Chopping Honey Dew Melon

It's not really time for Honeydew Melon, but when I saw halves on sale for a good price at my favorite place to buy produce, Wilson Farms in Lexington, MA, I couldn't help but buy one. One of my pleasures during the summer months is making melon fruit salads. I usually keep it simple: honey dew melon chopped into chunks with one other fruit. The pale green of the melon contrasted beautifully with the bright red of soft raspberries or the dark blue of blueberries. Since the store also had some nectarines for sale, I thought I'd make a melon and nectarine salad.

One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is chop produce. I simply adore chopping. My all-star is the onion, which I can chop into a lovely dice within seconds (no tears involved). The most complicated may be the pineapple as it's a multi-step process, but the results are juicy and delicious and worth the effort. Melons are a bit tricky and I find that people take the easy way out and just halve the melons, slice them and then run their knife down the peel until they get lunar crescent shaped pieces which they then chop. I like to prep my melons a different way.

If your melon is not already halved, go ahead and cut it down the middle and prepare each half as directed below. Halving melons are tricky as those round buggers like to roll. You can always make a little slice into the peel at the waist of the melon to give the whole globe a flat resting point which stabilizes it on the cutting board.

1. Lay your half-melon cut side down on your cutting board. This keeps the melon stable. Cut into the peel on an angle with your knife.

2. Carefully work your knife around the shape of the melon, cutting off the peel. Don't cut too into the flesh as you'll lose some valuable fruit.

3. Once the melon is lovely and naked, halve it down the center with your knife.

4. Then create even slices down the length of both sections like so...

5. Then chop fruit into even chunks going the other way.

6. Now you have juicy chunks of Honeydew melon goodness.

7. Top it off with some Nectarine slices and it's the perfect salad for a hot sunny day.

Melon on Foodista

The Marriage of Rhubarb and Strawberries: A Love Story

Rhubarb and strawberries could not be more different from each other. Rhubarb with it's long green and red fibrous stalks looks very different from the plump, heart-shaped strawberries that ooze their sweet red juice. Put them side by side they don't look quite right together but when you pair them in cooking, something magical happens.

One of my good friends recently lent me borrow her copy of the book The Joy of Rhubarb. I know what you are thinking, a book entirely about rhubarb? I have never cooked with this "vegetable" so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to learn. And what better way to discover the wonders of Rhubarb than with a little help with it's close-knit lover the strawberry.

Adapted from The Joy of Rhubarb: The Versatile Summer Delight by Theresa Millang

Rhubarb-Strawberry Muffins

Dry Ingredients:

1-3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:

1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup skim milk
1/3 extra light olive oil (or canola oil)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup rhubarb, finely chopped
1/2 strawberries halved and sliced
grated orange rind
juice of 1/2 an orange

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (Fahrenheit). Prepare rhubarb and strawberries. Add to a separate bowl. Add grated orange rind and the orange juice and let sit.

In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Then add egg, milk, vanilla and oil. Stir in fruit mixture.

Spoon into 12 cupcake liners in a muffin pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes.

The rhubarb and strawberries seem bulky in the batter at first but they pratically dissolve into the dough when baking. These muffins are slightly sweet, tart, fragrant and perfect with a nice tall glass of iced tea. Enjoy!
Rhubarb on Foodista
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