Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Deliciousness at it's Best!

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I have some seriously delicious summer recipes for you - this weekend I really got into the spirit of the season and whipped up some great lighter recipes full of seasonal fruits and veggies. I'll even threw a recipe for breadsticks that, around our house, are referred to as being "stupid good".

These two "salad" recipes are so simple I feel like I can barely call them recipes, but here they are nonetheless. The first one is a watermelon salad...which should be telling all by itself because neither Aaron or I really like watermelon all that much. I have been disappointed too often when cracking open that heavy green rind - finding a mealy under-ripe melon inside. However, I stumbled across this simple, refreshing "dessert" after going blueberry picking and knew I had to give it a whirl and try to find a decent watermelon.

Here are a couple simple ways to ensure you find a watermelon that isn't under-ripe:

– Your watermelon should be firm, symmetrical and free of major bruises or scars. Some minor scratches are okay, however. After all, the purpose of that thick rind is to protect the delicious contents inside. Ripe watermelons should also be dark green in color.

LIFT – The ripest watermelons have the most water. And since watermelons are 92 percent water, your watermelon should be relatively heavy for its size.

TURN – Turn your watermelon over and check out its bottom, which should have a creamy yellow spot (also called “the ground spot”). This is where the watermelon sat on the ground while it soaked up the sun at the farm. If this spot is white or greenish, your watermelon may have been picked too soon and might not be as ripe as it should be.

Ok, so now that we've gotten that cleared up, check out this simple and seriously delicious recipe!

Watermelon Blueberry Salad

- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 3 fresh mint springs
- 1 lemon (juice and zest)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 3 cups fresh, cubed watermelon


1. Bring the water and the sugar up to a simmer in a saucepan. Remove from heat, add the mint sprigs and let it steep for about 10 minutes.

Discard the mint, add the lemon zest, juice and a pinch of salt.

Toss the watermelon and blueberries together in a large bowl. Drizzle in the mint/lemon simple syrup and toss well to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

A second salad I put together this week (and actually served in conjunction with the watermelon blueberry salad!) is a Shrimp Avocado Salad. It literally took maybe 15-20 minutes max to throw it together!

Shrimp Avocado Salad

- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 lbs. peeled shrimp
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 5 cups chopped romaine lettuce hearts
- 3 cups thinly chopped red or purple cabbage
- 1 avocado (sliced)
- Yellow corn tortilla chips (crushed for topping)


1. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the cumin and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Heat about 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the shrimp until golden and cooked through. If using frozen shrimp, just warm them up enough for the edges to get a little crisp.

Meanwhile, combine the lemon and lime juice with about 2 tbsp. olive oil and another sprinkle of salt and pepper in a large salad bowl. Add in the romaine, cabbage, avocado and shrimp - tossing to combine. Serve topped with crushed tortilla chips.

And now, just for kicks, check out this fantastic breadstick recipe I ran across - they are seriously "stupid good"!

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