Unique Ways to Use Summer Fruit

Biting into a juicy piece of fresh fruit on a hot day is just about as summery as you can get. There’s so many wonderful fruits in season this time of year, it really isn’t hard to get them in at every meal, and we don’t just mean in a smoothie, salad or as dessert. There are plenty of creative and interesting ways to use fruits in your recipes that you have probably never even considered before.


The chef instructors at L’École Culinaire have rounded up a few recipes to help get you thinking about alternative and unique ways to use fruits in your summer dishes. You’ll be amazed at the possibilities of what you can do!


Fontina + Blackberry Basil Smash Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

Makes 4 sandwiches



1 loaf of multigrain bread, cut into 8 thick slices

12 ounces of fresh blackberries

12-15 fresh basil leaves, chopped

6-8 ounces of fontina cheese, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil



In a large bowl, mash blackberries with a fork (be careful – they will splatter!) and stir in chopped basil. Heat an electric griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. Lay a piece of cheese on each slice of bread, then top with some smashed blackberries. Gently pick up 3 slices, brush some olive oil on the bottom, and place them on the griddle or skillet. Place the remaining slices on top, brushing them with olive oil too. Let each side cook for about 3-5 minutes.


Watermelon Gazpacho

Courtesy of The Food Network



1 large tomato, pureed

1/2 serrano chile

2 cups cubed fresh watermelon

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1/2 cucumber, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, plus more for garnish

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


In a blender, puree the tomatoes, chile, and 1/2 of the watermelon. Pour in the red wine vinegar and olive oil and pulse. Add the onion, cucumber and dill and season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Pour into chilled bowls and sprinkle with dill, feta, and remaining watermelon. Serve.


Grilled Skirt Steak with Fruit-and-Green Tomato Salsa

Courtesy of Food and Wine



3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sambal oelek

1 small spring onion or 2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 large green tomato, cored and cut into 1/3-inch dice

1 black plum, cut into 1/3-inch dice

1/2 cup fresh sweet cherries, pitted and quartered

1/4 cup pitted Niçoise olives, chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped basil

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons finely chopped sorrel (optional)

Kosher salt


2 lbs. skirt steak, cut into 5-inch lengths



In a large bowl, whisk the 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the red wine vinegar, soy sauce and sambal oelek. In a small skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add the sliced onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Scrape the onion into the vinaigrette and let the mixture cool. Add the green tomato, plum, cherries, olives, basil, parsley, cilantro and sorrel, if using. Toss well and season with salt and pepper. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred outside and medium-rare within, about 6 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice across the grain. Serve the steaks with the fruit salsa.


Interested in learning more about creative ways to use ingredients? Try one of L’École Culinaire’s public cooking classes, designed for the at-home chef. To learn more or to register click here.

How To Properly Store Coffee


Coffee has become a beloved morning ritual for people across the country.  For coffee lovers, it’s important to make sure that the freshest cup of ‘Joe’ hits their lips while they try to start their day.  It’s easy to find a perfect cup of freshly brewed coffee at one of the 55,000 cafes and coffee shops in the United States, but it’s not always feasible or convenient to do it every day.

Brewing that freshness at home is easier than you think and a lot of getting that primo caffeine hit actually has to do with how you store your coffee.  The chef instructors and coffee aficionados at L’École Culinaire have listed some tips below for achieving the freshest fix possible.

Whole Beans Are Best

For the really serious coffee lovers that want the freshest cup possible at home, it’s better to buy whole beans rather than pre-ground.  You’ll then need a grinder for at home use to grind the beans just before you brew.  When the beans have been broken down by grinding, the coffee oxidizes faster, that’s why whole beans are better for stored coffee.

Do Not Store Coffee In The Fridge Or Freezer

Do not store un-opened coffee of any kind in the fridge or freezer, that’s just asking for the taste level to decrease.  Also, because of how porous coffee is, it could absorb the aroma of other items in your fridge (like a stinky cheese).

Air-tight Plastic Containers For Storage

If your coffee comes in a paper bag, it’s best to transfer it into an air-tight plastic container and store in a cupboard out of sunlight.  This will ensure the coffee stays fresher, longer.

Tired of not knowing how to maintain ingredients in your kitchen?  L’École Culinaire offers numerous public cooking classes for the at-home chef to make understanding ingredients easier.  To register or learn more click here.