Thursday, August 21, 2014

Watermelon Fizz

So, watermelon juice/ water is insanely easy to make. I strongly encourage you guys to try it. After seeing watermelon drinks on menus all over San Francisco I decided I had to make my own.

Using 1 small, seedless watermelon gave me an entire quart of water. One watermelon goes a long way. This recipe can be adapted to make a tasty adult beverage for those hot summer days and nights, or keep it simple and make a watermelon fizz for you and the kids.

Watermelon Fizz
makes ~8 glasses

1 small - medium seedless watermelon
1 container sparking water (not flavored)
ice cubes
rosemary sprigs 
simple syrup (optional if watermelon is not very sweet)
Vodka (optional - 1 shot per glass)

Start by removing the rind from the watermelon. Cut the top and bottom off the watermelon so it can sit without rolling around. Cut the rind off so you have one big watermelon ball without and green. 

Cut watermelon up into cubes and pop into a food processor or blender. You might need to work in batches so it doesn't overflow. Pulse until the watermelon is as smooth as it will get. Pour the juice through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Repeat until all watermelon has gone through the food processor and been strained.

You will likely need to help the juice get through the sieve so move it around until only the pulp is left.

At this point, taste the juice. Mine was perfectly sweet and needed no additional sweetener. 

If your watermelon isn't as sweet make some simple syrup. 1/2 cup water mixed with 1/2 cup sugar and bring to a simmer. Let cool. Add a small amount the watermelon juice and taste. Add until it has reached desired sweetness.

To make the watermelon fizz: Add a few small ice cubes, fill 1/2 way with watermelon water and fill the rest with sparkling water. Garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary and a fun straw.

Kick up the fizz by adding a shot of vodka to the ice cubes before adding the watermelon juice. Stir and serve!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Party Snacks: Teriyaki Chicken Skewers with Ponzu Dipping Sauce

This marinade recipe may be familiar as I've used it before on this salmon recipe a few years back. It's my grandma's recipe that my sisters and I grew up loving. When we would drive to see my grandma in Albany, there would undoubtedly be the aroma of either a) meatballs and pasta or b) marinaded chicken with macaroni salad when walked in the door. There was no chance there wasn't food already on the table.

I keep going back to the marinade because it's simple and full of flavor. I stuck with my grandma's recipe by using chicken thighs because they are so juicy and tender when grilled. Just make sure to trim the chicken really well because chicken skin and fat is gross. I'm gagging a little thinking about it.

Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
makes ~10 skewers

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trim all excess fat and skin)
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tbsp fresh ginger (minced)
1/2 lemon (juice)
2 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper

for the dipping sauce:
1/4 cup ponzu
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp Mirin
1 green onion (thinly sliced)
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Start by trimming all the fat and skin off the chicken. You can buy them without skin, but I find that there is a little too much fat left on for my liking. Once trimmed, cut thighs into thin strips.

In a freezer bag, add soy sauce, minced garlic, ginger, lemon juice and sugar. Don't add the salt and pepper yet. Drop in the chicken strips and seal. Pop in the fridge for 2 hours to marinade.

When ready to serve, take out of fridge 15 minutes before cooking.  Skewer the strips onto wooden skewers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both side

Crank up the grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Drop the skewers directly on the grill pan and let one side cook for 5 minutes. Turn over and cook for 4 minutes. Watch closely so as not to burn the chicken, but a nice caramelized crust is a good thing! Remove from heat.

As the chicken cooks, whisk together the dipping sauce. Combine ponzu, soy sauce, Mirin, green onion and toasted sesame seeds.

Serve skewers together with the dipping sauce and enjoy at your next party or picnic.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Spiced Roasted Carrots

What to do with all those funky looking carrots at the market and in the grocery store? Keep it simple and don't overcook them. I like them with some bring flavors and popped into the oven on high heat for just 15 minutes. Simple, healthy and tasty.

Spiced Roasted Carrots
makes 4 side servings

10 tri-color carrots (rinsed and long leaves trimmed)
1/2 tsp each cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic powder
1 big squeeze lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Trim excess leaves off carrots and add to baking sheet. Coat carrots evenly in spices, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Pop in oven for 15 minutes. Remove and serve hot or can be chilled and served later. 
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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Watermelon Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Thyme

I don't know if watermelons have always been this popular, but I feel like this summer it's all I keep seeing. Watermelon cocktails, salads and aqua frescas. I ain't mad about it. I'm on the bandwagon. Inspired by this feature on Food52, I had to make a salad. Later this week I'll be posting a recipe for a Watermelon Fizz. Stay tuned!

Watermelon Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Thyme
makes 4+ servings

3 medium heirloom tomatoes (cubed)
1/3 small, seedless watermelon (peeled and cubed)
1 medium shallot (diced)
1/4 cup goat cheese (crumbled)
2 tbsp fresh thyme (minced)
1/2 lemon (juice)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Get out a large mixing bowl. Trim tomatoes so no hard parts remain and cube. Toss into the bowl. Trim the rind off the watermelon and cube into the same size pieces as the tomatoes.

Add shallot, thyme, lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar. Mix everything to thoroughly combine. Add goat cheese crumbles at the end and carefully fold in.

Either serve immediately or chill in fridge until ready to serve. 

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