Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Best Broccoli You have Ever Eaten

I would like to claim credit for the title of this entry but I am afraid I just can't. This is the broccoli that has been floating around Pinterest all day and since I am trying to eat 5 veggies each day, it seemed like as good a day to try it as any. ( Especially needed today since I was 2 vegetable servings short for the day and we had planned on having spaghetti for supper. A spaghetti dinner here usually means spaghetti a green salad and maybe a roll, so adding the broccoli was a Bohemian element and was met with huge resistance from the start. Of course unless someone else is willing to cook I get to make whatever I want.)

The Pinterest link I followed took me to a blog called The Amateur Gourmet. After reading his post it seems he lifted it from Ian Garten ( The Barefoot Contessa)
Not being a piss-ant, just trying to credit what is due. As if stealing from his blog were not enough I also lifted his picture of his broccoli. ( I forgot to charge my phone and have no idea where the real camera is) His is much prettier than my pic would have been anyway.

The Best Broccoli You Ever Ate

Preheat oven to 425.

Cut 4 to 5 pounds of broccoli cut into florets. (not too small though) Wash and dry it completely. ( I used the salad spinner then blotted with a clean cotton dish towel)

Put the broccoli onto a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.About 5 tablespoons olive oil ( I used ev cause I like the heavy olive taste)1/2 teaspoon sea salt and a few turns of the pepper mill. ( I put everything in a bowl and tossed it before putting it on the cookie sheet because it coats it more thoroughly.) Take 4 cloves of garlic (peeled and thinly sliced) and add to the pan tossing to coat. ( Again, this went into my bowl to toss with the broccoli)

Bake for about 20 minutes until the broccoli is cooked through and some brown caramelized bits are on the florets. Remove from the oven and zest a lemon over the broccoli. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over it also ( At this point I had dumped everything back into the pyrex mixing bowl. Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons more olive oil , 3 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts ( yes I have pine nuts on hand) 1/3 cup freshly grated Parm ( in my world that means shake it out of the plastic thing) and 2 tablespoons of thin strips of fresh basil.

I had no idea it was going to be this delicious. Son3 had been complaining that adding broccoli to a spaghetti meal was the best way to ruin perfectly good spaghetti. Though he hated to admit it he claimed it was the best broccoli he had ever eaten and it went well with the pasta. The olive and basil were complimentary flavors with the spaghetti sauce, and the roasted broccoli had a sweetness to it, that paired perfectly with the lemon zest. Wow! I will do this again and do it often.

But poor Son3. I am going to try this next with brussel sprouts!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's Freezing Today

Ok it's not really freezing, but it has been very delightful for August in the South. This morning honestly felt like a fall morning and was a great day to sit on the deck with a cup of coffee. But the freezing thing has nothing at all to do with the temperature. I spent the day (Ok not really the day but at least a few hours) cooking for the freezer.

When school starts back and Son3 has an erratic late schedule I like to have meals on the table when he comes in. It is never a problem if I am home a few hours before he gets here, but every day is different and it is so nice to have something in the freezer to fall back on.

This afternoon I was getting ingredients out for supper and realized I was going to use 1/2 of 3 different types of peppers, part of an onion and would have to break a new bulb of garlic apart. I was trying to think of something really good to do with the remaining peppers and garlic when the light bulb in my head went off! Fix some picadillo. It is one of Will's favorites and when I surprise him next week with it he will be thrilled.

Picadillo is a Cuban beef hash that we first had at The Columbia in Tampa. They had a little gift shop and it had a big old fat Columbia Cookbook for purchase. Of course it came home with me and inside was a recipe for the picadillo. I do not think for a minute this is the exact way they make it ( If I had a restaurant I would give out recipes and leave out a couple of ingredients that would not make the recipe fail, but would alter it slightly from the restaurant. There is no need to go back if you can make it exactly like it at home) but it is close enough to be delicious. Since I have made this on a few occasions it does not count as a new recipe, but it is too good to keep to myself.

Picadillo The Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook

2 pounds boneless beef ( preferably chuck) trimmed of all excess fat and ground ( This =2 pounds very lean ground chuck in my world)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup onion finely chopped
2 large green peppers finely chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
4 bay leaves
6 medium firm ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup small pimento stuffed olives (I chop mine finely cause I don't want a big bite of olive)
1/4 cup seedless raisins ( I mince this finely for the same reason as the olives)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 cup burgundy

I know this seems like a lot but it goes together so fast. I also know you will see raisins and olives and think OMG how horrible! This is just one of those things you have to trust me about. It is delicious and I can't explain the flavor magic but it works

Heat oil to hot but not smoking in a 12 inch skillet. Saute' the onions and peppers until they are soft but not browned. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Stir until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the ground beef, oregano, bay leaves and cumin. Stir until the meat is no longer red. Add salt, pepper, vinegar, raisins, olives and wine. Cook at a low temperature for about 15 minutes. Traditionally this is served with fluffy white rice. Serves 4-6 HUGE portions.

The night we have this I will post pictures. I froze this in 2 different containers for 2 meals.

The second meal I cooked for the freezer was Hungarian Goulash. I had a big mess of ground beef left and had to find something to do with it. (Reminder to self: NEVER freeze 3 pounds of ground beef in one package again)

I looked through a couple of cookbooks with little or no inspiration, so I turned to Google and did a search something like : freezer food using ground beef. Voila, up popped a recipe for Goulash and I had everything on hand so that kind of sealed the deal.
Hungarian Goulash courtesy of Google

Now I will be the first to admit I have never eaten Goulash before so I have no idea if this is good or bad, but I did taste a little bit of it and it tasted fine. Again I have no past Goulash experience to compare this to.

Hungarian Goulash

1 pound ground beef
2 onions, chopped
1 (10-ounce) can condensed tomato soup
2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with garlic, undrained ( I used 1 can of crushed tomatoes and added 2 cloves minced fresh garlic)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1-3 teaspoons paprika, to taste
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup water
3 cups rotini pasta
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, if desired

In very large skillet, cook ground beef and onion until meat is browned and onion is tender, stirring to break up meat. Drain well.

Add soup, diced tomatoes with their liquid, vinegar, sugar, paprika, marjoram, salt, pepper, and water and cook for 8-10 minutes until mixture starts to boil, stirring frequently.

Add pasta and bring back to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until pasta is tender, about 12-18 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley, if using, and serve.

As I said this tastes fine, but I will withhold final judgment until we actually eat it for supper. I think the flavors might meld and develop over time.

Will also post a picture of it then.

Tonight we had another Cuban inspired dish.

Arroz con Pollo via the Columbia Cookbook

3 pound fryer cut in pieces
2 onions chopped
1 green pepper chopped
2 medium tomatoes peeled seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups long grain cooking rice
few threads saffron
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup small peas ( can use frozen)
4 asparagus tips
2 roasted red peppers cut in strips
1/4 cup dry white wine

In skillet saute the chicken in heated oil until it is golden. Remove Chicken and place in a casserole ( very large dish) I used a large enamel coated cast iron Dutch oven. In the same oil saute' the onion, peppers, tomato and garlic for about 5 minutes. Pour it over the chicken. Add the chicken broth, saffron, salt bay leaf and rice . When mixture begins to boil, cover and bake in a 350 degree over for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with wine and garnish with peas, asparagus and pepper strips.

I had 5 boneless chicken breasts I thawed this morning and rather than going to the grocery store for a fryer I used them. I also used brown jasmine rice,so I did not add the saffron. I thought it might be an unattractive color if I added the yellow to it. I made a marinade and let the chicken swim in it for about 2 hours before I cooked it.

1 cup sour orange juice (found in the Latin food sections of some grocery stores)
12 peppercorns, ground
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup olive oil ( I did not use the oil because I was going to be cooking the chicken in oil. If i were grilling it I would have put the oil in the marinade.)

Mix all together and pour into a ziplock bag to cover the chicken. Let rest in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking.

I had no asparagus tips so they were left out and I had maybe a tablespoon of frozen peas. Instead of using them for garnish I just stirred them into the rice mix. I would love to post a picture here, but I forgot until we were about midway through. No problem. I thought I would just arrange the left overs in a bowl and shoot it. That would have required more leftover than just about 1/4 cup of rice. There is no chicken,no peas, no peppers...nothing but rice!

I am sorry I don't have one, but I guess the no leftover thing is a testament to how delicious this is. There is a reason Cuban and Thai foods are my favorite. I guess it is because of the multi layered flavors that sing inside my mouth

For dessert I continued on a Cuban theme. Doing an internet search I found a few Cuban cupcake recipes but I didn't want to go to that much trouble so I kind of incorporated ideas from a couple of them to make a single dessert.

Make your favorite one layer cake recipe ( Jiffy yellow cake mix) and fill paper lined cupcake tins with the batter ( Can anyone actually get 12 cupcakes from a single layer mix?) While the cupcakes were baking I put 1/2 cup of sugar. 1/4 cup of water and 3 tablespoons of dark rum in a small saucepan. I brought it to a boil and let it cook for about 2 minutes to burn the alcohol off, but would still have the delicious rum flavor. I took it off the heat and let it cool while the cake continued cooking. When I took the cupcakes out of the oven, I quickly poked holes through the cupcake and poured the now warm syrup into the holes. ( Make sure the muffin tin is positioned where drips will not matter because it will drip. )

The cakes were frosted with a basic chocolate butter cream frosting . If you wanted to use prepared frosting it would work just fine. I had none so I had to make it from scratch. It was a good and quick dessert. I think I will do it again but not for a while.

Monday, August 8, 2011


The other day at the Cajun Cleaver, in addition to last nights beautiful tuna they had 2 huge veal chops in the cooler. I looked at them and oh how delicious they did look, then I looked at the price and walked away and paid for the lovely tuna. We had almost made it out of the door when the chops screamed at me. "You know you want us! Come back!!!!!" Being one who always obeys talking veal, I decided to go ahead and buy them.

I figured by the total cost, the chops were a little over a pound each, more than enough for the 3 of us. They were about 2 inches thick and I had already decided a couple of slices would be as much as I would eat. My dad is currently out of town and Mom is lonely, so I invited her to eat with us. Even with the additional diner there was still more than enough veal for all of us. The veal was so beautiful I wanted it to be the focus of the meal and decided to serve it with new potatoes and a tossed salad. Simple fare, but then the more I thought about it the more I wanted to amp up the flavor of the veal without doing something screwy to it. One of our favorite restaurants in New York has a delicious veal picatta but I was not about to cut the chops and pound them flat so i decided to do a simple beurre blanc sauce with some sauteed mushrooms thrown in just because I had them.

Officially and for the record I have cooked veal and I have cooked veal loin chops but have never tried the rib chops before. So I am counting this as a new recipe even though it is more or less just instructions on how to properly cook a rib chop. The beurre blanc is a standard and I make it often. It is a wonderfully flexible sauce ( but a tiny bit touchy) you can add or subtract to or from with slight differences in taste.

Beurre Blanc The Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichel

1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon cold water
1 stick butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Combine wine, vinegar, and shallots in a small heavy pan. Bring to a simmer over a moderate heat and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and stir in water. Return to heat that has been reduced to low. Whisk in the butter one piece at a time. Make sure each piece is melted and incorporated before adding the next piece. Lift the pan occasionally to cool the mixture. it needs to be hot enough to melt the butter to a creamy state but not hot enough for the butter to separate. ( It takes about 10 or so minutes of stirring to get to this state).

I sauteed some baby portabellos that I had sliced fine, let them cool and then added them to the finished beurre blanc

The Perfect Chop

I got the recipe? for this from Peter the Butcher at Sanagan's Meat Locker (Youtube video)

Following Peter's instructions I rubbed olive oil on both sides of the chops. I put a small amount of oil in the bottoms of a large skillet and put the pan on the burner of my stove top. When the pan reached a medium high heat I put them in the pan and let them cook for 2 minutes then turned them. I left them on the heat for 2 more minutes and then put the pan in a 375 degree oven for 13 minutes. When I took them out of the oven I let them rest in the pan for about 5 minutes. After carving them at the table I put the mushroom beurre blanc on the meat. Unbelievable!!!!! After we took the first bite I am pretty sure we heard music from Heaven. I can't wait to try this again, unfortunately I will have to wait quite a while. The wallet suffered a lot of damage buying them, but I will make it happen at least a couple of times a year. ( Yes it was that delicious)

Chow Ciao

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Twofer Tonight

Finally I am home and life has slowed to a dull roar and I am able to cook. Well I suppose I could cook every night but it seems kind of pointless when it is just The Hub and me at dinner. We honestly can pick up something almost as cheaply as I can make it. Well tonight we had bought some beautiful Tuna steaks to toss on the grill. It was going to be the first sit down together family meal we would be having in quite a while.

Yesterday while The Hub and I were out running errands, we stopped by THE CAJUN CLEAVER, a butcher shop with a Louisiana flair. They had a nice hunk of tuna and I got them to slice 3 steaks ( tad under an inch each). It turns out they do not have fish all the time so we lucked out there. I also got some beautiful veal chops for tomorrow and some andouille sausage. Turns out they make their sausage on the premises. They also had boudin and Italian sausage along with homemade hot dogs. It is a place I will return often, especially since I left my email address with a "please let me know what you have in weekly". I love happening on a place and it turns out to be somewhere I want to make a point of going on a regular basis.

Fast forward to tonight: Son3 calls ( OK! He texted so he won't get mired down in conversation ) to ask ( let us know) if 7 kids can come home with him to swim. Oh and if we could fix them some hot dogs it would be great too. So much for the family dinner, and lucky for us that we keep a pack of dogs and buns always so we are ready for these little impromptu events he throws at us.

We hustled into event mode for them and got everyone fed then decided to cook our supper. I personally have overdosed on hot dogs and don't feel like I will be eating one in the near future.

The tuna had to all be cooked tonight whether we were all eating or not, so we just turned the grill to high to burn off any remaining hot dog essence, and I went in the house to figure out what exactly I was going to do with it. I found a recipe that sounded good, but I knew we would have substantial amounts of leftover fish, so whatever I did had to cool and reheat easily. I searched the internet and found a new recipe to try. Since we were having just tuna, a salad and a roll I flipped through a few pages of salads for something else I have never done before. Voila! Two recipes in the same night. If I actually start cooking nightly and find a couple of recipes per night I might actually meet my 100 untried before recipes in a year deadline. MAYBE! It could happen but not if I cook at the rate I have been cooking.

We had Wasabi Grilled Tuna with Wasabi Sauce.

Wasabi Sauce

1 teaspoon wasabi powder or 1 teaspoon dry hot mustard
1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 garlic clove (crushed)

In a bowl mix wasabi and water to make a paste. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar, mayonnaise and garlic. Set aside.


1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder or 1/2 teaspoon dry hot mustard
2 fresh tuna steaks (1 1/2 lbs total, 1 1/2 inch thick)


Prepare grill with medium-hot coals.In a cup, mix the soy sauce, oil, and wasabi powder. Brush on tuna. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side for rare tuna.Thinly slice the tuna and serve with the Wasabi sauce.

This is the recipe I found and I did make the sauce exactly by the recipe. I did the tuna a tad differently mainly because we were bound to have a lot left and I thought the wasabi sauce might not translate well to cold or rewarmed tuna. Instead I made a very basic Asian sauce using 3 Tablespoons of olive oil, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 nickle size slices of fresh ginger, peeled and minced. I poured it in a zip lock bag and put the steaks in the marinade. I turned it a few times to get the liquid distributed evenly over the steaks then put them on a blazing hot grill for exactly 2 minutes. The Hub turned them and let them cook exactly 1 1/2 minutes more. I do not get the directions requiring you to cook tuna 4 or 5 minutes. We like it seared on the outside and very rare in the middle. It's just the perfect way to eat tuna. I took the steaks off of the grill and sliced them into rather thin slices, then dribbled the wasabi sauce over the tuna. It was perfect.

We had a Strawberry Salad along with the tuna and it was a delicious contradiction to the harsh bite from the wasabi. Once again I found this on the internet. I will cook from my beautiful cookbooks soon, just not right now.

Strawberry Salad with Blue Cheese

1/2 Cup pecans, toasted
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups sliced strawberries
8 ounces blue cheese
1/4 cup chopped onion.

Mix the vinegars. oil and sugar to form an emulsion. Toss the lettuce, cheese, onion and strawberries. Pour dressing over the top and toss lightly. Serve and put pecans on the top of each salad.

As we know I follow recipes very well and this one was no real exception. I did not just want a sweet dressing on the strawberries, so I added about 1/4 teaspoon of Cavander's Greek Seasoning to the vinegars before adding the sugar and oil. I like the sweet and savory tastes combined. When it was finished it tasted very much like Ken's Raspberry Vinaigrette so when I make this again I will just use it rather than take the few minutes it takes to put the dressing together.

I made the rest as the recipe called for with the exception of the blue cheese, because I simply forgot to put it in. (Which is fine since I think I am going to toy with blue cheese pimento cheese anyway)

The meal was fantastic, not too much nor too little. The flavors just worked together and it is a meal we will have again before summer is gone.

I do have some pictures to post but my phone is now dead as a doornail and does not seem to want to send. It does no good to have a Smart Phone if one is not smart enough to keep the blooming thing charged. Will post it tomorrow.

Till then have something delicious today!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sipping! It beats the heat

It is just too blooming hot to cook and almost too hot to eat. I have not really wanted anything for days now, not for lack of interest but for rising humidity and heat. I have a pantry that could feed a ton of people on any given day provided I don't mind spending some time in the kitchen. But cooking requires heat and the one thing I want to do without right now is heating up anything. I am even tempted to type this by moonlight just to keep the light bulbs in the chandelier from heating the space above the table.

Fortunately for us, Son3 had a group of kids over for pizza during band camps dinner break. There were a couple of slices left so, voila, dinner was served. I nuked the pizza to bring it up to temp and would like to say I made a refreshing salad to go with it, but I didn't. Instead we ate rubbery pizza and called it quits. Though I was through with food I decided I needed a little more, but I just did not want to chew. It finally hit that what I really wanted was a beverage, then I decided it needed to be an adult beverage. After I found the key ( When we put in the pool we decided it would be a good thing to keep all spirits under lock and key. It is a good idea but I put it in a different place each week and I forget where I hide it) I started rummaging through the supplies and found something I have been concocting for many days.

When we were in Portland recently, we had this very delicious libation at Toro Bravo ( If you are ever in Portland do yourself a favor and eat there, but take a few friends so you can sample as many of the small plates as possible) The drink had some cute Bull type name which had nothing to do with the drink itself. I guess they just want to keep the bull theme running throughout the menu. I forget what the name of it was, but it had gin, apricot liqueur and peach bitters. I think it had some juice also but I don't remember exactly. Tonight I thought I would do a little trial mixology and try to recreate the drink, but first let me back up a step.

When we returned homefrom Oregon, I went to the state store (A package store run by the state government for anyone who lives in a civilized state where they believe a person/business can manage alcohol affairs with little government intervention.) to buy some apricot liqueur. Obviously the State of Alabama does not want me to have this elixir, for after searching 3 stores and finally a call from one store to their distribution center it seems to not be available here, even though they have it on their order forms. I suppose I could have given up, but why? I liked the drink and thought I would try to find a way to make it.

Apricot liqueur

11 ounces dried apricots
1 cup sugar
2 cups vodka

Cover the apricots in hot water and let sit for about 8 hours. Drain the apricots and press out as much water as you can without tearing the fruit. In a large wide mouth mason jar add the apricots and sugar then cover with the vodka. Put on the lid and shake until it looks like all the sugar is dissolved. Place in a dark dry spot and store for three weeks, turning daily. ( I shook mine daily cause it made me feel like I was doing more than just turning the jar) At the end of 3 weeks pour off all the liquid and then press down on the apricots with the back of a wooden spoon to get the rest of the liquid out of the apricots. Strain through a cheesecloth or coffee filter and put in a clean jar with a lid. Store in the refrigerator. I have no idea how long this will keep but it is keeping for now.

This is my attempt at duplicating the cocktail we had
1/2 ounce apricot liqueur
1/2 ounce roses lime juice
1 1/2 ounces gin
dash of peach bitters
shaved ice

Mix all in a shaker and strain into a cocktail glass.

I think the one we had at the restaurant may have had a dash of grenadine because it was pinker than the drink I made, but I have none here so ...

Well the verdict is that I am not a very good bartender. The drink is fine but it a little stronger than I would like it to be. I think cutting back on the gin and using just `1 ounce would be fine. I also believe I made some extremely potent liqueur. I rarely measure anything and I think I over vodkaed the mixture. It has a wonderful apricot aroma, but it packs a wallop. If I do it again I will be certain to measure and not eyeball the ingredients. Possibly I can just add more apricots to the existing mix along with a little more sugar Don't know. I guess trying new does not guarantee success and this really did not succeed.

There has to be an upside to everything though and the upside of this is it probably won't take me long to fall asleep.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Who'd a thought it

A few nights ago The Hub had to have a working dinner at Bottega's ( WAH!) and came home talking about this salad he ate, and swore was delicious. He could only remember a couple of things in it, but assured me it was fabulous. I listened as he named off the 4 things he could recall seeing in the salad...Watermelon, Olives,Red Onions and Feta Cheese. Now normally when I hear a combination like that I would just consider the person "not quite right in the head", but this was The Hub and I do know him pretty well. In fact with the exception of his actually eating bananas we like the same things. So I started my search for what else might be in this odd mishmash of ingredients. It took very little to find something online that was at least close to what he recalled. I found it at ALL RECIPES and it is just aptly named "Watermelon Summer Salad"

As you all know it has been insanely humid lately, with a touch of heat thrown in. Yesterday was just such a day and The Hub and Son3 had been working in the yard. They came in and took a shower but were still overheated and hungry, but nothing really sounded good. Ah...watermelon to the rescue. I whipped up the salad in about 5 minutes and served us a big bowl full.

Watermelon Summer Salad

3/4 cup thinly sliced red onions cut in half
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 quarts fresh cubed, seeded watermelon
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup pitted black olives
1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a small bowl squeeze the lime juice over the onions and let sit for about 10 minutes. In a large bowl combine the watermelon, feta cheese, olives, mint and the onions in lime juice. Drizzle the olive oil over the ingredients and toss gently.

What I really did.

I used all the ingredients more or less but altered a few things. First off, I went to Publix and bought one of those little tubs of cubed watermelon. I bought the medium size on which is about 2 cups. I used a half of a red onion and did slice it very, very thin. I have no idea how much lime juice I used but squeezed 1 whole lime as dry as could. I even added tiny bits of the pulp because I thought it would taste good. I used kalamata olives because I like the fruity flavor a little better than the black one in the can, and those were my only options. I sliced them because I wanted a taste of olive in each bite. I have no idea how much mint I used. I just went outside and grabbed a few leaves ( maybe 10?) placing one inside the next, rolling them like a mint cigar and slicing it into thin ribbons ( a chiffonade if you are a geek like me and like to know the correct terms) As for the cheese, well I did not measure but used maybe 3 tablespoons. (Does anyone actually measure salad ingredients?) I liberally sprinkled the olive oil and tossed the barest I could to incorporate the ingredients without breaking the cheese. I topped it off with a medium dusting of freshly grated black pepper.

I had no idea something so odd could taste so wonderful. It was a mouth explosion of sweet and salty with the cool mint thrown in and then you would grab a little "bite" from the onion followed by the mild pepper heat. Each bite has some crunch and squish which just added to the overall experience. I know the word fantastic is overused but it was Fantastic with a capital F. My only regret was that I had made only enough for a bowlful each. The Hub and I were both sad there were no seconds because we would have eaten more if we had it. I am sure there is a way to make this better but I will never try. I will serve it as it...lots.

For those with picky eaters, I suggest having a peanut butter sandwich as a back up plan. Son3 eats no fruit and was not about to touch this. In fact he did not want to even sit at the table while we inhaled it. His loss was our gain, at we did not have to share with him.

I guess you just have to trust me on this. I had no idea such odd pairings could create something so incredible. Son3 will not be here for supper tomorrow so it might be watermelon salad time again!

Peace and watermelon!