Chef Time!

Chef Time!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Some Summertime Fun With Watermelon


Weird watermelon recipes
FUNNY how it takes us a while to get acclimated to the heat of summer. We know logically that after the Memorial Day is when it really turns on, but somehow the first summery moments of April and May seem to be so hot.
By the time we get into the dog days of July swelter, these early weeks of the season will seem cool and refreshing by comparison. But for now, we’ve haven’t yet adapted, and we often find ourselves breaking a sweat in temperatures well below our toughened late-summer tolerance levels.
One of the most difficult aspects of this transition between seasons is finding foods that suit our state of temperature shock. Wafting heat from an oven-cooked meal or steamy casseroles of boiling whatever are not always so welcome when we’re slowly adjusting to the summer sun. Cold salads and sandwiches are all well and good during these hot days, but picnic food can be a bit unsatisfying when it’s time for a proper sit-down dinner. What we need are some new recipes.
The Food Of The Gods
In many ways, watermelon is the ultimate summer food. Even compared to other fruits, it’s light and crisp. And at 92% water, it can be as quenching as any drink. Every year, the first bite of watermelon feels like summer. We remember the colorful triangles of summers past and slice open the glossy rind with ceremonial care. Everyone watches in anticipation.
But watermelon is not just a totem of seed-spitting nostalgia, it’s a versatile foodstuff with a surprising range of culinary possibilities. Cooking with watermelon is a great way to expand your summer repertoire and lighten up those hot, heavy meals on balmy nights. As watermelon is so lightly perfumed, flavor matching with savory meats and vegetables is surprisingly easy. The principal concern, understandably, is being conscious of the high water content.
Tax Junk Food
WITH obesity levels growing and now affecting about 60 per cent of American adults and 25 per cent of our children, perhaps a two-pronged approach of taxing unhealthy food and subsidizing healthy food could help tackle the issue.
The following dishes are not recipes we grew up with, but the ingredients are familiar, and the combinations (although weird) are divine. Feel free to experiment with these ideas until you become more comfortable using watermelon as a central ingredient of savory suppers. It’s going to be a cool summer!
Watermelon Chicken
¼ watermelon
4 chicken breasts
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. four spice mix
2/3 c. sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the watermelon and chicken into cubes. In a large saucepan, place the watermelon pieces, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let the watermelon soften over a low heat. Add the chicken and four spice mix and stir well. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the sour cream and cook for a further 2 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve with basmati rice.
Watermelon, Bacon and Parmesan Salad

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1 ¾ lb. seedless watermelon
½ bacon
¼ lb. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 bunch of fresh mint, roughly chopped
Black pepper
Cut the watermelon into cubes. Slice the bacon into thin strips about 1 ¼ inch long and fry them until they start to become crispy. Place the cooked bacon on absorbent paper towel to remove any excess fat. To serve, simply place the watermelon on a large plate and top with the bacon, Parmesan and mint. Finish with freshly ground black pepper.
Grilled Watermelon and Curry Prawns
2 tsp. curry powder
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. peeled and cleaned prawns
½ lb. small cucumbers, sliced into thin wedges
Small handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 lb. seedless watermelon cut into 1cm thick triangular slices
3 c. watercress leaves
¼ c. Greek yogurt
¼ c. salted, roasted pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper.
Place the curry powder, salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl. Add the prawns. Mix until the prawns are well coated then cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. In a large salad bowl, mix the cucumbers, mint and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper then cover and refrigerate.
Heat a fry pan and sprinkle one side of the watermelon slices with some sugar. Cook the watermelon slices on the sugared side for about 2 minutes or until they start to darken. In a separate fry pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the prawns for several minutes being careful not to overcook them. Remove the cucumber from the refrigerator and add the watercress leaves and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the Greek yogurt in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, place a tablespoon of the seasoned Greek yogurt in the center of each plate. Arrange the prawns and the watermelon slices on top of the yogurt and garnish with the cucumber and watercress salad. Top with the chopped pistachio nuts.
Watermelon, Olive and Feta Canapés
1 seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into uniform rectangles
1 c. Persian feta
1 c. olive tapenade
2 tbsp. of finely chopped chives or dill
Arrange the watermelon rectangles on a serving plate. Carefully spread each rectangle with olive tapenade and then top with feta. Place a pinch of chopped chive or dill on the feta. Serve cold.
Watermelon Salsa
½ large seedless watermelon, cut into small cubes
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
1 red chili, finely chopped
1 avocado, cut into small cubes
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
Large pinch of salt
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and serve cold.

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