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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Watermelon Jicama Salad

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Mr. Right adores watermelon. But jicama? He wasn’t sure what it was, so when I picked this recipe, I did the shopping myself. It’s a fun and pretty summer salad that I think would work well for a picnic, party, or potluck—basically anywhere you want to take it. And if, like me, you love to grow herbs in summer, this is a great way to use fresh herbs.

I’ll confess that the original recipe, from the Williams Sonoma blog, did not treat the pumpkin seeds as optional. But I discovered too late that we were out, so I left them out, and frankly, we didn’t miss them. If you do decide to toast a few, toss them with a bit of kosher salt before baking—in my opinion, they are always tastier that way. We love cilantro, but if you’re among the 15% of the population who think it tastes like soap, leave it out.

Now, how to peel that jicama? Mine was large, so I used only about half for this recipe, using a sharp knife to peel off the potato-brown skin as if it were potato peel. That actually left a very thin fibrous layer that was less than optimal, so in the future, I would cut even a small jicama in half, put the cut side down on the cutting board, and slice off the skin as if I were peeling a pineapple.

We served the salad with a green salad and grilled shrimp wrapped in proscuitto. I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch.

This salad keeps well for several days. The combination of salt and watermelon does produce some juice in the bottom of your bowl, so spoon with care!

Watermelon Jicama Salad

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (we use canola oil)
1 teaspoon honey
Kosher salt
about 3 pounds of seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 jicama, about 1/2 pound, peeled and cut into large matchsticks
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, oil, honey, and a large pinch of salt. Whisk to combine.

In a large flat bowl, combine the watermelon and jicama.

Add the dressing and toss to combine. Fold in the pumpkin seeds, if you're using them, red onion, mint, cilantro and basil. Season to taste with salt and serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6.


From the cover of KILLING THYME, coming October 4 and available for pre-order now: 

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer…

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun. 

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. When Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. 

But when Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook, where I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Death and the Watermelon Appetizer by Cleo Coyle

For centuries, Italians have eaten fresh melons paired with prosciutto or another cured, salty meat. Though the combination is delicious, this was not a culinary tradition so much as a dietary precaution with a very long history.


In the hot summer of 1471, Pope Paul II dined on a refreshing meal of sliced cantaloupes, and he promptly dropped dead. Though the Pontiff likely perished of a massive coronary, congestione was blamed—stomach distress. 

The physicians decided that the pope's death must have been caused by eating three melons at a single sitting.

The news caused panic, but fortunately for melon farmers (and ultimately for us) Medieval medicine discovered a culinary "cure," and the Italian diet was changed forever.

To this day, folklore has it that if a cold food like melon is not balanced by a hot food like a spicy meat, the results could be deadly. The body might become chilled and one might risk a bout of indigestion, or even the dreaded congestione!

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

Of course modern medicine debunks this notion, but the paring of melon and meat has stuck around because, well, it’s tasty. And refreshing. 

So why am I bringing you this tale today? Because it's the start of summer, time for tasty and refreshing this one.

Last summer, Marc and I learned about a hot, young executive chef (very young, age 19!) who was packing a Hamptons' restaurant with his culinary flare. His pairing of watermelon with pork belly as an amuse-bouche was not a wholly original idea, but it sounded like a delicious one to us.

We didn't have pork belly (i.e., uncured bacon) on hand, but we had cured bacon (close enough), so we sliced up some sizzling strips into bite-sized pieces and affixed them with toothpicks to juicy chunks of watermelon.

Sweet-savory heaven!

Bacon and Watermelon Appetizer

A quick culinary hack of a young
Hamptons' chef's amuse-bouche...

The salty, crisp bacon and sweet, juicy melon are a combination to die for. And if you're a superstitious Italian, they may just prevent that untimely end!

We highly recommend it for a fun, refreshing, and slightly different summer appetizer. Try it, your guests will thank you!

And how about that bacon?

A BLT with fresh garden tomatoes is also a summer treat to savor, but sweating over a hot stove top is no joy at all. My solution is one many of you may already employ yourselves. I bake my bacon in the oven, and it comes out beautifully every time. To see a past post on how I do it click above or click here. And...

May you...

Eat with summer joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
14 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

* * *

Once Upon a Grind:
A Coffeehouse Mystery

* A Best Book of the Year
Reviewer's Pick - King's River Life 

* Top Pick! ~ RT Book Reviews 
* Fresh Pick ~ Fresh Fiction 
* A Mystery Guild Selection

Delicious recipes are also featured in our 14th 
culinary mystery, Once Upon a Grind, including...

* Cinderella Pumpkin Cake 
* Snow White Chocolate Mocha 
* "Fryer Tuck's" Ale-Battered Onion Rings 
* Poor Man's Caviar * Black Forest Brownies 
* Cappuccino Blondies 
* Shrimp Kiev * Turkish Coffee
* Bosnian Coffee 
* Dr Pepper Glazed Chicken 
* Caramel-Dipped Meltaways 
* Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies

...and many more recipes, including 
a guide to reading coffee grinds...

See the book's
Recipe Guide (free PDF)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

Or learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost by clicking here.

Sign up for our Coffeehouse Newsletter here.
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After you subscribe, an auto-reply will send 
you a link to several past newsletters.

Thanks for stopping by the Kitchen! 

~ Cleo

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How to Make a Virgin Sangria While Amusing Your Cat by Cleo Coyle

Got overripe fruit?  Waste not! This virgin sangria is a nice way to make use of it. 

Why virgin? 
A white wine sangria is delicious, and one of my favorite summer drinks, but on a warm day, I prefer that my fingers hit my laptop keyboard rather than my forehead, which means no firewater until the workday is done. A virgin sangria is also a good solution for households with kids because the drink can be converted into an adult beverage at the time it's poured, which means one pitcher can conveniently serve drinkers and non-drinkers.

Want a Happy Hour Cooler? 
Spike it...
To turn this drink into an adult beverage, Marc and I recommend mixing the virgin sangria in a glass with a generous splash of port, sherry, brandy, grappa, cognac, or your favorite fortified wine. Fruit liqueurs (and amaretto) work well, too. The virgin sangria will dilute the alcohol, which is why a more concentrated choice works better for mixing this cooler than using a standard red, white or sparkling wine (although your mileage may vary). While we’ve never tried vodka, it should work well, as should rum. Unfortunately, as I’ve written in the past on this blog, white rum sends me to the dark side, so it’s a non-starter for me. That’s why I drink a virgin mojito.

To get my Virgin Mojito recipe (pictured right), see my "Tale of the Virgin Mojito" post by clicking here.

For my Virgin Sangria recipe,
scroll down...

Cleo Coyle's 
Virgin Sangria - Makes 2 quarts


- 1 (11.5 fluid ounce) can of frozen
   white grape juice concentrate

- 1 quart bottled or sparkling water
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 4 to 5 peaches or nectarines, chopped
- 2 cups chopped watermelon

MIX IT: Empty concentrate into your pitcher or container and stir in the water. When the concentrate is melted into a smooth liquid, add in the fruit. Stir well, cover, and chill for several hours or overnight. The fruit will fortify the white grape juice, making it refreshingly delicious. It will also blush the color from an unappetizing dark yellow to a pretty shade of deep pink. 

SERVE IT: Serve chilled in a frosty cold glass and garnish by a triangle of watermelon or small strawberry (see photo above for ideas).

SPIKE IT, IF YOU LIKE: This is a versatile drink for a household with children or one with drinkers and non-drinkers. To serve this drink as an adult beverage, simply mix half a glass of the virgin sangria with a generous splash of port, sherry, or your favorite fortified wine. Brandy, grappa, cognac, vodka, rum, and fruit liqueurs are other possible ways to spike this refreshing summer cooler. (A concentrated wine or hard alcohol will give you better results than standard wines or sparkling wines, which may taste too diluted by the virgin sangria.)

Amuse Your Cat... 

Yes, as I was taking photos for this post, our newest adopted New York Stray, Durango Quick (aka “Rango” or “Mr. Quick”), decided that a peach also makes a very good beach ball. And, of course, after playtime, he decided to take a taste of the delicious water droplets shimmering on the edge of my watermelon garnish. So…

Cheers to all you thirsty
cats out there!

Drink with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Mint Syrup

With National Ice Cream Month coming to a close, it's time to move on to lighter fare.  But it's still brutally hot outside, so I'm still not wanting to, you know, cook.

As a result, I decided to go with something simple, refreshing, and versatile:  mint syrup.

Mint is the perfect antidote to summer's woes.  The candy commercials get it right:  take a bite of peppermint or spearmint, and your core temperature seems to plummet.

Personally, I plan to spend this sweltering weekend on my front porch, keeping cool with a variety of minty treats.  And they all start with this basic mint syrup, a summer staple you can make for a specific recipe or simply keep in the fridge for whenever you want an extra dose of refreshment.

Hibiscus-Mint Iced Tea
Mint Syrup

2/3 - 1 oz. fresh mint leaves
1 c. sugar

Chop the mint.  Combine the mint, sugar, and 1 c. water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Simmer syrup (without stirring) 2 minutes.  Allow the syrup to cool for 15 minutes, then pour through a fine mesh sieve to remove the mint.  Cover and chill up to two weeks.

What to do with it:
  1. Add a couple of tablespoons of the chilled syrup to lemonade, limeade, iced tea, or a combination of the above.
  2. Drizzle the syrup over well-chilled cubed or sliced watermelon (1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of syrup is enough for a regular-sized seedless watermelon).  If you like, squeeze the juice of a fresh lime (or two) over the melon, too.
  3. Make minted hibiscus iced tea:  Bring 6 cups of water to a boil.  Remove from heat, stir in 1 oz. dried hibiscus flowers, cover, and steep for 10 to 15 minutes.  Strain the tea.  Stir in another 4 cups cold water and 1 cup of the minted syrup.  Serve chilled over ice with wedges of fresh lime.
  4. Make mojito slushies:  combine 1 recipe of the syrup with 1/2 c. fresh lime juice, 1/2 c. light rum, and 8 cups crushed ice in a blender and, well, blend!


    Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook.