Thursday, August 27, 2015

Keeping it simple: weekend eating and watermelon with mint and lime

Thursdays get me thinking about the weekend. Some weekends I love nothing more than parking myself in the kitchen, netflix on my laptop, and losing myself in a complicated and involved recipe.

Other weekends, I want simple meal solutions that require minimum last-minute effort, so that when lunch rolls around, and we return home from running errands, the dog park etc., a meal is quickly assembled. Sometimes the easiest thing to have in my fridge is veggies and dip plus a little fruit salad. In my mind, the fruit salad helps tip the veggies and dip from the snack category to the meal category.

This watermelon can hardly be called a salad, but it is also much more than just cubed up watermelon. I love to keep a container in the fridge and, for as long as it lasts, we will eat it at pretty much every meal. The sweet watermelon pairs nicely with the pervasive flavor of refreshing mint and the tang of both lime zest and lime juice. It can be served as soon as it is made, but I prefer when it's had a few hours in the refrigerator for the flavors to meld.

This is based off a salad recipe from long ago in Everyday Foods magazine. The first time I made this dish was during my first weeklong camping trip in Yosemite valley. We have a great group of friends who regularly spend a week in the valley around labor day. It was my first experience car camping for that length of time and I recall I did quite a bit of advanced meal planning. Our friends all love food too and we enjoy happy hours that extend into relaxed dinners around the campfire, with cooking and conversation. When I eat this salad I think of how much fun that initial trip was and the joy of discovering Yosemite for myself. I have the same nostalgia for camping in Yosemite as other people must have of memories of summer camp. (I went to summer camp twice growing up- the first experience was so hellacious that to this day, around childhood friends, if you mention the name of the camp bully "Buck", it sends a shudder through us all. The second experience was lovely, but by the time I was old enough to look forward to returning to camp, I was also old enough to work in the family restaurant, for which I have my own special memories and nostalgia.)

I resurrected this recipe a year ago when my husband and I were completing a Whole30. If you're curious about Whole30 you can read more about it here.
The original recipe also included making a slurry with sugar and rum. In favor of regular consumption, I abandoned the alcohol, but would certainly be fun for a party.

Watermelon salad with mint and lime

1 large seedless watermelon
2 limes
1 handful of fresh mint leaves, minced

1) Chop watermelon into slightly large cubes. I recommend large cubes because as this sits in the fridge, the edges of the watermelon cubes start to breakdown a little bit and if the pieces are on the smallish side, they can kind of fall apart.

2) Add to the watermelon the zest and juice from two limes and the minced mint leaves. Give it all a big stir to incorporate and stow, covered, in the fridge for at least 3 hours. This salad keeps for about three days.

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