Arsip Tag: watermelon

watermelon cucumber salad – smitten kitchen

We’ve decided to spend as much time as humanly possible at the beach this summer, which has led to my other new favorite habit: grabbing a few cookbooks I’ve been meaning to go through and reading them en route. In the fleeting moments when the kids have limited their bickering in the backseat and the traffic isn’t too terrible, when I’ve been away from my laptop and the kitchen for enough hours that I’m ready to absorb new inspiration, I find myself more open-minded and curious to try new recipes than I am, understandably, in the thick of deadlines and or hangry o’clock, approximately 6:15pm when dinner is nowhere near done.

basically all you need

Two weekends ago it was Saladish, a cookbook from Ilene Rosen, who is the chef and co-owner of R&D Foods in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn and previously did a 15-year stint as the savory chef at City Bakery, creating a salad bar with a cult following. This book is a natural progression. “All of the food I really like to eat and make is saladish,” she says in the intro, something I immediately related to. To me, salads are meals and meals can be salads, and only a fraction of them really need leafy greens. Layers of grains or roasted or raw shaved vegetables plus something pickled or punchy and something crunchy and herby and a good vinaigrette; I ate lunch 15 minutes ago and I literally made myself hungry again typing that.

watermelon triangles

I struggled a little as the book continued because I kept running into ingredients I didn’t keep around, pappadum, green garlic, makrut lime leaves, Chinese preserved cabbage, pea greens, and honestly, this is barely the tip of the iceberg. There wasn’t a recipe that didn’t have something that required an extra grocery run (easy for me to get in NYC, but still, I am lazy, and even when I overcome it, I know you guys would appreciate me finding alternatives) but wait, come back. You see, the sun was shining in the windows, little puffs of popcorn clouds dotted a blazingly blue sky, the shore towns were approaching, and I decided to stop being such a curmudgeon and look beyond these sticking points, which in many places are merely accents or extras. And here, at the base of each recipe, I found a dozen things I couldn’t wait to make.

ricotta salata matchsticks

There is so much innovation and inspiration in this book, it would be a shame to miss it over a few shopping hurdles, especially if you’re looking to shake up your salad game. Salads are inherently flexible, tinkering is encouraged; if you can’t get or don’t want to track anything you see here down, make the parts that call to you. This is what I did and it wasn’t three days before I’d made the roasted and pickled cauliflower salad, fell in love with the charred summer squash salad (when you see it, you’ll understand), plotted a dinner with the Vietnamese-style tofu salad at the center very soon, and another with a grainy potato-cucumber salad, and told two people about the “I heart fennel” salad, an unapologetic fronds-to-bulb love letter to the unpopular (but not with me) vegetable.

layer it up
watermelon and cucumber salad

This watermelon salad, an updated take on classic watermelon and feta, is, as promised, nothing like the book’s version, which includes chysantemum leaves and shiso. I was so enamored with the toasted pepitas, matchsticks of ricotta salata (which is softer and a little mellower than feta), and triangles of watermelon (she includes a cutting guide for this, and many other, vegetables; I have utter confidence in my ability to cut up fruits and vegetables and still learned a few tricks). Fancy leaves? Nah, I used a thinly sliced cucumber; it holds up better in a salad anyway. Olive oil, sea salt, and many grinds of black pepper finish it and the result is so simple but so refreshing, an instant new classic for us I didn’t know I was looking for. Which, after all, is the point of a great cookbook, right?

watermelon and cucumber salad


One year ago: Grilled Pepper and Torn Mozzarella Panzanella and Crispy Spiced Lamb and Lentils
Two years ago: The Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie, Revisited and Charred Eggplant and Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad
Three years ago: Picnic Pink Lemonade and Crispy Frizzled Artichokes
Four years ago: Coconut Brown Butter Cookies and Pasta and Fried Zucchini Salad
Five years ago: Rhubarb Cream Cheese Hand Pies and Bowties with Sugar Snaps, Lemon and Ricotta
Six years ago: Asparagus with Almonds and Yogurt Dressing and Strawberries and Cream Biscuits
Seven years ago: Fudge Popsicles and Dobos Torte
Eight years ago: Rustic Rhubarb Tarts, Scrambled Egg Toast, and Strawberry Brown Butter Bettys
Nine years ago: Grilled Shrimp Cocktail, Graham Crackers, and Pesto Potato Salad with Green Beans
Ten years ago: Breakfast Apricot Crisp and Dead Simple Slaw
Eleven years ago: Zucchini Carpaccio Salad and Black-Bottom Cupcakes

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Endive Salad with Toasted Walnuts
1.5 Years Ago: Sheet Pan Spinach Quiche and Chocolate Caramel Crunch Almonds
2.5 Years Ago: Date Breakfast Squares and Parsley Pecorino Biscuits
3.5 Years Ago: Cranberry Pie with Thick Pecan Crumble and Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale
4.5 Years Ago: Cauliflower with Brown Butter Crumbs and Parsley Leaf Potatoes

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frozen watermelon mojitos – smitten kitchen

frozen watermelon mojitos – smitten kitchen

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There is no time like a heat wave to unlearn everything you thought you knew about watermelon. I don’t need to tell you that a slice of fresh watermelon cold from the fridge is one of life’s perfect things. But most of my attempts to bake with it or turn it into drinks, with this exception, have had limited success, because there is a mildness, a gentleness to watermelon that gets smothered under other things. “So, just eat it fresh and be done with it,” would be a reasonable, rational takeaway. The watermelon has spoken; it has told you its limits. But I don’t want to be reasonable nor rational, and I’ve been pining for a frozen watermelon mojito for a couple summers now and been stuck at the impasse of knowing once I added the requisite ice, simple syrup, or club soda, the watermelon-y impact would be all but diminished. I’m not sure why it took me as long as it did to have my a-ha moment but the solution was, well, right next to the ice cubes in the freezer.

ready to freeze watermelon

Freezing your watermelon in cubes and foregoing the ice cubes is summer drink brilliance. It actually tastes like watermelon because you haven’t diluted it in any way. The texture is fantastic enough that you might skip the club soda too (but adding a splash basically makes it a grown-up Slurpee; you’re welcome). Simple syrup, and the water involved in making it, is never necessary if you can just dissolve sugar in your lime juice. I’ve made it as straight frosty watermelon lemonade and limeade (no rum; keep the mint if you wish) but as a heatwave balm of a summer drink that takes approximately 65 seconds* to make, it’s downright revolutionary.

here we gofresh juice, pleaselime juiceblend it up

* because you had the forethought to go ahead and freeze watermelon right now. Go! Make a giant bag of cubes and have this at the ready all summer. I promise you’ll thank you later.

frozen watermelon mojito


One year ago: Corn Fritters and Bourbon Peach Smash
Two years ago: Hummus Heaped with Tomatoes and Cucumbers
Three years ago: Corn, Bacon and Parmesan Pasta
Four years ago: Tomato and Fried Provolone Sandwich
Five years ago: Easiest Fridge Dill Pickles and Grilled Peach Splits
Six years ago: One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes and Hot Fudge Sundae Cake
Seven years ago: Bacon Corn Hash
Eight years ago: Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones
Nine years ago: Mango Slaw with Cashews and Mint, Thai-Style Chicken Legs, Peach Blueberry Cobbler, and Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons
Ten years ago: Light Brioche Burger Buns, Blueberry Boy Bait, and Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza
Eleven years ago: Chocolate Sorbet
Twelve years ago: Double Chocolate Layer Cake

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Chocolate Puddle Cakes
1.5 Years Ago: Korean Braised Short Ribs
2.5 Years Ago: Small-Batch Tiramisu
3.5 Years Ago: Hot and Sour Soup and Belgian Brownie Cakelets
4.5 Years Ago: Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic and Pecan Sticky Buns

Frozen Watermelon Mojito

This makes an absolutely fantastic frozen watermelon limeade or lemonade too, simply skip the rum, leave the mint if you wish. It makes two drinks in an 11 to 12-ounce glass (I’m using these).

Let’s talk about sweetness: A thing I noticed making a few rounds of these is that the level of sweetness that tastes exactly right out of the freezer/blender (2 tablespoons) tastes a bit sweet for my tastes as it defrosts. That’s why there’s a range here; you’ll find your sweet spot (sorry) when you make it. For lemonade for the kids, I usually go up to 3 tablespoons of sugar per pitcher. Sweetness will of course vary by the ripeness of the melon.

Let’s talk about booze: 1 shot (3 tablespoons or 1.5 ounces) per glass makes a gentle cocktail but we found an extra splash (1 tablespoon or so) to be the right level for the size drinks we made.

  • 1 pound (a scant 4 cups) watermelon in 1-inch cubes (from about 2 pounds with rind on)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes), plus wedges for serving
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 to 4 ounces (6 to 8 tablespoons) white rum
  • Leaves from 1 to 2 sprigs of fresh mint, plus extra for garnish
  • Two splashes of seltzer (optional)

Spread watermelon cubes on a tray lined with plastic wrap or parchment (for easiest removal) and chill in freezer until frozen. Add sugar to lime juice and stir to combine; sugar should dissolve in a minute or two. Place frozen watermelon, sweetened lime juice, and rum in blender and blend until thick but smooth. Add mint and pulse a few more times, so that is chopped but not pureed. Pour into two glasses. Top with a splash of seltzer if you wish, finish with lime wedges and extra mint. Repeat all summer.


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