July is the peak summer month. The weather is warm and the sun is always shining: the perfect recipe for ripe juicy watermelon. While you might think it is hard to top the simple perfection of a perfectly ripe watermelon, I thought I would introduce you to a few different recipes and creative ways to enjoy this perfect July fruit.
When the Fourth of July comes around I like to meet up with friends and family to celebrate. Everyone brings a dish to contribute but I have to say my favorite item, the perfect crowd pleaser, is watermelon ice cream. Usually you would expect watermelon to only blend well into a sorbet but scratch that theory, because this ice cream is amazing! This ice cream is a tropical combination of fresh ripe watermelon and creamy coconut milk.
Watermelon Coconut Ice Cream
4 c watermelon, processed and strained
1⅓ sugar, separated
1 T vanilla
Juice of 1 lime
1 c coconut milk
1 c heavy cream
4 egg yolks
Separate the watermelon from the rind (remove those pits!) and blend well using a food processor. Strain and reserve two cups in a large bowl, and mix the remaining 2 cups with one cup of sugar into a pot. Heat the mixture for ten minutes, but do not allow it to boil.
Remove from heat and stir the warmed mix into the remaining two cups of watermelon, adding the vanilla, lime juice, and coconut milk. Place the bowl over an ice bath and let it set while you heat the heavy cream over medium heat.
Temper the egg yolks with the hot cream: heat the egg mixture over medium heat making sure to scrape the sides and bottom until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour into the watermelon mixture and let cool for about thirty minutes in the refrigerator before putting it in an ice cream maker.
*Each ice cream maker is different. Mine has a bowl that I freeze prior to starting the process so it is as simple as pouring the mixture in and turning it on, but follow the directions for your model. Mine took less then twenty minutes to thicken up.
You want to let it get thick enough to stay on a spoon when held upside down. Place in the freezer for a few hours or overnight before serving.
One of the joys of nice weather is getting out and barbequing. Forget the burgers and hot dogs… have you ever imagined barbequing dessert? Well, I like to make barbequed watermelon and angel food cake skewers. They are so much fun and they have a perfect balance of sweet and savory.
Balsamic and Angel Food Cake Watermelon Skewers
Have skewers and fresh mint on hand for the final assembly.
Angel Food Cake:
1 c flour
¼ t salt
12 large egg whites at room temperature
1 t cream of tartar
1 ¼ c sugar
2 t vanilla
Sift the flour and salt together and set aside.
Put the egg whites in a mixer and beat on medium for about one minute until it becomes foamy. Add the cream of tartar and let beat until soft peaks form, slowly add the sugar in little by little. Once the egg whites become hard peaks add the vanilla and mix to combine. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg white mixture.
Pour into a square pan that has been sprayed and floured. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck in the middle. Let cool for about an hour, and then cut into one inch squares.
1 c balsamic vinegar
Heat the balsamic and slowly add the sugar letting it dissolve as you add it. Cook the mixture for about ten minutes or until it reduces just slightly. Let cool and put in a squeeze bottle.
Cut the watermelon into one inch squares, and alternate the watermelon and angel food cake on skewers. Throw them on the grill, cook for three minutes, then flip them and cook the other side for three minutes. Place the skewers on a plate, drizzle with balsamic reduction, sprinkle with chili powder, salt and pepper, and mint. Serve!