Cooking with Tammy Kelly: Make it with melon - Happy Watermelon Month!

Cooking with Tammy Kelly: Make it with melon - Happy Watermelon Month!

July is National Watermelon Month and there's nothing better than biting into a juicy piece of fresh watermelon on a hot, summer day. Not to mention that one wedge of watermelon or two cups contains 86 calories and not a single gram of fat! This fruit is full of healthy nutrients like potassium and vitamin A, making it an excellent choice for a healthy diet. 

The beautiful pink color of watermelon, due to beta-carotene, is a powerful ally against many types of cancer, particularly colon cancer. Lycopene, a carotenoid found in abundance in watermelon provides additional cancer fighting health benefits of watermelon. 

The high water content of watermelon is part of what gives it fat burning benefits, helping to make your metabolism work more efficiently. With a healthy amount of fiber and protein, your body will still work harder simply processing watermelon.

The mildly sweet flavor of watermelon is a great addition to recipes such as watermelon salad, watermelon drinks, and watermelon salsa. There are plenty of good reasons to jump into a nice juicy wedge of watermelon!!!  


Watermelon and Feta Skewers

(Watermelon and Feta are a terrific combination

1 medium watermelon, cut into 1" cubes

1 bunch basil leaves

1/2 medium red onion, diced large

12 oz. block of feta, cut into 1" cubes

1 hothouse cucumber, cut into half moons

Balsamic glaze, for drizzling

Assemble skewers by layering watermelon, basil, red onion, feta, and cucumber. Place skewers onto a serving platter.

Drizzle all over with balsamic glaze. Yields 8 servings.

This one is not super simple, but I made it for a party once and it was a great hit! 

 

Watermelon Goat Cheese Squares 

2 watermelon slices, cut into cubes 

1 oz. goat cheese, broken into small pieces 

5 mint leaves, thinly sliced 

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

2 tablespoons honey 

In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and honey. Set aside.

Using a melon ball maker I scooped out a small scoop in the top of the squares, it holds the goat cheese better. Arrange watermelon squares on a platter, top with goat cheese and drizzle with honey lemon dressing. I have also drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar.  Both are great!

Sprinkle with mint and serve.

Grilled Watermelon Pizza Wedges 

(You will be pleasantly surprised at the taste treat watermelon becomes when grilled) 

1 cup sliced red onion

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 (3/4-inch-thick) slice seedless watermelon (from a 9-inch-diameter watermelon)

1 ounce creamy blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

2 tablespoons small basil leaves

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.

Combine onion, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl; let stand 15 minutes or until onion is softened, tossing occasionally. Combine 2 teaspoons brining liquid and 2 teaspoons olive oil, stirring with a whisk. Drain onion, and discard remaining liquid.

Brush olive oil mixture onto both sides of watermelon slice. Grill watermelon 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until well marked and juicy; place on a serving platter or cutting board. Top watermelon evenly with pickled onions, blue cheese, and pecans. Sprinkle with basil. Cut into 8 wedges.

Serves 4, each serving contains:  Calories 120, Fat 2 g, Protein 3 g, Fiber 1 g, Cholesterol 5 mg, Sodium 165 mg.  


Mediterranean Watermelon Salad 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus ¼ cup, divided

¼ cup rinsed capers

⅓ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved

1½ tablespoons sherry vinegar

Ground pepper to taste

5 cups diced watermelon (1-inch)

½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil

½ cup thinly sliced fresh mint

⅔ cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Flaky sea salt for garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan over high heat. Pat capers dry and add to the hot oil. Cook, stirring, until crisp, 1 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. (Discard the oil.)

Whisk the remaining ¼ cup oil in a large bowl with olives, vinegar and a generous grinding of pepper. Add watermelon, basil and mint and gently toss to coat. Arrange in a large shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle with feta, almonds and the crispy capers. Garnish with sea salt, if desired.

Serves 6, each 1 cup serving contains:  Calories 260, Fat 22 g, Protein 4 g, Fiber 2 g, Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 356 mg.  

Chunky Tomato Watermelon Salsa 

1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (about 8 1/2 oz.) 

1 1/2 cups diced seedless watermelon (about 8 1/2 oz.) 

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion 

1 red Fresno chile, finely chopped 

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro 

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint 

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 

1 tablespoon canola oil, divided 

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

Stir together tomatoes, watermelon, red onion, chile, cilantro, mint, lime juice, 1 tablespoon canola oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.  Use to top fish, chicken, or pork.  

Grilled Tuna with Hot and Sweet Salsa 

2 5-ounce fresh or frozen tuna steaks, cut ¾- to 1-inch thick 

½ teaspoon cumin seeds or ¼ teaspoon ground cumin 

½ teaspoon finely shredded lime peel 

2 tablespoons lime juice 

1 tablespoon canola oil 

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper 

⅛ teaspoon salt 

¾ cup chopped seeded watermelon 

½ cup chopped yellow or orange sweet pepper 

1 green onion, thinly sliced 

2 teaspoons snipped fresh mint 

Lime wedges (optional) 

Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish. Set aside. If using cumin seeds, in a small dry skillet, heat cumin seeds over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until aromatic, shaking skillet occasionally. Crush cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle.

In a small bowl, combine crushed cumin seeds or ground cumin, the lime peel, lime juice, oil, ⅛ teaspoon of the crushed red pepper and the salt. Pour over fish in bag; turn to coat fish. Seal bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes, turning bag occasionally.

Meanwhile, to prepare salsa: In a small bowl, combine watermelon, sweet pepper, green onion, mint and the remaining ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper. Set aside.

Serves 2, each serving contains:  Calories 252, Fat 8 g, Protein 34 g, Fiber 2 g, Cholesterol 63 mg, Sodium 202 mg.  

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