Watermelon, Basil and Limes…oh yeah!

Smells of summer…are wonderfully unique, endless and obvious.

The sense of smell is one of the strongest memory enhancers, so they say.  And there are a few things relative to food and drink that come to my mind as far as sensory triggers are concerned…good things…in the kitchen or at the bar.  Watermelon.  Basil.  Limes.  Three great reminders, enhancers, of the summer.  They are also three great ingredients for summer recipes and creative foods and drinks.

Margaritas are obvious.  And I have covered this a little bit before…and probably will again.  Watermelon is also an obvious summer food…and a great one enjoyed all by itself.  (Or as like in college, when we were about as creative as plugging a watermelon with vodka or tequila).  Basil has become as popular as vampires and werewolves lately, serving it with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. (The creativity usually comes in the name of the dish and how it is presented…stacked, etc.)

So I will add a little creativity and also share some creativity that I have discovered in some recent recipes I have tried. (trying out these drink recipes are a real chore…but it must be done!) I hope you enjoy them, as you enjoy the summer and your life.  These are only a few…there will be more.

This first one is one of the biggest food surprises of the summer.  It combines wonderful ingredients, some of my favorites, in a way that you can only imagine by opening up your mind…and your taste buds.  Shrimp…Watermelon…Feta…Tomatoes.  Oh yeah!  Give it go as an entrée!

Grilled Shrimp, Watermelon, Feta and Tomato Salad

1-1/2 lb. raw extra-jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per lb.), peeled and deveined
1/4 cup plus 2 Tb. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tsp. honey
Vegetable oil, for the grill
4 cups mixed greens (spinach works well, so do most greens, even lettuce…yawwn…boring)
3 cups small-diced seedless watermelon (about 1 lb.)
3 medium ripe red or yellow tomatoes cut into wedges
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
6 oz. feta, crumbled or cut into pieces (1-1/4 cups)
30 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with 2 Tb. of the lemon juice and the paprika; marinate at room temperature for 5 minutes.  Season the shrimp on both sides with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice with the olive oil, honey, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Whisk well.
Grill the shrimp, flipping once, until firm and opaque throughout, 4 to 6 minutes total.

In a large bowl, gently toss the greens with 3 Tb. of the dressing. In a medium bowl, gently toss the watermelon, tomatoes, feta, basil, 2 Tb. dressing, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Divide the greens among the plates and spoon the watermelon mixture over each. Top with the shrimp, drizzle with the remaining dressing, and eat!

Now you will need to have a beverage with this.  And a nice Pinot Grigio or a Rose would do the trick.  Another nice option might be to mix yourself, and others…remember it is important to share…a HAVANA MOON.
(recipe is for a single drink…if there is such a thing!)
5 mint leaves
1 oz Ginger infused simple syrup (recipe below)
1 oz lime juice
3 dashes of bitters (I used Angostura)
2 oz of an aged or spiced rum…your preference…(actually most good rums will work just fine)
Ginger infused simple syrup: combine 1 part sugar and 2 parts water in a small pan.  Take a one to two-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and cut into eighths, and place into pan.  Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved.  Strain into container when cooled.  Refrigerate. The ginger from the syrup is actually good to eat…spicy, but good.
In a shaker or glass, muddle the mint with the ginger simple syrup.  Add the rum, lime juice and bitters.  Shake and strain into a tall glass, or hell any glass will work.  Then top it off with the Prosecco.  Add a slice of lime…if you like garnish.  Then get ready to make another because you might want one.
(My note:  the amounts of syrup and lime juice can vary according to taste.  For that matter the same goes for the rum and Prosecco.  I have confidence that you will figure it out.)
So for summer food and drink here are a couple of suggestions which will not steer you wrong.  Now for summer fun…well a good friend of mine once told me,”You are responsible for your own Fun”.  How true it is.
So be responsible, eat, drink, enjoy life and have some fun.  I will…and it looks like my Mom is below.
Published in: on August 3, 2010 at 5:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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