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    Entries in summer (9)

    Friday
    Jul222011

    Watermelon to the rescue!

    With the heat wave we’re having up here in New England (I'm from New England now!), it’s the perfect time for something cool and refreshing.  Watermelon definitely tops the list of refreshing foods, so why not mix it up a bit and enjoy a nice watermelon salad?  It’s great by itself, but you can also pile it on top of a mound of crisp lettuce or serve it alongside a burger for your next barbecue. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    4 cups-ish cubed watermelon
    10 Basil leaves
    4 oz. feta
    ½ cup slivered almonds
    2 Tablespoons lime juice
    1 Tablespoon honey
    3 Tablespoons olive oil
    ¼ teaspoon each salt & pepper

    First thing we need to do is toast the almonds so they can cool while we make the rest of the salad.  Nuts have so much more flavor after they’ve been toasted.  Pour them into a skillet over medium heat and continue to stir until they begin to brown and smell amazing.  Remove them from the heat and set them aside. 

    Next comes the basil.  We’re going to do what’s called a chiffonade.  Don’t worry, it’s easier to do than it is to spell.  Stack up your leaves with the largest ones on the bottom. 

    Then roll the stack up like a… well, like this:

    Now thinly slice the whole thing.

    When you’re done, you’ll end up with a nice pile of basil ribbons. 

    Next comes the feta.  Dice or crumble it into fairly small pieces.  

    Now, throw your watermelon into a bowl followed by the basil, almonds, and feta. 

    Mix it gently until everything is evenly distributed. 

    Now let’s make the dressing.  Dressing is really easy to make.  Not sure why so few people do.  Squeeze the lime juice into a bowl then add the honey olive oil and salt and pepper.  Whisk until it looks something like this:

    Easy enough, huh?  Now pour it over the watermelon mixture. 

    Mix the whole thing together and serve.  Like most salads, it is best made right before serving.  This shouldn’t be a problem since you’ll probably be picking bites out even as you make it. 

    The sweetness of the melon off set by the saltiness of the cheese and the brightness of the basil, it simply sings of summer.   

     

     

    Tuesday
    Jul192011

    Ice Ice Baby

    But it's not vanilla flavoured.

    So, I don't have an ice cream maker of my own. Recipe Guy's was a ton of fun to play with, but it lives at his house, so when I want to have home made frozen treats, I have to improvise.

    It's not really improvisation though. It's just old school. Before ice cream makers, you just had to keep stirring. Just keep stirring.

    But, since I'm really kinda lazy, I only stirred every half hour or so. This is the perfect recipe for hot lazy summers. Little work, lots of payoff. And believe it or not, it's actually almost healthy.

    Melon Sorbet

    What you need:

    • 1/2 a cantaloupe
    • 2 plums
    • a few berries
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp orange juice
    • 1 tbsp your favourite booze
    • 1/4 c water
    • 1/4 c sugar
    • a chunk of ginger
    • 1 vanilla bean

    What you gotta do:

    Peel and slice your chunk of ginger. Put the sugar, ginger, vanilla bean and water in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let it boil for a few minutes, then remove it from the heat and let it cool. Fish out the ginger and the bean.

    I did this ahead of time and had some already handy, but Taneasha did it too when she made limeade, if you need the visual.

    To your simple syrup (that's what you just made), add your lemon juice, orange juice, and booze. I had rose liqueur on hand, but melon, lemon, lime, vanilla, or even mint would work too.

    Now, the fruit. Really, any combination would work, but there's something about cantaloupes that lends it perfectly to sorbet. The plums add contrast with their nice dark skins, and the berries fill it out with tartness. You may be tempted to add more berries. I was. It was way too tart and tangy. Go easy on them, and let them be a decoration and a source of colour rather than a main ingredient.

    Dump all the chopped fruit into the food processor.

    Give it a whirl.

    Still a little chunky. Just right. Put the lid back on and start drizzling in your syrup/juice/booze combo.

    Once it's nice and smooth, pour it into a pan.

    Any shallow pan will work. You want shallow to take advantage of surface area. It'll cool and freeze faster and you'll have a sweet summer treat faster. Alternatively you could add more booze and pour it into a tall glass with an umbrella.

    If you are determined to wait for something a little more frozen, pop it into the freezer.

    After about half an hour or so, it'll be starting to harden around the edges.

    Your goal for the next hour and a half or so is to not let it. Bust up all the frozen chunks and stir. What you're doing here is the same thing the ice cream maker does. So, yes, you could do this in the ice cream maker too. You're preventing large ice crystals from forming, and encouraging small ice crystals to form. Much more fun and tastier to eat.

    So, after turning it back into a slurry, pop it back into the freezer for another 20 minutes.

    It'll be harder and harder each time. Now, doesn't that sound fun. ;)

    Eventually, you won't want to stir it any more.

    You'll want to scrape it out of the pan (letting it warm on the counter for a few minutes first helps) and put it into bowls. You may even want to top it with whipped cream.

    Or, you may eat it so fast you forget to take pics of it.

    What's your favourite fast and easy summer treat??