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Tag Archives: watermelon

Watermelon Lime Popsicles

6 Jun

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As utterly boring as it is to hear someone drone on and on about the weather, it can’t be denied that, when you tend to base most of your cooking decisions on the current state of the weather, not thinking and talking about the weather can quickly become a rather taxing enterprise. Making the situation even more complex is the fact that spring in Portland can never make up its everloving mind about whether or not it is going to call for nine days of straight rain and wind, or a solid block of sunny 75 to 80 degree days. How is a person supposed to know what to cook when yesterday was a grilling day, but today is a hearty soup and warm bread day?

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What this is leading up to is the story of how I bought a watermelon when the weather was nice, but then, rather suddenly, the weather turned on me, lashing us with a week of 50 degree days that punished us with nonstop rain and wind. As everybody knows, watermelon is meant to be eaten on warm and sunny days, so there I was, watermelon at the ready, but in no position to partake of it.

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Eventually, as we hope (but never really know) it always will, the sun did come back out. In a city where 75 degrees is as good as 100 degrees, it was watermelon weather again, and I was determined to crack my melon friend open and get to slicing. Wedge after wedge of watermelon was enjoyed and, due to the pleasingly large nature of a watermelon, there was plenty of melon available to freeze into homemade popsicles. And not just any homemade popsicles, my friends—all fruit popsicles, with no sugar added, and only as many ingredients as the number of fruits you choose to squeeze into them. It’s like eating nothing but fruit, because, well, it is eating nothing but fruit, only frozen, and in a pleasing popsicle shape, which, as we all know, is what one does when the sun comes out.

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Last Year: Vegetable Biryani and Baked Brown Butter Oatmeal with Blueberries and Pears

Watermelon Lime Popsicles

4 cups of watermelon chunks, preferably seedless watermelon, but, if not, seeds removed

juice of half a lime

¼ to 1/3 cup fresh fruit of your choice, sliced into small pieces (I used kiwi, but I also like the sound of sliced strawberries or raspberries, or whole blueberries)

In a food processor, puree watermelon chunks until smooth and liquid. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl, using a flexible spatula to urge the puree through the strainer. Stir in lime juice.

Pour watermelon mixture into popsicle molds, filling the molds about ¾ full (I was able to fill 8 molds, with a bit of juice leftover for drinking directly from the bowl with a straw, a clean-up method I highly recommend). As you can see, I filled some molds all the way, in the interest of my son’s request to have some popsicles without fruit chunks in them. Do not place the tops on the molds. Place the molds in the freezer for one hour, until the mixture becomes slightly slushy. Drop bits of fruit into each mold, making sure the mixture does not overflow over the top of the molds. Place the tops on the popsicle molds, then freeze overnight.

To release the popsicles from the molds, run the base of the molds under warm water for about 10 seconds. The popsicles should release with ease.

Makes about eight 3-inch popsicles. Your number of popsicles will vary depending on the size of mold you use.

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Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad with Mint

16 Jul

This might be the ultimate summer salad. I know, I know—how can someone say something so definitive about a salad when the salad in question contains only one single vegetable? In a season of garden abundance, can such a simple salad really be labeled as representative of the entire season? Well, yes.

That is, if the salad in question contains fresh, juicy chunks of watermelon, crisp slices of cucumber, cool hits of fresh mint, and tiny little squares of salty, flavorful feta cheese. On a hot day, I can’t think of anything better to eat, really. Well, aside from a nonstop conveyor belt delivery of popsicles, but if you’re looking for something with a bit more nutrition and heft, you might consider this salad.

The thing is, perfect as I think this salad is, while I was making it I kept on dreaming up other things I could do to it. I held back—mainly because I was going to be serving this salad to a crowd that contained children, and I didn’t want to completely repel anyone (though pairing watermelon with cheese certainly won me a few suspicious looks from the under-12 crowd)—but while writing down the recipe for this salad, my mind kept wandering over to thoughts of adding a diced jalapeno or serrano pepper, or maybe a light dusting of cayenne over each serving. I also think adding a bit of crumbled chèvre in lieu of the feta would be just lovely. If your garden is bursting with basil right now, a combination of basil and mint would pair nicely in here, or maybe forget the mint all together and just go with the basil. I know I just said this salad was perfect (and it really is, I swear), but I like to think that perfection doesn’t limit itself to one single incarnation. So try this salad as is, in all it’s glory, or maybe go in a slightly different direction and spice it up a bit. You can’t go wrong.

Last Year: Cherry Almond Strudel–so many flaky layers!

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad with Mint Recipe

4 cups cubed watermelon

1 large cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, then sliced into half-moons

juice of ½ a lime

1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, stacked on top of one another then cut into ribbons

4 ounces feta cheese, cut into tiny cubes

pinch of black pepper or cayenne pepper

Combine watermelon cubes and cucumber slices in a colander set over a large bowl. Refrigerate and allow watermelon to drain for at least 30 minutes. At this point, you can leave the draining watermelon and cucumber in the refrigerator for several hours if you want to prep the salad ahead of time.

Remove drained watermelon and cucumber to a serving bowl. (You can either reserve the drained watermelon juice for another purpose, or just go ahead and do what I did: drink it, because it is so very delicious.) Squeeze the lime juice over the mixture, then sprinkle on the mint, feta, and pepper. Toss gently with a large spoon. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 10 people.

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