By Charles Springfield
It’s very difficult to image that August is just about two weeks away – leaving us to come to the painful realization that summer fun will soon come to an end.
The good news is that it is STILL summer and we can – and should – make a concerted effort to enjoy every last drop of it, starting with consuming more delicious watermelon concoctions.
Followers of this blog are well aware of my underground campaign to inspire people to enjoy the taste and health benefits of watermelon. If you’re new to this blog, please check the archives for “The Official Fruit of Summer 2010.”
I’ve declared watermelon as the Official Fruit of the summer of 2010 and I think you should too. I’m feeling like Jay-Z – “I Just Wanna Love U (Give it To Me)” – when it comes to the fruit. I know some of you are simply just not fans of the fruit. But give me a few more minutes to see if I can change your mind.
Since we’re deep in the dog days of summer and the temperature is steady on the rise, I have some delicious, nutritious and intoxicating ways to enjoy the melon this summer. Check out the following recommendations and join my unofficial watermelon movement.
Enjoy, cheers and bon appétit mes amies! And for my same sex loving friends, Cheers Queers!!!
Spiked Watermelon Freeze Pops (recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis, FOOD network)
1/2 (3 pounds) large watermelon, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup watermelon flavored 70 proof vodka (recommended: Smirnoff Twist of Watermelon)* see Cook's Note
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
Special equipment: 16 (1/4 cup) ice pop molds, 16 wooden pop sticks or wooden coffee stirrers at least 2-inches longer than the molds.
In a blender, combine the watermelon, sugar and vodka. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Add the mint and pulse once to combine. Pour the mixture into the pop molds. Insert the wooden sticks all the way down the inside the molds. Freeze for at least 10 hours or preferably overnight.
To unfreeze the ice pops, insert the molds in hot water for 5 to 10 seconds. Serve immediately.
*Cook's Note: For nonalcoholic Watermelon Pops, substitute 3/4 cup orange juice for the vodka
Watermelon Margaritas (recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, FOOD Network)
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 lime wedge
1 cup watermelon puree (*see Cook's Note)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup premium 100 percent agave tequila
2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier or triple sec)
1 cup ice
In a medium saucepan, combine the lime zest, water and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature and strain out the zest. (Can be made in advance; keep in a covered container in the refrigerator.)
Chill a margarita glass in the freezer for 30 minutes. Place the coarse salt in a shallow dish or saucer. Wet the rim of the glass with a lime wedge and dip the glass into the salt, coating the top edge.
In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 tablespoons of the cooled lime syrup with the watermelon puree, lime juice, tequila, orange-flavored liqueur, and ice. Shake until frothy and well chilled, at least one minute. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with a lime wedge.
*Cook's Note: To make the watermelon puree, remove seeds from fresh watermelon and cut into large chunks. Place in a blender and process until smooth and well pureed.
Watermelon Green Tea Punch (courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board)
2 cups watermelon puree
2 cups unsweetened green tea, chilled
1 cup grape juice
¼ cup cherry juice (optional)
2 cups Ginger Ale or Chardonnay
In a large pitcher, add watermelon purée, green tea, grape juice, cherry juice and ginger ale or Chardonnay. Mix well and chill. Serve over ice.
Makes 9 servings.