Cheryl’s Cuisine: June 2020

By Cheryl Radkiewicz 

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this first week of June will bring us out of the “Red” into the “Yellow” of the Covid pandemic.  There aren’t that many  differences as far as eating out until we enter the “Green” phase, which can’t come fast enough for many of us, however, it’s a step in the right direction.

When our quarantine first started in March, the weather was cold.  Just a hop, skip and jump later we’re in the 80’s and 90’s.  Now it’s time to look forward to summer and eating cool.   The answer to my prayer this week has been watermelon.  

The fruit, so sweet, cold, and juicy, has been a welcome delight in our home.  Immediately after returning home from my weekly shopping trip, I place it in our refrigerator.  In a day or two, it’s time to cut it out of its rind into chunks….sweet, juicy chunks.

Watermelon isn’t as versatile as other summer melons as it is nearly all water. However, the advantage of this is that it’s wonderful just plain…doesn’t need any seasoning…and no, I don’t like salt on it…I savor the sweetness.   

 It’s the kind of fruit you can’t get enough of during its prime season, which is May through September.    So here are some drink and salad recipes highlighting this luscious summer fruit.

Frozen Watermelon Daiquiri:

1/2 seedless watermelon, cut into 1″ cubes then freeze in a freezer bag
1/2-1 cup rum (not spiced)
1 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
Handful of mint leaves, chopped

 Put frozen watermelon cubes in blender.  Add rum, confectioners’ sugar and mint leaves.  Blend.  Note: you may have to push watermelon down several times until smooth.  Pour into glass.  Makes 4-6 drinks.

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Caribbean Cooler:

3 cups chopped, seeded watermelon, rind removed
2-4 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, plus more, to taste
1/2 cup ginger ale

 Place watermelon in single layer on rimmed baking sheet.  Cover and freeze until solid, at least 1 hour.  Remove from freezer and set aside at room temperature to soften slightly, about 5 minutes.  In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. lime juice and sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. 

In blender, combine the lime-sugar mixture and ginger ale and, with motor running, add watermelon, a few cubes at a time, until mixture turns to slush. Taste and adjust amount of lime juice and sugar accordingly.  Serve immediately.  Serves 2.

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Watermelon Fizz:

2 cups seedless watermelon chunks
6 oz. club soda
2 Tbsp. frozen limeade concentrate
10 ice cubes
3 oz. watermelon-flavored vodka, Smirnoff
1 Tbsp. sugar
Whole strawberries

In blender container, combine watermelon, club soda, limeade concentrate, ice, vodka and sugar.  Cover and blend until smooth.  Pour into chilled glasses.  Garnish with strawberries.   Serves 2.

***

Watermelon Spritzer:

4 cups watermelon, cut in chunks, seeds removed
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 cups sparkling water, chilled

In blender, combine watermelon, sugar and lime juice.  Cover and process until smooth.  Strain into pitcher.  Top with sparkling water.  Pour into glasses and serve.  Serves 4.

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Watermelon Salsa:

4 cups seeded, chopped watermelon
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
2 tsp. finely chopped jalapeno pepper
1 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro or parsley
1/8 tsp. salt

In large bowl combine all ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.  Serve with slotted spoon.  Makes 4 cups salsa.

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Watermelon Tomato Salad:

10 cups cubed seedless watermelon
2 pints grape or pear-shaped tomatoes
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1/4 cup lime juice

In large bowl, combine watermelon, tomatoes and onion.  In small bowl, combine parsley, basil and lime juice.  Pour over watermelon mixture and toss to coat.  Refrigerate until serving.  Yield: 16 servings.

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Watermelon Cucumber Medley:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (or lime juice)
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
6 cups watermelon, cubed
3 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced

In a jar with  tight-fitting lid, combine oil, lemon or lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper; shake until sugar is dissolved.  In a bowl, combine watermelon and cucumbers; drizzle with dressing.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.  Serves 10.

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Watermelon Sherbet:

8 cups seeded chopped watermelon
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups milk
In a large bowl, combine watermelon, sugar and lemon juice.  Chill for 30 minutes; place half in blender.  Blend until smooth; pour into large bowl.  Repeat with other half and set aside.  In saucepan, cook and stir gelatin and water over low heat until gelatin dissolves.  Add to watermelon mixture; mix well.  Stir in milk and mix until well blended.  Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions.  Serve immediately or freeze and allow to thaw about 20 minutes before serving.  Makes 1/2 gallon.    

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