Monday, August 16, 2010

Wonderful Watermelon Cooler

Watermelon Cooler

Try this most refreshing beverage at your next barbecue or picnic. Leave out the alcohol to make a kid-friendly version that tastes just as good...well, almost as good.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes, plus one hour chill time
Yield: serves 12


1 large watermelon (about 8 pounds)
2 cups vodka or white rum
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup sugar (superfine is best)
10 mint leaves
Seltzer water or club soda


1. Remove rind from watermelon, cut the flesh into cubes and puree using a blender. Strain watermelon puree through a very fine mesh sieve into a large pitcher, discarding solids. You should end up with about 6 cups of watermelon juice.

2. Stir in vodka or rum, lime juice and sugar. Bruise mint leaves by squeezing them with your fingers, then add to the pitcher.

3. Refrigerate the mixture for about one hour, for the flavors to meld. Stir again then serve over ice with a splash of club soda, garnished with a slice of lime or watermelon.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Awesome Tomato Salad

Jamie Oliver's Tomato Salad

This recipe is so easy to make, and so easy to eat. For a lovely, rustic look use all different kinds of heirloom tomatoes, some sliced, some quartered or halved.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Yield: serves 4 (or two piggies like us)


2 pounds of mixed heirloom tomatoes
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup best extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, grated
pinch of dried oregano
1 ball or log of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 teaspoon of fresh spicy red or green chile (seeded and de-veined)
sea salt and pepper, to taste
handful of basil leaves, torn into smallish pieces


1. Cut the tomatoes into halves, quarters or slices, depending on the size and place in a colander over a bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and toss with your hands. Let drain for 15 minutes to concentrate the tomato flavors.

2. Meanwhile whisk the olive oil, vinegar, garlic and oregano in a small bowl.

3. Slice the mozzarella and place on one side of a medium platter. Arrange the tomatoes next to the cheese. Drizzle the cheese and tomatoes with the dressing and sprinkle salt and pepper over the cheese. Sprinkle the minced chile and the torn basil over the top of the platter and serve immediately.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Zucchini Walnut Bread with Cranberries

Zucchini Walnut Bread with Cranberries

I am a huge, huge fan of one bowl cakes that don't require any special equipment that might be stored on a garage shelf (think stand-mixer). This one fits the bill. Not only is it pleasantly spiced, it has a nice crunch from the walnuts and a bit of tangy goodness from all the dried cranberries. I think it would also be fabulous with chocolate chips. But almost everything is, isn't it? The recipe is adapted from this one.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Yield: 2 loaves


2 extra large eggs
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup sweetened, dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 standard loaf pans and set aside.

2. Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl with a wire whisk. Whisk in sugar until thoroughly combined. Add butter and vanilla, stirring well. Whisk in zucchini and salt.

3. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the baking powder, then add half the flour and all the nutmeg and cinnamon. When combined, add the remaining flour and whisk just until barely combined.

4. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the walnuts and cranberries, taking care not to over-work the batter.

5. Pour the batter evenly between the two prepared loaf pans and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean.

6. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, before inverting to a cooling rack to cool completely. Top with your favorite cream cheese frosting, if desired.