Wednesday, July 22

Watermelon Party

Summer is the perfect season for fresh fruits and vegetables; and to celebrate the season today we held our Watermelon Party! At lunch today we walked into a decorated dining room complete with watermelon balloons and goofy summer sunglasses. We all took pictures with our silly glasses and then got to the serious business of eating lunch. We were served appetizers, dishes and dessert all made with watermelon. It was a lot of fun to see all the different types of food that can be made with watermelon as an ingredient; and it tasted great!

If you would like to try cooking with watermelon, here are a few of the recipes we tried today:

Watermelon Ice Drink

Yield: 2 tall glasses

2 ½ cups watermelon
½ cup crushed ice
1 rose geranium leaf (optional)

Seed and coarsely chop the watermelon in a bowl. Save all juices.
Drop watermelon and ice into a blender.
Blend until both ingredients are crushed together.
Garnish with rose geranium leaves if desired.

Grilled Watermelon Slices with Honey-Lime Sauce

Grilling watermelon imparts a slightly smoky flavor that contrasts surprisingly well with the melon's inherent sweetness. Though it's delicious grilled plain, it's irresistible when drizzled with this sugary, tangy honey-lime sauce

Yields a scant 1/2 cup (enough sauce for 1 small- to medium-sized watermelon, but make more or less depending on how much you need. Leftover sauce can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.)

1 small-medium sized watermelon (8-10 pounds)
Honey for brushing watermelon slices

For Sauce:
Juice of 2 limes (about 4 tablespoons)
Zest of 1/2 lime (about 1/2 teaspoon)
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

To make the sauce, whisk all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Taste and adjust as necessary.
Prepare a hot grill.
Halve a watermelon, then quarter it and cut into 1-inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of each slice with a thin coat of honey and place on the hot grill. Grill until just browned, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
Place watermelon slices on a plate, and drizzle with the honey-lime sauce. Serve immediately.

Steak Tacos with Watermelon-Mango-Jicama Salsa

Yield: 4 servings

Rich, savory steak tacos are topped with a refreshingly light watermelon-mango-jicama salsa. The salsa provides just the right balance of sweetness, spiciness and sourness. It is also delicious on top of grilled chicken, white fish, shrimp or scallops.
For Steak:
4 (4-6 ounces) top sirloin steaks (1 to 1 1/2 inches thick)
Salt and pepper
8 white corn tortillas
1/2 cup cotija anejo cheese**

** Cotija anejo, a mild-flavored Mexican cheese with a crumbly texture, can be found in Mexican markets or in the refrigerator section of most major supermarkets. Queso fresco, another mild Mexican cheese, is a good substitute and also can be found in most major supermarkets.

For Salsa:
2 cups diced watermelon
1 cup diced mango
3/4 cup diced cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
3/4 cup diced jicama, peeled
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 serrano chili, with half the seeds (or to taste)
1 small avocado, diced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons each finely chopped fresh mint and cilantro
Salt, to taste

Prepare a hot grill.
Season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper, and set aside at room temperature while making the salsa.
In a medium bowl, add all salsa ingredients, and gently stir until well combined.
Place steaks on the grill, close cover and cook until charred, about 5 minutes. (Closing the cover will help create a charred exterior and a softer, juicer interior.) Turn steaks over, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook another 3 to 4 minutes for a medium-rare steak or 5 to 6 minutes for a medium steak. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Heat tortillas on top rack of grill for about 1 minute per side, or until warmed through and slightly charred.
Divide the sliced steak among the 8 tortillas. Top each with a spoonful of salsa and a sprinkle of cheese. Serve immediately.

Watermelon Ice

1/2 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon red food color
8 cups seedless watermelon chunks
(about a 6 pound watermelon)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

In a medium saucepan, bring the water, sugar, and honey to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Stir in the lemon juice and food color. Place half of the watermelon chunks and half of the cooled syrup in a blender jar and puree until smooth. Pour into a 9 x13-inch baking dish and repeat the process with the remaining watermelon and syrup, adding all the pureed mixture to the baking dish. Cover and freeze for 3 to 4 hours, or until frozen 1 inch around the edges.

Stir well to mix up the ice crystals. At this point, stir in the chocolate chips, if desired. Cover and freeze for 4 to 6 more hours, or until completely frozen.

Using an ice cream scoop, scrape the ice into mounds and serve.

Take a look above at Simone who is having a blast modeling her goofy sunglasses; and to the left is John who doesn’t quite seem to know how to wear such big glasses! To the right is a picture of Hubert who had a great time.

(Recipes adapted from: and

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