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Archive for Monday, August 12, 2013

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Delicious/Nutritious: Mellow out with melon

August 12, 2013

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Delicious

When Sarah suggested cantaloupe for this month’s challenge, I was all, “Meh.” I mean, there’s nothing really wrong with cantaloupe, but it doesn’t give me chills, either.

That is, until I tried the freshest, local-est cantaloupe ever recently at the Douglas County Fair. It changed my world — or, at least my opinion about cantaloupe — forever. Then I took on this challenge with renewed enthusiasm. Also, with a belly full of cantaloupe, just cut and eat. Nothin’ wrong with that.

I’m the queen of the poolside cocktail. I usually prefer something with fresh fruit and am wont to make a big vat of watermelon margaritas or peach sangria. It just seems right for a summer Saturday afternoon treat. So I figured what better way to feature my new favorite fruit than in a glorious and beautiful summer drink? You can do this with the alcohol or without, “mocktail” style.

I did this with the juicer because, well, I like to play with the juicer, but it could just as simply be done with the blender. Even an immersion blender would work fine.

Turn cantaloupe into Mason Jar Melon Salad, left, or a Cantaloupe Cooler cocktail.

Turn cantaloupe into Mason Jar Melon Salad, left, or a Cantaloupe Cooler cocktail.

Cantaloupe Cooler

3 cups fresh cantaloupe

2 teaspoons honey, plus a little extra for garnish

Squeeze of fresh lime juice

1 cup sparkling water

4 oz rum (optional)

If you are using the juicer, just toss the cantaloupe through it and then add everything else with a bit of ice to a shaker and give it a good rough tumble. If you are doing the blender method, just add all the ingredients to the blender and blast it until it’s smooth. I haven’t tried it with ice in the blender, but heck, why not?

Garnish with some melon balls and mint, or just a slice of lime.

Makes 2 generous cocktails.

Nutritious

Cantaloupe is one of my absolute summer favorites.

It’s one of those foods you could buy out of season, but if you did, you’d be sad and sorry and full of watered-down, rock-hard melon bricks.

Um, yeah, I’m not a fan.

But I absolutely love a summer cantaloupe. I add it to smoothies (it’s great with just some water, ice and spinach), use it as an appetizer, a dessert, or sometimes even a meal — just two cantaloupe halves and a spoon.

So, yeah, I’ll eat it anytime when it’s in season: In the morning, at lunch, in the evening.

Thus, I decided that for my contribution to Delicious/Nutritious this month, I’d create something that could be enjoyed anytime, other than just plain melon. The result is a fruit salad with a tiny bit of a savory component, thus allowing it to make the rounds from dawn until dusk.

And not only is this fragrant little melon versatile, but it’s a nutritional all-star. One cup of cubed cantaloupe (as is in a serving of the salad featured here) has 54 calories, zero grams of fat, provides 108 percent of your daily vitamin A and 98 percent of your daily vitamin C. That’s a lot of bang for your caloric buck.

All that said, I know not everyone likes cantaloupe. Which just means more for Megan and I, but if you really can’t stand it and want to make this salad, it’s perfectly acceptable to sub watermelon or honeydew or even peaches for the cantaloupe.

Mason Jar Melon Salad

(Ingredients per pint mason jar)

1 cup cantaloupe

1/4 cup blueberries

1/4 cup raspberries

Goat cheese (to taste)

Fresh mint (to taste)

Layer all ingredients in a mason jar.

Enjoy!

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