ThreeWay_Lychee_Feature web.jpg
Siiri Sampson 2011.
Such a fickle exterior, but a soft and perfumed flesh awaits. Totally worth the hassle.
As a born and raised American, the

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Exotic Three-Way for Summer With Lychee

ThreeWay_Lychee_Feature web.jpg
Siiri Sampson 2011.
Such a fickle exterior, but a soft and perfumed flesh awaits. Totally worth the hassle.
As a born and raised American, the mystery of the little-known (to me) lychee was something that always peaked my interest. Trying the different flavored Jell-O cup desserts with a hidden lychee in the center was a major treat, trumped only by my first experience with ice-cream-filled mochi. The candied or jarred lychee is basically the maraschino cherry of Asia--it's small, pitted, round, juicy, and only at the height of its season for a month or so. They're annoyingly difficult to get into, and so they are not a really seen as a staple in the kitchen, at least in mainstream America.

Over the past few years, and a handful of trips to Asia later, the mysterious lychee is proving to be much more accessible than originally perceived. With July turning the corner in to full-on summer weather and Seattleites daring to bare their pasty-white asses all over, it's only fitting that we peel back the nubby exterior of the lychee to reveal its porcelain-white flesh with three summer treats.

ThreeWay_Lychee_StuffedLychee web.jpg
Siiri Sampson 2011.
Pairing together all these fruits like a tropical deviled egg makes me want to throw a luau!
Decadent: Turning the traditional ladies' night appetizers on their head is a fun way to dress it up without adding too much fuss. This particular dish is deceivingly easy to prepare, but dangerously good. Be ready to think, and eat, outside the box with cream-cheese-stuffed lychees:

• Peel, pit, and halve the lychees. You'll know they're ripe by feeling some give--just like avocado, but softer.

• Mix together a bar of room-temperature cream cheese, chopped dried mango, and candied ginger in a bowl.

• Scoop dollops just like they were deviled eggs.

• Top with dried or preserved apricots (the preserved apricots can be found at Asian markets or health-food stores, and lend a bit of sourness to compliment the fruit,s natural sweetness).

• Drizzle with basil oil (made by pureeing and straining equal parts olive oil and basil).

They're small enough to pop three or four without realizing you just obliterated half the dish before your guests arrive.

ThreeWay_Lychee_FruitSalad web.jpg
Siiri Sampson 2011.
When it hits the right season, these South Pacific beauties speak for themselves. Just add a fork.
Healthy: One of the benefits of being on the West Coast is not only the plethora of fresh fruit we have here, but also being the first stop for so many Asian fruits and veggies as well. This time of year especially, the Northwest gets shipments of ripe lychees, mangoes, papayas, and rambutan (stay tuned in a couple of weeks for that treat!), and it'd be a crime not to sample them in their purest form--a fruit salad:

• Peel, pit, and halve the lychees.

• Add 2-3 other fruits of various textures: here we've used papaya (not quite ripe, but firm enough to add an alternative texture and flavor without being overbearing), kiwi, and white peaches. Also look for mango and fresh pineapple this time of year.

• Cut all fruits into equal sizes and shapes for best "on-fork" experience.

• Toss with a little sugar and let meld in the fridge for 30 minutes, all the way to overnight if you like. Here we coated the salad with a simple syrup instead (1 part water, 1 part sugar, combined over heat till melted, then cooled).

The best thing about making your own fruit salad, besides not having to eat the one covered in Cool Whip and mini-marshmallows, is that you get to keep the leftovers, and it's usually better on day two or three.

ThreeWay_Lychee_WhiteSangria web.jpg
Siiri Sampson 2011.
In less time than it takes you to hail a cab, you can mix up a homemade batch of hot-weather relief with this sangria.
Quick Fix: At the end of a long week, after being stuck inside in front of your computer screen while the sun finally has its way with your lawn, a refreshing drink is oh-so-necessary. Rather than taking time to grab a shot glass and cocktail recipe book and painstakingly measure each drink one by one, take our approach--just dump it all in together!

• Peel, pit, and halve the lychees.

• Chop up one large white peach, putting half in a pitcher with the lychees.

• Chop up a handful of mint and throw into pitcher.

• Add one can of lychee juice (or any other juice on hand)--about 12oz.

• Muddle all this together with any of the following tools: a muddler, an ice cream scoop, end of a rolling pin, a clean meat mallet, a wooden spoon.

• Add an equal part of white wine (we used a dry chardonnay to counter all the fruit). If you can't measure it, just eyeball it till your volume doubles.

• Finish in the glass by pouring half the glass full of sangria and the other half with club soda or a lemon-lime soda.

In less than five minutes you've got a whole batch that can cool in the fridge, while you soak up the last hour of daylight and commiserate with your friends about not having won the lotto yet.

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