Watermelon, Figs and Feta

Watermelon, Figs and Feta

There are no real measurements for this simple salad. Cut some watermelon into one inch chunks and wash and quarter some fresh figs. Toss them in a bowl, sprinkle a bit of salt. Add a tablespoon or two of feta depending on your preferences and drizzle a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar on it. You end up with a pretty and delicious salad. The feta adds just the right amount of tartness and creaminess. The balsamic vinegar cuts the sweetness. You can’t really taste the salt, but you can taste how it brings out the flavor of the fruit.

Makes one serving.

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Grape Watermelon Salad

Watermelon and Grape Salad

 

This is a simple summer salad. I added 1 cup of chopped watermelon chunks and 1/2 cup of green grapes cut in half. I tossed in 2 tbsp of crumbled feta cheese, 12 tsp of mango nectar and a pinch of sumac. This has a lovely blend of sweet from the fruit, salt richness from the feta and high tart notes from the sumac. It takes 2 to 3 minutes to make and serves one.

Watermelon Rind Chutney

Pork Chop with Watermelon Rind Chutney and Roasted Veggies

I love watermelon. It is my favorite fruit by far. My parents used to have a video of my toddler self eating watermelon in the wading pool in just a diaper with watermelon juice running down my chest. There was a particularly hilarious one of me eating a slice that is wider than my head and tipping back to get a purchase and falling over. So over the course of a summer I eat my fair share of watermelon and always feel so wasteful throwing away all that rind. So I got it into my head to try making something with the rind. Just as an experiment. I read a bunch of recipes and they all made some sense to me in terms of flavor profiles, so I was ready to give it a shot. I decided on this recipe from Epicurious, but I adapted it to my own taste. It sounded sweeter than I would like so I increased the vinegar, decreased the sugar and added more heat.

Rind from a large watermelon, peeled and cut into strips.
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 cups lime-infused sugar (I make lime sugar by zesting 2 limes into 1/2 pound of sugar and baking at 250 for a few hours and then grinding it back into small pieces with the bottom of a cup.) You could just add lime zest independently.
2 TBSP minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped dried red peppers
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 TBSP black peppercorns, coarsely crushed with flat side of a large knife

Bring it all to a boil, simmer for about an hour until the watermelon looks transparent. Remove from heat and store in airtight container for a few days before using. It’s an amazing blend of sweet and tart and spicy heat. Very delicious. It makes about a quart or so, so I gave half away as a gift for a friend.

Serving Suggestion:

I pan-fryed a pork chop and added some of the chutney and served with some simple roasted vegetables. For the veggies, I just sprinkled a little olive oil on them, added some kosher salt and baked at 450 until the began to caramelize. I think it might make a fabulous sweet and sour sauce for pork or chicken with rice. It should be delicious with lamb kebabs and of course, almost any Indian food.

Watermelon & Feta Salad

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

This salad is inspired by Aarti Sequeira’s salad for Food Network, but I have changed it slightly.

I cut up 1 watermelon and 1 cantaloupe into 1 inch pieces. As I cut them up, I put them into my giant colander inside a large mixing bowl so that the juice dripped into the bowl. While removing the rind from the watermelon, I set it to one side to use for a watermelon chutney. I left the fruit to drain into the bowl for an hour.

Coming back, I poured the melon juice into a glass for a lovely glass of juice. However, I took 2 tbsp of the juice and put it in a small bowl with 1 tbsp of raw buckwheat honey and stirred and stirred and stirred until the honey was blended with the juice. I then juiced two limes into the bowl and 2 generous pinches of sumac. I cleaned and chopped about 1/2 cup of fresh mint and added it to the bowl. I mixed these together and dressed the watermelon. I put it all in a plastic container to marinate a bit.

When serving, I just spooned some salad in the bowl and sprinkled feta on top. I do not mix the feta in with the salad until serving because I don’t want it to soften in the dressing.

Watermelon is my favorite fruit. I honestly thought nothing could improve on watermelon. Watermelon is so delicious it hardly needs anything to make it better, but the tartness of the sumac and the bright mint and sour lemon and that hearty buckwheat honey are just amazing together and then the bit of feta. There really can be something better than watermelon.

Center Cut Pork Chop with Savory Cherry Sauce, Fennel & Red Cabbage Slaw and Watermelon Salad

Center Cut Pork Chop with Savory Cherry Sauce, Red Cabbage and Fennel Slaw, Melon & Feta Salad

This was actually tossed together in minutes. I made the savory cherry sauce a few days earlier. The watermelon salad was all done ahead and I simply added the feta at the last minute. Likewise, the fennel-cabbage slaw was made ahead.

I heated a cast-iron skillet to medium high, tossed the pork chop on and let it cook undisturbed for about 4 minutes, then turned it and let if finish cooking, about another 4 minutes. The secret to good, juicy pork chops (or any meat, really) is to resist the temptation to press on it with the spatula and to let it just cook without a lot of flipping. My mom said meat lost 1/4 of its juiciness every time it was turned and I believe it.

 

Watermelon Salad with Mint and Feta

Mint, Melon and Feta Salad

This is a delicious salad recipe I learned from Food Network’s show Aarti Party featuring the fabulously tasty food of Aarti Sequeira. Her recipe is on their web site here. I pretty much followed their recipe exactly except I added a bit more sumac and I mixed the honey into the lime juice before putting the juice on the salad. My honey is raw and wouldn’t just easily pour.

I love watermelon, so much so that I have resisted all watermelon salad recipes thinking that it’s silly to mess with the perfect food, but the flavor combination intrigued me. It’s such a perfect blend of tart from the lemon and a hint our sour from the sumac and the creamy tang of the cheese all with the luscious melons and the bit of bite from the limes. The sum is truly greater than the parts, it’s plain amazing.

 

 

 

Beef & Bean Tacos with Watermelon

For a quick and easy taco, I fried 1/4 pound of ground beef, breaking it down to small pieces. After it browned I added 1/2 cup of refried beans from a can. I put the remaining refried beans in a plastic container for later. As it heated, I added 1 slice of pepper jack cheese and 2 tbsp of green salsa. When the cheese was nearly melted I put three white corn soft tacos on a plate in the microwave and heated for 15 seconds so they were soft and tender. I put a couple spoonfuls of the mix on each taco, added a thin slice of cheese and cilantro leaves. I used 1 stem of leaves for each taco. The recipe makes 6, so you can either have seconds or make a second meal of it.

The watermelon is cut into chunks. I always cut up my watermelon so I can put it in a sealing bowl because I don’t like the filmy edge watermelon gets if it’s exposed to air for long.