LivAbility Magazine

Edition 17 | Summer 2019

Chef Steve Norton returns with the perfect summer barbecue snack!

Story by Steve Norton
Photo by Sarah Farrell

Summer means more daylight hours to spend outdoors and also signals the arrival of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. Like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, mangoes, melons, peaches, nectarines, pineapple, avocados, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and squash.

They all offer a variety of flavors and health benefits. Fruits are full of antioxidants, vitamin C and manganese (a trace element that our bodies need to function); peaches are low in calories and rich in vitamin C; mangos are high in fiber, low-calorie and contain vitamins A and C; avocados contain more potassium than bananas and have heart-healthy monounsaturated fats; and, tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and folate.

Chef, Steve Norton, wearing a sky blue chef's coat sits in front of a table, smiling at the camera and displaying displaying his recipe for fresh summer salsa and a bowl of chips.

More often than not, preparing fruit and vegetables involves chopping, slicing and/or dicing. While many adaptive cutting tools are available online, one of my favorite tools is a rolling mincer. I also use Dycem discs (a sticky mat placed under the board) to prevent my cutting board from moving around. Food processors, food choppers and mandolins are also great kitchen tools for cutting. Mandolins are extremely sharp, so it’s important to be cautious when using mandolins.

Finding the adaptive cutting tool that works best for you depends on your dexterity, ability and strength. A great alternative to chopping your own fruit and veggies is buying them pre-chopped, which most grocery stores offer. If you have a caregiver or roommate, you can ask for their assistance in preparing chopped fruits and veggies, so they are readily available when needed.

A variety of cooking methods can be used to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables, like grilling, baking or sautéing. Many people associate summer with cooking on the grill, which is a healthy method of cooking. When grilling, remember to brush your fruit or vegetables with butter or your favorite cooking oil to prevent them from sticking. You can also spray cooking oil onto the grill grate prior to heating the grill. If you prefer, you can still get those great grill marks by cooking on an indoor grill pan.

Grilled fruit kebabs or vanilla yogurt topped with grilled peaches are delicious and healthy dessert options.

Salsa is a tasty way to combine fresh fruits and vegetables. It can be used as a dip or topping for fish, pork, chicken or your favorite salad greens. Try this recipe below for a taste of summer freshness!

All my best,

Chef Steve

A close up photo of a bowl of salsa is being garnished with cilantro.

Fresh Summer Fruit Salsa

Estimated Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes

Servings: 2-4

Ingredients and Instructions

  • 1 Tomato, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 Small avocado, de-pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 Mango, peeled, de-pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 Peach (firm, but ripe) de-pitted and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup strawberries, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red onion, minced
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • Kosher salt & black pepper, to taste

Optional Toppings Prior to Serving: Crumbled cotija or feta cheese, pepitas, or sunflower seeds. Mix all ingredients and chill until ready to use.

Steve Norton

Steve Norton

A native of Santa Ana, CA, Steve Norton has been in the hospitality industry for the past 30 years.  He attended New York’s prestigious Culinary Institute of America and has worked as a private chef. Steve loves to share his knowledge and expertise in healthy eating, including menu planning, managing a food budget, and cooking with fresh ingredients.

Read more by Steve Norton.