Addictive Watermelon Salad

Was going to a potluck event a couple weeks ago. Wanted to take something different than normal. People tend to bring hummus, guac, etc. It’s summer so watermelon popped into my head. I also didn’t want it to be just basic watermelon. So I started googling some recipes and many came up. I’d had some with balsamic before but wanted a change. Then I found a perfect one for a warm summer afternoon.

Watermelon Feta Salad with Mint

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 8 lb. whole seedless watermelon, chilled (about 12 cups of cubed fruit)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 whole limes, juiced — used bottled
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese (sheep’s milk feta preferred) — I used crumbled goat because it’s what I found when shopping

img_4865

InstructionsNote: This salad is best made just prior to serving. Prepare one hour or less before your meal.

1) Cut rind from  watermelon, then chop the fruit into 1 inch chunks. Place chunks in a colander to drain as you chop.

2) In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, fresh lime juice, salt, and black pepper to create a dressing.

3) Place watermelon in a large salad bowl. Pour dressing and chopped mint over the watermelon and toss gently to coat. Pour the crumbled feta into the salad bowl and stir gently to integrate the cheese into the salad. Serve.

img_4867

This was delicious. I have made this 5 times in 3 weeks already. So refreshing, light and easy to make. Definitely a keeper.

Mixed Beans with Peanuts, Ginger and Lime

Got together with friends to make a feast recently and found a tasty-sounding Bon Appetit recipe to try — Mixed Beans with Peanuts, Ginger and Lime.

Made a couple changes in the recipe because of nuts, lack of beans, and other stuff.

IMG_3702

2 pounds mixed snap beans (such as green, wax, haricots verts, and/or Romano), trimmed — used straight frozen green beans from Trader’s Joe’s
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ large shallot, finely chopped
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layers removed, finely grated on a Microplane
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ teaspoon ground coriander
Freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup salted, roasted peanuts — used cashews vs. peanuts
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped — I went to 4 stores, including international markets, and couldn’t get these.  The guys at both the Mexican markets and Asian markets laughed at me.  I thought that was comical myself that they didn’t carry them.
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon sugar
⅓ cup (packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems, plus more for serving

Preparation

Working in batches by type, cook beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 1–4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain and pat dry.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a small skillet over medium and cook shallot, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add ginger, lemongrass, garlic, and coriander and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium-high. Cook peanuts, tossing often, until golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels; let cool, then coarsely chop. Set aside 1 Tbsp. peanuts for serving.

Whisk kaffir lime leaves, lime zest, lime juice, sugar, ½ tsp. salt, and remaining 3 Tbsp. oil into shallot mixture. Add beans, remaining peanuts, and ⅓ cup cilantro and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with more cilantro and reserved peanuts.

IMG_3704

It was good, but nothing that exciting.  Don’t know if the lime leaves are what would totally bring it in.  Glad I made it, would not discount making it again, but not top of my list.

Kale Salad with Cashews and Lime

I love getting my Bon Appetit magazine each month and there is one recipe in there I’ve been eyeing for awhile from the January issue.  Finally got around to making it last weekend while watching (yelling, screaming, cheering, crying, and finally celebrating) the Seahawks game.  It was the Collard Green Salad with Cashews and Lime (they mention you can easily substitute kale for the collard greens, which I did).  Delicious, filling, vegetarian, can make it lactose-free (as in non-cow milk).

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted, roasted cashews, divided (love being able to buy in bulk at my Whole Foods)
4 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino, divided, plus shaved for serving (I used Manchego! — tastes just as good and I can eat it)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 anchovy fillet packed in oil, drained, finely chopped (I used anchovy paste — I didn’t want to open a whole can of anchovies for 1 fillet)
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice  (just used bottled, was lazy)
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns, crushed, plus more for serving (didn’t get that fancy)
½ bunch collard greens, ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely torn

IMG_2594

Directions:

Process ½ cup cashews, 2 Tbsp. grated cheese, and 3 Tbsp. water in a food processor (I used a mini prep — fun!), thinning with more water as needed, until a smooth, creamy paste forms; season with salt and black pepper. Set cashew paste aside.

IMG_2600

IMG_2603

Whisk anchovy (paste), oil, lime juice, 1 tsp. pink peppercorns (for those who follow recipes to the dot), and 2 Tbsp. grated cheese in a large bowl; season with salt and black pepper.

IMG_2606

Coarsely chop remaining ½ cup cashews. Add nuts and collard greens to large bowl.

IMG_2618

Toss to coat, gently massaging dressing into leaves with your fingers to bruise and slightly wilt.  (Spread some reserved cashew paste onto each plate and top with salad and shaved Pecorino; sprinkle with more crushed pink peppercorns.)

IMG_2621

This salad was delicious!  Very hearty and lots of flavor.  Next time I make it I think I’ll throw some garlic in there, too.

“It just doesn’t taste the same.”

There are those things or that dish that can be so easy/basic/simple to make that just don’t taste the same unless a specific person makes them.  From spaghetti & meatballs to apple pie to chocolate chip cookies.  Many times those thoughts comes from people who don’t cook, but it can come for those of us who love the kitchen.

My favorite dish to pin this thought to is my friend’s ceviche.  It’s like a comfort food to me (that food/dish in general).  She’s from Costa Rica and they/she just have/has magical ceviche hands, or something to that effect.  All that’s in the dish is white fish, onion, red bell pepper, cilantro, lime juice…and patience.  For the juice, she hand squeezes every…single…lime.  And, her ceviche must sit overnight (some recipes vary).

I make ceviche every so often and it never, ever, ever tastes the same, just because it’s not HER ceviche.  I’m likely missing the patience part.  I have been enjoying this the past few meals and just keep smiling.  Muchisimas gracias amiga!

Misc 009