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Archive for August 3, 2015

RECIPE: Watermelon Pizza

How about a watermelon pizza for National Watermelon Day, August 3rd? Here are two snack or dessert recipes, and they couldn’t be easier.

The first is from the National Watermelon Promotion Board, Watermelon.org.

RECIPE: WATERMELON PIZZA

Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 watermelon round, from a watermelon 8 to 10 inches in
    diameter, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 cup strawberry preserves
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  •    

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    Pizza for dessert! Photo courtesy National Watermelon Promotion Board.

     
    Preparation

    1. DRAIN the watermelon round on paper towels to remove the excess moisture. Place on a serving platter and cut into 6 wedges, leaving them in the shape of a pizza.

    2. SPREAD the preserves (the “sauce” on top and sprinkle the toppings over the preserves. It’s ready to serve!

     

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    Easiest watermelon pizza: Just add sliced kiwi! Photo courtesy Zespri | Facebook.

     

    RECIPE: WATERMELON KIWI PIZZA

    The second watermelon pizza couldn’t be easier. If you like, you can add on additional fruits—whatever you have on hand, from stone fruit slices (peaches, nectarines, plums, etc.) to orange segments.

    Without the chocolate chips, coconut, raisins and walnuts, it qualifies as a “diet dessert.”

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 watermelon round, from a watermelon 8 to 10 inches in
    diameter, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • Optional: other sliced fruits, as desired
  • Optional garnish: shredded coconut “cheese”
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DRAIN the watermelon round on paper towels to remove the excess moisture. Place on a serving platter and cut into 6 wedges, leaving them in the shape of a pizza.

    2. PEEL and slice the kiwi. Place on slice on each watermelon wedge. Sprinkle with optional coconut.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 20+ Ways To Use Pimento Cheese

    Pimento cheese is known as a Southern specialty, along with barbecue, catfish and hush puppies, grits, red velvet cake and sweet tea. Yet, according to a Southern culinary historian, the soft cheese and red bell pepper spread is a Northern invention.

    THE HISTORY OF PIMENTO CHEESE

    Today’s combination of grated Cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, seasonings and finely diced red pimento (the Americanized spelling of the Spanish pimiento, red bell pepper) started in the North as a cream cheese-based spread. It blended the newly-introduced blocks of cream cheese with canned pimentos, newly imported from Spain. The two ingredients may have been first combined by home economists, women who developed new recipes and other tips for homemakers that were eagerly read in books, magazines, newspapers and on product labels.

    In the 1870s, New York State farmers farmers began to make a soft, unripened cheese modeled after the French Neufchâtel cheese. Within a few decades, a recipe for cream cheese appeared, made by mixing cream into the Neufchâtel curd. The new soft cheese was molded into small wood block forms.

    Because the city of Philadelphia had a reputation for fine food, a New York-based manufacturer, Phenix Cheese Company, named its product Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese. It was the leading brand then as now (J.L. Kraft and Bros., established in 1909, acquired Phenix Cheese Company in 1930; the company is now called Kraft Foods Group).

       

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    The pimento cheeseburger served at Gardenia restaurant in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Photo courtesy Gardenia.

     
    THE PIMENTO CHEESE SANDWICH TAKES HOLD

    The cream cheese/pimento spread became a standard on tea sandwiches, and spread (no pun intended) from the tea party set to the working class. It found its way onto lunch carts, along with the egg salad and ham and cheese sandwiches; and into sandwich shops and diners.

    The first printed recipe unearthed so far is in Good Housekeeping magazine in 1908, for a sandwich filled that blended softened cream cheese, minced pimentos, mustard and chives. The following year, the Up-to-Date Sandwich Book published a simpler version: Neufchâtel cheese with chopped pimentos and a bit of salt on lightly buttered white bread.

    Before World War I, dozens of similar recipes appeared in magazines and cookbooks. Soon after World War I, southern farmers began growing pimentos. Locals mixed the canned domestic pimentos with grated Cheddar instead of cream cheese, which was then less available in the southern states.

    In the South, pimento cheese remains a choice on tearoom menus, sliced into triangles; and as finger sandwich with cocktails. Commercial brands of pimento cheese can be found in most supermarkets, to be spread on crackers at home. Every home cook has his or her favorite recipe.

    Back to the original for a moment: Philadelphia Brand actually sold two flavored cream cheeses in addition to the original plain: Chive and Pimento. All three were staples in our home. Alas, Philadelphia Pimento Cream Cheese was discontinued a few years ago in favor of a dozen more modern flavors, including Blueberry and Spicy Jalapeño. It seems that today’s consumers would rather have Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese than Pimento. Chive has survived as Chive & Onion.

    If you want a taste of the original pimento peerfection, you’ll have to blend your own diced pimentos into cream cheese. But if you want to embrace Southern-style pimento cream cheese, here’s how to do it, along with a recipe to make your own Cheddar-based pimento cheese:
     
    HOW TO SERVE IT: PIMENTO CHEESE FOR BREAKFAST

  • Breakfast tortilla: Warm a corn tortilla in a skillet or the microwave. Spread with pimiento cheese and top with two fried eggs and salsa. Optional garnishes: chopped green onions, sliced black olives, chopped fresh herbs.
  • Cheese omelet
  • Toast spread (bacon optional)
  • Poached eggs on pimento cheese toast
  •  

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    With wine, beer or cocktails: pimento
    cheese and crackers, toasts or sliced
    baguette. Photo by Katharine Pollak |
    THE NIBBLE.

     

    PIMIENTO CHEESE FOR LUNCH

  • Biscuit sandwich, with lettuce and tomato.
  • Cheeseburger: Spread a heaping knife-full of pimento cheese atop a grillled burger. Add the top bun and wait a minute for the cheese to melt.
  • Dip For fries: Dipping works better with a creamier style pimento cheese (see above). Or, thin the spread with milk, sour cream, mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt.
  • Grilled cheese sandwich
  • General sandwich spread (ham, grilled vegetables, sliced egg, turkey, e.g.)
  • Stuffed grilled tomato or bell pepper
  • Taco/burrito: Warm a small tortilla and spread it with pimento cheese. Top with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, taco-seasoned beef, grated cheese, sour cream and salsa. Sprinkle with chopped green onions; add shredded lettuce and tomatoes.
  • Toasted egg sandwich: Spread pimento cheese on toast; top with fried, scrambled or sliced hard-cooked eggs.
  • Wrap sandwich: Spread instead of mayo on a ham, turkey, grilled veggies or other wrap.
  •  
    PIMENTO CHEESE FOR HORS D’OEUVRE & SNACKS

  • Crudité dip (add more milk, cream or mayo to thin to the desired consistency)
  • Cracker/toast/crostini spread
  • Deviled eggs (mix with the yolks)
  • Stuffed celery
  • Stuffed cherry tomatoes or baby potatoes
  •  
    PIMENTO CHEESE FOR DINNER

  • Baked potato/stuffed potato
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Potatoes gratin
  • Quick fondue
  •  
    RECIPE: PIMENTO CHEESE SPREAD

    You can find recipes made with Cheddar, Cheddar-cream cheese blends and other cheeses. This one sticks with classic Cheddar.

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 jar (4 ounces) diced pimiento, drained
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (ground red pepper)
  • 1 block (8 ounces) extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 block (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the mayonnaise, pimiento, Worcestershire sauce, onion and cayenne in a large bowl. Stir in the cheese.

    2. CHILL in the refrigerator to let the flavors meld. Serve at room temperature. The sprea can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.

     
    Variations

  • CAROLINA STYLE: Add 1/4 cup diced olives and jalapeños.
  • CREAMY: Make the spread creamier by blending in 4 ounces of cream cheese.
  • HOLIDAY: Add 1/4 cup cranberry sauce (preferably whole cranberry sauce).
  • MEXICAN: Add 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo sauce, drained; or 1 teaspoon dried chipotle. Adjust quantity to taste.
  • ONION: Add finely-diced red onion and fresh parsley to taste.
  • SMOKY: Add 1/4 cup cooked bacon, drained and crumbled.
  • SWEET & TANGY: Add some pickle relish. Start with a heaping tablespoon, drained.
  •   

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    RECIPE: Salted Watermelon Milkshake

    For National Watermelon Day, August 3rd, try a salted watermelon milkshake.

    Salt with watermelon? Actually, as a pinch of salt helps most foods, it’s an old trick to bring out more flavor (here, sweetness) in the watermelon.

    This recipe is courtesy of The Milk Shake Factory in Pittsburgh. It requires watermelon sorbet; but if you can’t find it or don’t want to make it (here’s a watermelon sherbet recipe), substitute strawberry or raspberry sorbet.

    Or, make an easy watermelon granita with this watermelon granita recipe, minus the basil. No ice cream maker is used; just watermelon, sugar, water, lemon juice and an ice cube tray.

    Prep time for the milkshake is 10 minutes.

    RECIPE: SALTED WATERMELON MILKSHAKE

    Ingredients For 1 Large Or 2 Small Servings

  • 8 ounces watermelon sherbet
  • 4 ounces whole milk
  • Two 2-inch cubes seedless watermelon, rind removed
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 4 ounces soda water
  • Optional garnish: mini chocolate chips
  • Optional garnish: watermelon wedge
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    Salted watermelon milkshake. Photo courtesy The Milk Shake Factory | Pittsburgh.

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the watermelon sherbet, milk, watermelon slices and a pinch of sea salt in a blender. Blend until the sherbet and watermelon slices break down, approximately 45 seconds. Add the soda water and blend 10 seconds more.

    2. POUR the mixture into a 20-ounce drinking glass or two 10-ounce glasses. Garnish with mini chocolate chips and skewer the watermelon wedge, or notch it deeply and anchor it to the rim of the glass. Serve immediately.

      

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