By Jean Redstone
Look at a watermelon. Whether the little round beach ball ones or the gigantic wrecking ball ones, a watermelon looks like a lot of food.
And the packaging isn’t lying. In the dog days of August there’s nothing more cooling for your insides than the insides of a watermelon. They specialize in refreshing.
But too often the watermelon is seen as slices on a plate, chomp chomp and gone, when, with a little effort, it can be the life of any summer party. Try these recipes for picnic or BBQ and watch the delight spread.
Light, refreshing, with sweet, salty, sour and minty tastes
5 C cold seedless watermelon, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 C feta cheese, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 C Kalamata olives
3 tbsp salted pumpkin seeds (optional)
2 tsp fresh mint, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
Divide and arrange the ingredients between 4 plates. Grind a bit of fresh pepper over the salads.
Dressing 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp orange juice
Combine the vinegar and orange juice. Sprinkle evenly over the salads and serve. Tip: Feel free to customize to taste: Add cucumbers, pineapple chunks, dried cranberries, fresh red or yellow pepper slices…watermelon goes with practically everything!
Low-cal frosting transforms the melon into a cake
1 small watermelon
½ C Greek yogurt (plain or flavored)
4 tbls water
2 tbls honey
Sprinkles for garnish
Slice the watermelon in 1 inch wide round slices. Cut circles using a circle cookie cutter and place on a tray. Stack 2 or 3 circles together for each “cake”. Mix Greek yogurt with water to loosen it a bit. It should be creamy but thick enough to be piped on the watermelon bites. Add in honey and mix well. Spoon sweetened yogurt into a pastry piping bag and pipe about 1 tablespoon of it onto each bite. Makes 6-8 bites more or less, depending on size of watermelon and “cake”. Refrigerate the bites for about 15 minutes. Garnish with sprinkles before serving.
Tip: Substitute a fresh peach slice or blueberries for sprinkles and take advantage of another local crop.
Delicious and cooling but make ahead – takes time to freeze
3 cups watermelon, de-seeded and cubed
3 tbsp sugar
¾ C water
zest from 1 lime
1 tbsp lime juice
Place cubed watermelon in a large plastic freezer bag and lay bag flat in your freezer for at least 4 hours. Add water and sugar to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until granules dissolve. Set aside and let completely cool. Keep in fridge until watermelon is frozen. When ready, mix frozen watermelon, lime zest, lime juice and cooled sugar water in a blender or food processor set at high-speed Process until you are certain mixture is smooth. You might need to use a spatula to intermittently scrape down the watermelon. Pour into the freezer-safe container you will be serving from and place in freezer. Freeze for another 2 hours, minimum. Scoop and serve. Garnish with fresh mint leaf, if desired. Makes 4-6 one-half to three-quarter cup servings.