Chef Alyssa Shares Her Tips For The Best Summer Desserts – And A Recipe

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Alyssa Wilen

Alyssa Wilen of Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen, stopped by to share tips for our favorite season and to give us a crazy-good melon recipe. You’ll want to bring this to your next picnic or party – trust us.

Alyssa: There are so many great things about being outside in the sunshine during the summer! From BBQ’s to festivals and entertaining, food is a driving force in our get-togethers. I love teaching and creating recipes for light summer desserts, so I wanted to share some ideas you can incorporate for easy treats.

1. Macerated fruit with ice cream. Add a pinch of sugar and balsamic vinegar to some berries, then marinate for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. The sweet-tart flavor is perfect with some smooth vanilla ice cream.

2. Substitute coconut cream for whipped cream. It doesn’t need any added sweetness (or maybe just a dash of honey) and it can be frozen to top some grilled or fresh fruit. Note: check out your local Asian market for coconut cream vs. full fat coconut milk. It’s creamier and you won’t find the added junk or thickeners.

3. Homemade granita is super easy to make, and it can be spiked with a spirit of your choice. Puree fruit in a blender such as watermelon and lime, then place in a baking pan and freeze. Every 30 minutes for 2 hours, you’ll need to scrape with a fork to create the icy texture.

4. If you’re grilling out, I love making a grilled peach crisp. Make a granola or simply use your favorite bagged granola. Grill peaches and then place them into a cast iron skillet. Drizzle with honey and add a little butter then sprinkle on your granola. Cover the grill and turn it off once your savory food is served and let the residual warmth of the grill finish the cobbler.

5. Add fresh mint! Anything that can trick your palate to taste sweet without too much added sugar is a great thing. Here is a recipe for my refreshing melon salad, it’s the perfect summer treat!

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Summer Melon Salad
Serves 6 to 8
1 small cantaloupe
1 small honeydew
1 large cucumber
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp. honey
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
¼ cup mint and basil leaves, chiffonade
1. Cut the top and bottom from the melons. Sit on the flat side and remove the exterior of the melons by slicing around following the curve. Cut in half and remove the seeds; set aside.
2. Peel the cucumber.
3. Using a mandolin slicer, create ribbon strips from the melon and cucumber. When slicing the cucumber, slice around the sides in order to not cut into the seeds.
4. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice with the honey, olive oil and salt. Sprinkle in the herbs
5. Toss the melon and cucumber with the dressing.