin in the fall), plus they do a good job of scooping the fruit cleanly from the skin.  They're very useful, again, it depends on how you want your end-product to look, as to whether you should use one or not - diced or sliced neatly cries out for a sharp knife.
  • Mango Splitter:  This is cool - and again, something I've always wanted to try out.  It's ridiculously simple to use - one good push and you've got yourself two sides of a mango sliced clean from the pit. It does leave a fair deal of "meat" on the pit, but in this house that's a bonus - people scramble to be the one who gets the pit to suck on.  It's sharp, but I'm thinking if your mango was a little too much on the far side of ripe, it may get a little squished when you first try to get the blade to cut through the skin.  Worth it though, if you are uncomfortable with cutting a mango.
  • Cherry (& Olive) Pitter:  My favorite gadget of them all.  Have I ever mentioned that cherries are my absolute favorite fruit in the world?  I already owned a cherry pitter which worked perfectly well, but what I really like about this one is something so simple, I didn't even think about it before I saw it, the "splatter shield".  Pitting cherries can be a messy job - especially when you're pitting a few pounds worth of sour cherries for a pie or cobbler.  The shield actually stops the splatter.  Very cool.  If you get one gadget all summer, get this one.  It'll also come in handy for pitting olives.

Now...what to do with all of that beautiful peeled, pitted, scooped, hulled, and sliced fruit just ripe for the taking?  We ate a lot of it out-of-hand.  Some went into smoothies.  A few cocktails were enjoyed.  And if you know me at all, you know that a batch of popsicles had to make its way into my freezer as well.

Papaya-Coconut Paletas

by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: n/a
Keywords: dessert snack vegan coconut papaya July 4th Memorial Day Labor Day popsicles summer

Ingredients (10 (2.5 oz.) Pops)
  • 11.5-12 ounces fresh papaya
  • 10.5 fluid ounces coconut water (with or without pulp)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded, unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon papaya seeds (OPTIONAL - SEE NOTE)
Instructions
Place all of the ingredients except the shredded coconut and papaya seeds into the jar of a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a large measuring cup with a spout. Stir in the shredded coconut.
IF you are using the papaya seeds, drop a few into the bottom of each of the popsicle molds. Fill the molds with the mixture. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or until solid, adding the popsicle sticks at the correct time for your particular mold.

note:
Papaya seeds are completely edible, HOWEVER, they have a very distinctive, almost peppery flavor. My kids and husband HATE them. I'm okay with them, but I actually preferred my paletas without. You might want to just put a few into one or two to try them out. If you do put them in, and wind up not liking them, they're very easy to just spit out...especially if you're eating them outside.
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Summer Fruit Tools from @OXO | www.girlichef.com
WHICH OXO SUMMER FRUIT TOOL WOULD YOU LIKE BEST? WHAT WOULD YOU MAKE WITH YOUR SUMMER FRUITS?

I received these OXO Summer Fruit Tools at no cost to try and review, as I wished. I was not compensated for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own.
Summer of the Popsicle 2