I snapped this photo yesterday on my way to work.
Autumn’s arrived. Crisp, clear, crystal blue skies and leaves the shades of fire. Chilly mornings and warm afternoons.
I am excited for the start of autumn. To wear my skirts with bright tights, boots and to layer on the cardigans. To roast squash, simmer soups and bake apples. Here’s the thing: I’ve had these watermelons hanging out, overstaying their welcome and refusing to leave.
Watermelon unequivocably resonates summertime. You see my dilemma.
I love my CSA, but watermelon every week for what seems like forever is wearing a bit thin. My relationship with watermelon is akin to the family friend whom you like, but drives you crazy after about an hour. It’s not like I don’t like watermelon, I do, I just don’t love it. You are always pleased to see them, happy to reunite after time spent apart … and then you are ready to go your separate ways. Enough is enough.
The problem is that I cannot stand to throw out food. I’m a frugal foodie – not in the money sense, I certainly don’t have a problem opening up my wallet to expensive ingredients, but I hate wasting food. It’s why I made half a dozen angel food cakes this summer in order to use up all of the egg whites I’d saved from my ice cream adventures. So what to do with watermelon?
First off, pair it with mint and some citrus.
And if you’d like, add some salty cheese and a hint of heat.
Watermelon Lime and Mint Aqua Fresca: This was an excellent way to use up a lot of watermelon and is a riff on the raw rhubarb juice that I adore. Whew. And a cinch to pull together, with only four ingredients. Fantastic on it’s own, but is also quite appealing as a twist on a gin and tonic (add gin) or a mojito (add rum). One small watermelon yields 3-4 cups of juice.
Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint: I first made this salad when I was in the Pacific Northwest and it was entirely decent. I made it again, using half of the Yellow Doll watermelon (yes, a yellow watermelon!) from my CSA, swapped shallots for the onion and added a pinch of cayenne pepper to the dressing and I was ready to re-evaluate my feelings toward watermelon. Perhaps I’d be okay if it married into the family.
Watermelon, Two WaysWatermelon Lime Mint Aqua Fresca makes ~4 cups ********** 1 small watermelon, deseeded and chopped in 2-inch chunks juice from 2 limes 1 cup mint 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup water **********
In a food processor, combine the watermelon and lime juice. Process until there are no more watermelon chunks. Pour through a fine mesh sieve and discard pulp. In a small saucepan, combine mint, sugar and water. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar has dissolved and the mint has wilted. Pour through the mesh strainer into the watermelon-lime juice, pressing hard on mint leaves to extract all their flavor. Stir to combine.Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint from Food and Wine makes ~2 servings ********** Salad 1 small watermelon, deseeded and cut in 1/2 inch pieces 1 small shallot, finely chopped 1/2 cup chopped mint 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles Dressing 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper **********
In a large bowl, combine watermelon, diced shallot, mint and feta. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, salt, black and cayenne peppers. Toss with watermelon.