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Showing posts with label watermelon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label watermelon. Show all posts

Monday, May 20, 2013

Jicama Radish Watermelon Salad: Mexican-Inspired Dinner Party - Part 2

Part 2 of my Mexican-Inspired Party recipes from an event I catered a few weekends ago.  This one is a Jicama Salad with Radish and Watermelon topped with Cotija Cheese.  I wanted to do a play on Mexican Vegetables - which typically aren't such a mainstay of the Tex-Mex or Taqueria style foods that we have been finding on menus of late.  One finds likes of re-fried beans, fry breads, nachos, tortillas. There is also the occasional radish and lime slices, along with lettuce, some tomatoes and onions.  I've yet to be served a full salad or vegetable medley at the places we've dined here in the East Coast, or even out in the Southwest where the real and great Mexican foods are to be found.

As I lay no true claims to fully understanding the nuances and simplicities of Mexican-influenced cookery, I went on my instincts, cookbooks and research.  Jicama is a tuber, like a potato. Crunchy, starchy, slightly sweet - it tastes like a cross between a Russet potato and a water chestnut.  It works well raw in salads and is even tastier fried like a French Fry.  Very versatile  and a little goes a long way.  Radishes add the bite and colour; watermelon is the sweet note. I pickled the red onions to tame the bite and added the Cotija cheese for its saltiness. 
A little bit of each vegetable goes a long way.  If you use only a handful of each item it will make a substantial salad.  Serve it over iceberg lettuce wedges, along with some extra limes.  It can be made ahead and will hold well for a day or two - but add the cheese at serving.

Jicama Radish and Watermelon Salad Ingredients:
  • 1 Small Red Onion (1 cup) - thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Red or White Wine Vinegar or 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 1 Small Jicama - (about a cup's worth) peeled and Julienne
  • 4 Radishes - tops removed and cut into thin slices
  • 2 Cups Seedless Watermelon - Diced
  • 1 Lime - Zest and Juice (about 1/4 cup juice)
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro - Rough Chop
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper - to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Cojita Cheese - Crumbled (a Hard, Dry Mexican Cheese. If you
  • cannot find it, substitute a dry Queso Fresco, which is similar to Feta cheese)
  • Olive Oil for Drizzling (preferably a Spanish Olive Oil!)
  1. Peel, core and slice the red onions and put into a non-reactive bowl, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and the 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lime juice. Macerate for 10 to 15 minutes and set aside. This will help “tame” the acidic bite of the raw onion! 
  2. Peel and slice the jicama and place into a mixing bowl.
  3. Slice the radish and dice the watermelon, adding both to the bowl with the jicama.
  4. Add in the zest and juice of the lime and cilantro, tossing to combine.
  5. Season the salad to taste with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. When ready to serve, remove the red onions from the vinegar, adding to the jicama salad (discard the vinegar). Crumble the Cotija cheese over the salad and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Serve immediately.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Watermelon and Vodka Cocktails

During our 2 week vacation at the Jersey Shore, I made a splendid cocktail with watermelon, limes, lemons, vodka and Triple Sec.   Most of the drinks that I make, when I make cocktails, utilize vodka.  I don't like gin and rum makes me feel mean.  Tequila is best done as a shot, preferably when you are young and dumb and don't know any better.  For the most part, I'm a beer lady through and through with the occasional glass of wine thrown back for good heart health.  

This drink concoction was born out of needing to use a bunch of stuff we had on hand and wanting to use a very large watermelon before it spoiled.  We had a lot of spirits in the house because two of our vacations mates were moving across country and had the last of their Philly house's belongings, provisions and party paraphernalia to take with them in their car.  No need to cart bottles of booze to the heartland when we could easily imbibe in it on the East Coast! Voila! A new drink was created.

The "recipe" as it were is a step by step pictorial.  Here's what I used and what you may wish to use as well:

Watermelon and Vodka Cocktail Ingredients:
  • 4 Cups Watermelon - Chopped (about 1 small sugar baby seedless melon or 1/2 of a small bowling ball sized watermelon!)
  • 2 Cups Good Vodka - we had Tito's Handmade Vodka, from Austin, Texas
  • 1 Cup Triple Sec
  • Freshly Squeezed Juice of 3 Lemons and 3 Limes
  • 3 to 4 Dashes of Orange Bitters or Regular Bitters if you have them
  • 1 Litter Bottle of Seltzer/Club Soda
  • Ice for Cocktail Glasses
  • Blender, Pitcher, Cocktail Glasses, Spoon for Stirring

1. Chop the Watermelon into large 2 inch chunks and put them into a large pitcher. Pour the Vodka, Triple Sec and Bitters into the pitcher.

2. Work in batches if your blender is small, and add in the watermelon and liquid.  Put the lid on the blender, cover with a clean kitchen towel and hold the towel on top of the lid while you puree the  melon and alcohol on high.

3. Puree until the mixture is frothy and all the watermelon is liquefied.   Pour the mixture into cocktail glasses filled with ice and top with seltzer or club soda.
4. Stir the cocktail with a stirrer or cocktail spoon to keep the mixture from separating.  Enjoy!  Makes 1 to 1 1/2 quarts of beverage.  Best served chilled immediately.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beat the Heat Non-Cooking: Cucumber, Feta and Watermelon Salad

For a muy refresco salad, try using the best of the summer's bounty - Farm Fresh Cucumbers and Sweet Juicy Watermelon.  When the weather is as hot as it's been this year, I barely have energy to think let alone cook.  Here's an easy salad that cools you off and gets better as it sits chilling in the refrigerator.  Think of it as a variation of the cucumber salad or quick pickles about which I've previously blogged.  Cool, crisp, sweet and salty, all the flavors and textures that work well on a hot day when you don't feel like cooking.  It's light and refreshing and best of all takes no heat or time to make.  Quantities can vary.  I've approximated the amounts for recipe purposes, but honestly, I really just tossed stuff together without thinking too hard - the heat's gotten to my brain!

Cucumber, Feta and Watermelon Salad Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup Red Onion - thin half-moon slices
  • 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons (Divided) White Wine Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt - for salting veggies & seasoning
  • 2 Cucumbers - peeled if waxy, otherwise, cut in half length-wise, de-seeded and cut into half-moon 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 Celery Stalks - small/medium dice
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • A Few Grinds Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Feta Cheese - crumbled
  • 1/4 Cup Parsley - rough chop
  • 1/4 Cup Mint - rough chop
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Watermelon - seeded and large dice

  1. Prepare the onions first to take the sulfuric bite out of the raw onion: slice the onions and put them into a non-reactive bowl (glass, stainless steel or "china").  Season with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and pour 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar over the onions.  Set aside and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  2. While the onions are mellowing out, peel, seed and slice the cucumbers; dice the celery. Place both in a mixing bowl and season with a generous pinch of kosher salt, tossing to combine.  
  3. In a small mixing bowl or measuring cup, combine 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper, whisking to dissolve the sugar.  Pour this mixture over the cucumbers and celery; set aside and let this mixture sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain and rinse the onions under cold running water, shake excess liquid off the onions; add the onions to the cucumber and celery.  Add in the chopped parsley, mint and crumbled feta. If you are not serving this immediately, cover tightly and refrigerate.
  5. Immediately before serving gently fold in the seeded and diced watermelon and drizzle the mixture with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Serve chilled.  Salad will hold for 1 day with the watermelon added to it, or for 2 days without the watermelon.  Makes approximately 6 to 8 servings.