Kitchen Shrink: Summer school for foodies


To keep you on your toes this laid-back summer, and help you get the best out of the season’s culinary and solar bounty, here’s a quiz on everything from barbecues and bugs to sunburns and stone fruits. Check out next week’s column for the answers.

• Multiple choice:

1. Watermelons, the quintessential fruit of summer

a) made handy canteens for early explorers

b) were native to southern Africa and had been known in India since prehistoric times

c) became seedless when the unpollinated flowers were treated with a specific acid

d) have even more cancer-fighting lycopenes than the mighty tomato

e) All of the above

2. Eating this leafy green packed with the powerful pigment Lutein creates an internal sun shield that not only lessens burning, but also protects optic nerves from sun damage, warding off macular degeneration

a) romaine lettuce

b) spinach

c) dandelion leaves

d) kale

e) b and d

3. This drupe (hard-stoned) fruit and member of the rose family, once known as the “Persian apple” has over 700 varieties with a poisonous pit containing hydrocyanic acid

a) plum

b) peach

c) nectarine

d) apricot

4. Although traditionally considered a savory winter herb, this aromatic summer attention-grabber is frequently tossed in the coals to infuse a woodsy flavor to lamb, chicken and fish, used as a stirring stick for cocktails, and a flavorful skewer for kebobs

a) thyme

b) sage

c) tarragon

d) rosemary

5. To ease sunburn pain, place this on tender spots

a) a cool milk compress

b) a concoction of strawberry juice and honey

c) a blend of cucumber and watermelon juices

d) an ice pack

e) All of the above

f) a and b

6. For a non-chemical bug repellant, especially for mosquitoes and chiggers

a) rub a cut onion on your skin

b) use a cinnamon-based spray

c) massage orange and lemon peels on exposed areas

d) dab chile peppers on pulse points

e) a and c

7. A distant cousin to the almond boasting more than 1,000 cultivated varieties, this stony seed with anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant properties was introduced to California by Spanish missionaries in the 1800’s

a) avocado

b) cherry

c) plum

d) peach

8. This sassy herb not only ratchets up alertness, but refreshes the palate in iced teas, lemonades and mojitos, sweet and savory salads, taboulehs, salsas and lamb dishes

a) basil

b) peppermint

c) cilantro

d) spearmint


• True/False:

1. Eating garlic not only repels the occasional vampire, but also bloodsucking mosquitoes.

2. The Heirloom tomato, the summer darling of caprese salads is a hybrid cross between an ugli fruit and beefsteak tomato.

3. To lessen the itch from pesky bug bites, soak irritated skin in a bath of salt water, then slather with vegetable oil of choice.

4. Antioxidant packed dark chocolate with cocoa content over 72 percent has been linked to protecting the skin from sunburn when consumed in moderate amounts daily.

5. Store raw and cooked foods separately in the refrigerator to prevent transference of bacteria.

6. Wash fresh berries before refrigerating to hamper the formation of mold.


• Fill in the blanks:

Use terms from this word bank: Hickory, pork, vinegar, cedar, medium-rare, oak, citrus-based, 145 F, marbleizing, alder, medium-well, pecan, carcinogens

Serenade with marinade your flat cuts of meat and chicken using _______ or ___— ______ liquids to tenderize, and put the skids on ______ that form during grilling.

Tame the flames to prevent eyebrows from singeing, along with assorted meats by trimming the fat or choosing lean cuts without______.

Walk the plank with natural hardwood cooking surfaces to infuse a woodsy, smoky flavor. Mild _____ and ____ pair well with delicate fish and vegan fare; more robust-flavored chicken or _____ are complemented by apple and _____ planks, while gamey meats are a good match with mighty ____ and ____ woods.

Ooo, temperature’s rising so remember to use a good quality meat thermometer to ensure grilled offerings are cooked through and safe to eat. Beef and lamb should reach an internal temperature of 145 F for _____, or 160 F for ______, while scaled fish is safe at _____, poultry 165 F.


••• Recipe: Stone Fruit Summer Salsa

Ingredients: 1/2 cup each of diced apricots, nectarines or peaches, and cherries; 1 avocado, diced; 2 tablespoons lime juice; 1 tablespoon cilantro or mint, chopped; 1/4 sweet onion, minced; 1 red pepper, diced; sea salt and chipotle hot sauce to taste.

Method: In a glass bowl, blend ingredients. Cover and chill. Serve with favorite chips or as a topping for burgers, fish or chicken.

— Catharine Kaufman can be reached by e-mail: