summer

watermelon mint feta salad by Nate Everett

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Happy Memorial Day! The misty weather threw a little monkey wrench in my plans to grill baby back ribs and Caribbean corn on the roof, but such is life. I instead paid homage to the BBQing tradition that is Memorial Day by whipping up the simplest of summer salads in my kitchen. Behold the watermelon and feta and mint salad. I chose watermelon because it's American af, and I like serving it at BBQs because it helps guests stay hydrated in the sun and it balances out the heaviness of those cheeseburgers and fries and potato salad. Try it this summer-- perhaps for July 4th?

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recipe

  • 1 medium watermelon*, rind removed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • 3 limes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Place the watermelon in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle on the mint leaves, and break up the feta with your fingers and distribute it onto the salad.
  2. To make the dressing, juice the limes in a small bowl and add the olive oil and whisk together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  3. Pour the dressing onto the salad. Fold several times to incorporate the ingredients, seasoning to taste with more lime juice if needed.
  4. Garnish with more crumbled feta and a spring of fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately.

*Watermelons vary greatly in size, thus you will likely need to adjust the proportions of the other ingredients in this recipe to achieve a good watermelon-mint-feta-dressing ratio. It's a forgiving receive, so don't be shy about adding more until it tastes just right.

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creamy pea gazpacho by Nate Everett

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It's rare that I cook a 100% vegetarian, gluten- and dairy-free dish. But after my recent marathon of sugary baked goods, it's high time for a little something healthy. And green. So green! 

I wanted to make a light and refreshing dish to eat on a hot summer day and gazpacho immediately came to mind. Creamy pea gazpacho, to be exact. The creaminess lends itself to a whole avocado rather than heavy cream or milk, and boiling the peas in vegetable stock and incorporating a generous portion of mint produces a boldly-flavored gazpacho. 

Summer gazpacho screams freshness, but for the sake of saving a bit of time and money, it's perfectly fine to use frozen peas (which I did). You're welcome to use fresh peas and I encourage you to do so if you've got the time to shuck 'em. If you opt for fresh peas, then I suggest buying about 5-6 pounds at your local farmers market or supermarket. That should be sufficient. Enjoy!

recipe

  • 5 cups frozen peas (or fresh - see note above)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cups fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 ripe medium-sized avocado, diced
  • 1 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a Dutch oven, sauté the onion and shallot for several minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they become translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute longer. 
  2. Pour the vegetable stock into the Dutch oven. Add the thyme and salt and pepper, and bring to a steady boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Once the stock starts boiling, add the peas and return to a boil, and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. If using fresh peas, cook for two minutes only.
  4. Ladle half of the pea-stock mixture into a blender and add half of the mint, avocado, and parsley. I suggest working with a half-full blender to avoid having hot liquid splash over the sides when you turn on the machine. Blend for three minutes until the mixture is uniformly smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed (you don't want any lumps!) Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Blend the second half of the pea-stock mixture with the mint, avocado and parsley as directed in step #4, and then add it to the large bowl with the first batch of gazpacho. Stir to combine.
  6. Allow the gazpacho to cool to room temperature. Taste the gazpacho and add a bit more of the salt and pepper, if you wish. Then cover the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve cold and garnish with a green garnish of your choice, like peas or microgreens or parsley.

If you make this recipe, hashtag a pic to #spiceandhutch and post to Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter. I'd love to see your culinary creations!

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