I’m guest posting over at Cupcakes and Kale Chips today … Brianne is a good friend of mine and she is off on vacation. I’m quite happy to help her out while she enjoys her well-deserved vacation. I have several “food sisters” and Brianne is one of them. With Brianne, we are salad sisters. We really match on the salads … the only thing that we don’t agree on is the subject of onions … I must have onions on my salads and she prefers hers without.
So for this post, I stayed away from onions and salads … just a sweet cold summer treat. I tried this in champagne, by the way. I personally didn’t like it … I prefer the sorbet by itself … champagne separate … but some of my friends disagreed with me and very much enjoyed it.
Yes, there ARE roses in the sorbet. And basil. Watermelon and basil go so well together. Add roses and it’s a wonderful, icy cold, sweet summer treat.
Anyway, head on over to Cupcakes and Kale Chips for the recipe …
This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures.
There is something insanely romantic about roses. When my roses started blooming this year, don’t ask me why, but I desparately wanted to make some rosewater. I had no reason why I was doing it or what I was going to do with it, but I wanted to make it. So I did. The jar of rosewater has been just sitting in my fridge, waiting for me to find something to do with it … I could easily drink it in an hour, but it seems too special to just drink like water.
And then today it was so hot and windy … my daughter and I went out on a short shopping expedition and when we came back, we were both all hot and thirsty. I opened up the freezer to look for some food for my son and there right on the top was a bunch of frozen watermelon cubes.
I wasn’t really sure what I was doing; I just started doing it. I knew both my daughter and I needed some serious hydration. Something to cool us off. I threw a bunch of the frozen watermelon cubes in the blender, added some rosewater and some water and started blending. It turned out lightly sweet, rose-scented, frothy and slushy, pink on the top, and bright red on the bottom. Refreshing, cool, inviting, and insanely romantic. What I really love about it is: you can taste the roses.
Watermelon Rosewater Slushies
- About 4 cups of watermelon cubes, frozen
- 1 cup of culinary rosewater (recipe below)
- Water, as needed (I used 1 1/2 cups, I think)
- Honey or juice concentrate or a simple syrup made with rose petals or rosewater, to taste (I didn’t add any, but if you’re used to a sweeter drink or serving to children who want it sweeter, you might want to add some … my parched 13-year-old daughter said it was fine just like that, with no sweetener)
Put the watermelon cubes and rosewater in a blender. Add water as needed to make a slushie consistency that you can sip through a straw. Add sweetener if you like. I really don’t think it needs any; the watermelon and the roses both have such a lovely flavor, but make it to suit your own tastes. Garnish with a fresh organic rose, if you have one, or a slice of watermelon.
How to make Culinary Rosewater
Cut fresh organic red roses and wash to remove any residue or bugs. Remove the petals and snip the white part at the bottom off of each petal. Fill a quart jar with the snipped rose petals, packing them in. I think I used about 18 big roses. Boil water and pour the boiling water over the roses, filling the jar. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours, then strain out the rose petals. Store in the fridge in a sealed container.
To make a rose-scented simple syrup: mix 1 cup rosewater with 1 cup sugar. Add some rose petals (with white parts trimmed off) if you like. Bring to a boil, then cook for a few minutes and strain out the rose petals. Let cool before using. Use in beverages or anything that needs a little sweetening.
It’s time for the Crazy Cooking Challenge and this month we are all making smoothies. The assignment is to find another blogger’s smoothie recipe, make it, and blog about it.
I chose this watermelon smoothie (slushie?) from the Full Belly Sisters because as some of you who follow me on facebook know, I recently bought a watermelon that was less then stellar. To put it bluntly, it sucked. I asked my facebook friends what to do with it and I had such an amazing response! There were some really great ideas there, and this just happened to be one of them. I also just so happen to have some chia seeds that I won from Lauren at Nutri-Savvy and Ruth’s Foods.
Justine used mint in her slushie, and I have a tiny bit of mint that I planted, but it’s just starting and doesn’t have many leaves yet, so I decided to use some of the basil instead, since that plant ALWAYS needs trimming–and besides, basil is a member of the mint family and it goes very well with watermelon. The other change I made to the recipe was I had to add some liquid because my blender did NOT want to blend up the watermelon cubes “dry”. If you have one of those juicer kind of blenders, perhaps you won’t need any extra liquid, but mine was NOT budging without adding some liquid. I added it 1/4 cup at a time, till it was liquid enough to drink through a straw. It was still plenty thick, though, as you can see.
Watermelon Basil Chia Smoothie
- 4 cups cubed watermelon, frozen
- about 5 or 6 basil leaves
- 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
- juice of one lime
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup of juice (I used apple cherry juice)
- 1/4 cup of culinary rosewater (or you can substitute water or juice)
- Thin watermelon slices and basil leaves, for garnish
Put the watermelon, basil, chia, lime juice, and salt in a blender. Add 1/4 cup of juice and try blending. Add juice (or rosewater) 1/4 cup at a time until the smoothie blends, then add more as needed to get the smoothie to the thickness that you like.
If you drink the whole thing yourself, it will be like eating a meal. You will be full for a long while. The chia seeds add fiber, calcium and protein, so they give this drink a lot of “staying power”, and with all the nutritional benefits of the watermelon and the juice, you will be getting a lot of the vitamins, water, and nutrients that your body needs. Not to mention that it’s quite refreshing to drink this sweet slushie on a hot summer day.
This post is for the Crazy Cooking Challenge
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Click here to see all the other awesome smoothies in the Crazy Cooking Challenge …
This recipe was also shared at I’m Lovin’ It.
Happy National Margarita Day! I went to my fridge to make a classic lime margarita and discovered I had NO limes, but still a few kumquats … hmm … kumquats are kinda like limes. They’re tart but also sweet … I bet they would be good in a margarita.
And the watermelon? I know, it’s not watermelon season. But I had some yellow watermelon in my fridge that I had ”pickled” a while ago by drowning it in tequila. It makes a really nice watermelon-flavored tequila. And the bonus is that you can use the drowned watermelon chunks in margaritas. I think you could really use this same idea with just about any fruit you like in your margaritas. Berries, mangoes, guavas, hey, whatever! Watermelon is REALLY nice in margaritas, though.
So this is my way of celebrating National Margarita Day. The way I see it, with all that blended fruit in there, it’s really quite healthy, right?
Yellow Watermelon Kumquat Margaritas
Adapted from Saveur
To make the drunken watermelon and watermelon-infused tequila:
- Yellow Watermelon, seeded and cut into chunks
- Silver Tequila
Put the watermelon in a glass jar. Fill the jar with tequila, completely covering all the watermelon chunks. Seal the jar, and keep it in the fridge for at least 2 days. (It keeps for a LONG time if you don’t use it right away.)
To make the margaritas:
- 1 cup of drunken watermelon chunks
- 1 kumquat (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter … if yours are smaller, toss in a few!), cut into chunks and seeded … (or substitute some lime or orange juice if you don’t have a kumquat)
- 1/4 cup watermelon-infused tequila
- 1/8 cup limeade concentrate
- 1/8 cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
- Ice cubes
Put all ingredients in a blender (yes, the whole kumquat should go in, including the rind!) and add a few ice cubes. Blend till smooth. Add more ice cubes till the margaritas are the desired slushiness. I didn’t make mine too icy today because it is still February and although it is unseasonably warm here today, I’m not quite up for a slushy cold margarita yet.
This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.
and a Tequila Lime vinaigrette
I know it’s getting close to Christmas and everyone is baking cookies and such, but if you can find some watermelon (or if you miraculously happen to have a bit sitting about still from the bounty of the summer garden, like me), make this sublime salad and, just for a moment, transport yourself back to warmth, sunshine, swimsuits and flip-flops. Your winter wonderland will be waiting for you when you return.
This salad to me screams California cuisine. When I eat it, I picture myself sitting in a beautiful restaurant with white tablecloths, fresh flowers, real cloth napkins and lots of windows … even a balcony where you can sit outside and feel, hear, smell, gaze at the beauty of the ocean. It deserves to be served at one of those posh, funky California restaurants that serves the most unusual combinations of flavors. Perhaps the view would be something like this …
When I first thought of putting these things together in a salad, I was a little scared to try it. Honestly, how can you be scared of a salad? I need not have worried … it was divine. The sweetness of the watermelon, the earthy flavor of the basil, the creamy bite of the blue cheese, the gentle crunch of the pecans, and the crisp greens with the lime and tequila … oh it is heaven.
If you have no watermelon, then just order some yellow watermelon seeds for your garden and stash this recipe away for next summer.
Basil Watermelon Salad with Chicken, Blue Cheese, Toasted Pecans and a Tequila Lime Vinaigrette
I made a single-serving salad, but you could easily make a bigger version for a hungry crowd. To me, this is a complete meal all in one bowl.
- Mixed organic greens
- A small slice of watermelon, seeded and chopped into small chunks (I used yellow watermelon)
- Blue cheese crumbles
- Fresh basil leaves, chopped (and flowers, if you have them!)
- 1 chicken patty, cooked and cut into pieces (or leftover chicken of any kind!)
- Pecans, chopped roughly and toasted
- Fill the salad bowl 3/4 full with mixed greens.
- Top with watermelon, blue cheese, chicken, basil leaves and pecans.
- Sprinkle with tequila lime vinaigrette and serve.
Tequila Lime Vinaigrette (from Cooking Light Magazine)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons tequila
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
- Dash of salt
- Toss all ingredients into a food processor and whir till blended. Or you can just whisk them all together in a bowl, but the food processor will chop up the cilantro really nicely. I used watermelon-infused tequila (made by soaking watermelon cubes in tequila for several days). Cover and chill until ready to use.
This recipe was shared at Recipe of the Week: Healthy/Low Cal Recipes.
I suppose it might seem a little odd to be posting a watermelon salsa on December 1st, but believe it or not, I still have some watermelon to use up from my dad’s garden. He had such a huge crop of yellow watermelon this year that they actually donated a trailerfull of them to the local school so they could serve it to the children for lunch! Isn’t that amazing? And then there were still a bunch left! They didn’t have room for all of them in the fridge so they were storing them in the shed. Luckily the weather cooperated and brought cool but not overly chilly temperatures. Last time they came down to visit they brought me 10 watermelon! Each one is small … but still, how do you use 10 watermelon?
I gave six of them away, I made watermelon sorbet, I made some watermelon tequila, and then I made salsa. We are down to half a watermelon which I think will get eaten without any special preparations.
First I made a “plain” watermelon salsa. I think this salsa would be delicious over chicken, fish or pork. It’s fruity, with a light sweetness, spicy, fun. It makes your body feel good inside the same way that a cool watermelon does on a hot summer day. And the colors are just so fantastic too!
Then I remembered how much our friends loved the black bean salsa I made a while back and I thought perhaps I should add some black beans. This black bean watermelon salsa has a bit more substance. The beans add protein and a really nice flavor and texture contrast to the sweet, crunchy watermelon. This black bean version would be great with chips or in a salad. I am also thinking melted cheese on chips with this black bean watermelon salsa spooned over would be such an amazing snack.
Watermelon Salsa Two Ways
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 of a red onion
- 1 1/2 bell peppers
- 2 jalapenos (for a milder salsa, use a smaller amount of jalapeno, or leave it out altogether)
- 2 c. seeded watermelon, cut into very small chunks (I used yellow watermelon, but you can use red)
- 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- a few sprigs of fresh basil, chopped
- a few sprigs of fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
- juice of half a lime
- 2nd Way: add 2/3 cup or so of black beans
Toss the garlic, onion, and peppers into a handi chopper or food processor and process till finely chopped (or chop them finely with a knife). In a medium bowl, combine the pepper mixture with the watermelon, tomatoes, salt, herbs and lime juice.
If you want a “meatier”, more substantial salsa, stir in the black beans.
I bottled some of the black bean watermelon salsa up to give to our TaeKwonDo instructors. They really love black bean salsa and I think they’re going to LOVE this one.
Last week was an incredible week … I was awarded the Versatile Blogger award FOUR times! I am so grateful to have such awesome foodie friends.
Three Rules come with this award:
- Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
- Share 7 things about yourself
- Send it along to 15 other Bloggers and let them know you have awarded them!
First a GREAT BIG HAPPY THANK YOU!
As a special thank you, I made some delicious Yellow Watermelon Basil Sorbet! (made with yellow watermelon … and a bit of tequila) I SO wish we could all sit down and have some together.
Second, the 7 things about me:
- I have a black cat who I think secretly wants to keep me all to himself. He sits right next to me all day every day while I’m working, blogging or facebooking. He’s fat and he’s lazy but he loves me and I love him. Even if he is the stinkiest cat ever.
- I have two wonderful children. (Well okay, maybe that’s not such a secret.)
- I love trees.
- My favorite color is purple.
- Both my kids are now taller than me. And they really love that.
- My kids and I all do TaeKwonDo.
- I sing in a choir. It makes me happy.
And FINALLY: The Winners!
So now I get to honor 15 other awesome bloggers! The most wonderful thing about having a food blog is meeting such wonderful people along the way! Every day I meet more foodies and the whole community is just infused with joy and love and sharing.
I always have a hard time selecting awardees … there are SO many great foodies who deserve it. So yeah, I couldn’t quite stick within the limit (can’t follow a recipe either …) On this list are great cooks, amazing people, fantastic photographers, and some health and nutrition experts. Eat well, live well, be well, my friends.
- The Southern Lady Cooks
- The Naptime Chef
- Dine & Dish
- The Spicy RD
- Mother Thyme
- Family Fresh Cooking
- The Truffled Pig
- DeeDee’s Delights
- Linda’s Italian Table
- Thyme Square Garden
- Reluctant Entertainer
- Barefeet in the Kitchen
- Debz Delicious Meals
- Sunday at the Giacomettis
- Yummy Mummy
- I Can Cook That
And I know you’ve all been waiting for the recipe for the Sorbet:
Basil Watermelon Sorbet
This is sort of a cross between a watermelon tequila slushie and a sorbet–if you want it to be more of a slushie beverage than a sorbet, add more alcohol. If you’re making it for the kiddos, leave out the booze! It’s very refreshing. You could probably substitute stevia or agave or honey for the sugar if you like.
The subtle basil taste with the watermelon is just heaven. I really love the added little bite from the tequila too.
- 4 c. cubed, seeded watermelon. I used a yellow watermelon from my mom and dad’s garden. Have I mentioned I am a very very lucky girl?
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. water
- A handful of fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 c. tequila (Add extra watermelon flavor by using watermelon tequila in this recipe! Just fill a jar with watermelon cubes and fill with tequila. Store in the fridge for two weeks. Then use the watermelon and tequila as you like. It keeps in the fridge for a LOOOOONG time and it’s awesome in watermelon margaritas!)
- 1/8 c. Cointreau
- Put the watermelon in the blender and blend till the watermelon turns into juice. Strain through a strainer to catch any missed seeds and remove the excess pulp.
- In a small pan, boil the sugar and the water till the sugar dissolves. Add the basil and remove from heat, allowing the basil to steep in the syrup for about 5 minutes. Strain the syrup to remove the basil leaves. Cool the syrup before adding to the watermelon juice.
- Combine the watermelon juice, the syrup and liquors, then freeze in a ice cream freezer (I have one of those little Cuisinart jobbies and I just love it!) until it’s frozen.
- Enjoy immediately or freeze for later. If you make this without the liquor, you’re going to want to eat it right away because it will get too hard in the freezer.
Recipe adapted from Rosemary and the Goat
This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food.
This recipe was shared at Miz Helen’s Full Plate Thursdays.
I have very fond memories of my grandmother’s food and garden. As a child, it was always fun to go out to Gram’s farm in the summer and wander in her huge garden. She had rows and rows of gladiolas and a variety of berries and vegetables. Her house was full of sunshine, quilts, afghans and butterflies. She always had apples pies in the freezer. The homemade bread she made was sooo good — and there was always this amazing thick sweet brilliant red raspberry jam to put on them.
The other thing I remember was her watermelon pickles. Whenever we had watermelon, she always told us not to eat all the pink part off. That was for the pickles. There were always pickles at every family get together I can ever remember … in little segmented glass dishes with olives on one side and pickles on the other. I really am not a pickle person; I don’t in general even like pickles very much. Except my grandmother’s watermelon pickles. Those I cherished. Anticipated. Reveled in.
The other day my daughter and I polished off half a watermelon between the two of us. I looked at the pile of watermelon rind (surprisingly thick–you don’t see rind that thick hardly ever anymore!) and decided I just had to make pickles.
Several years ago I asked my gramma for her watermelon pickle recipe. She said she didn’t remember … but a friend of mine had shared her recipe … but then I wanted to put my own twist on them … hmmm. How about watermelon jalapeno pickles? That spicy sweet taste in a pickle? Oh yeah!
They didn’t turn out as spicy as I really wanted. I think my jalapenos must be mild. One jalapeno should put these pickles on fire. Maybe next time I’ll add some other peppers? But still they have a tiny little kick to them. I didn’t follow my friend’s recipe exactly … cut down the sugar (as I always do), and made a smaller batch.
Watermelon Jalapeno Pickles
- 4 c. watermelon rind (about 1/2 of a watermelon)
- 1/2 c. pickling salt
- 1 quart water
- 2 c. sugar
- 1 c. vinegar
- 1 t. cinnamon extract
- 10 whole cloves
- 1-3 jalapenos, sliced
- a shake of nutmeg
- a sprinkle of ginger
- This is best done with thick-rind watermelon, which you don’t find that often anymore. The one we had just happened to have thicker rind than usual. Trim off the dark green skin with a peeler, and cut into 1” cubes.
- Soak the rind about 2 hours or overnight in salt water to cover. I used 1/2 c. pickling salt in 1 quart water.
- Drain off the salt water and cover the rinds in water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, but not soft (about 10 min). Drain and set aside.
- Bring the sugar, vinegar, and spices to a boil. Add the jalapeno slices. Pour the syrup and japs over watermelon rind, cover, and let sit overnight.
- In the morning, heat the pickles to boiling and seal at once in hot, sterilized jars.