Pretty sure this will be my last watermelon post for a bit. And hopefully the last fruit one for a bit, too. Not positive on that last one. I haven’t posted anything with cherries in it. And I like cherries. Really like cherries. Shoot. Uh, I’ll incorporate meat. I got it, don’t worry. Ohhh man, then peach season is upon us too…
My garden’s at the point now where if I am busy for a couple days in a row, it gets completely overgrown. Tiny little zucchinis turn into like county fair blue ribbon contenders. My arugula keeps fighting me, trying to bolt. I’ve pretty much given up on my broccoli rabe. I can’t keep up. But man, a veggie garden is the most fun thing ever. It makes me feel like such a city slicker – being so amazed and amused at the plants. Not that I am or was a city slicker. And not that I didn’t have a veggie garden growing up. I don’t know, those little plants still make me giddy. I can’t wait until I have a house of my own. Then I will turn the backyard into a produce aisle. I saw my first pear tree the other day. I was by myself and I squealed out loud at those little pears just dangling from the branches.
I got this recipe inspiration from my most-mentioned restaurant, Toro. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned another restaurant on this blog. That’s weird. Do I really just go to boring, crappy restaurants now? No, that can’t be true. I like a lot of places around here. I guess I should try to recreate dishes from them. Doubtful that I’ll ever make as glorious a dish as the braised buffalo tongue I had at Duo. And it was a special, so I’ll probably never even get to eat it again. In any case, kind of on the complete other end of the spectrum is this gazpacho. I didn’t even have Toro’s version; I wish I’ve been back to Boston. What made me want to make it though, is that there are pickled watermelon rinds as a garnish. Er, that’s at least how I used them. I have no idea how Toro used them – I just saw a Facebook picture of it and the caption… loosely based, people. Loosely. I also didn’t puree the ingredients fully. I’m a firm believer in that.
One of the owners of my gym, and a trainer that I work with, placed 2nd at the CrossFit Games. Apparently, he’s very fit. It kind of makes me feel like I’m famous now, too. Oh yeah, I know him. NBD. What, you didn’t catch the streaming event on ESPN3? Oh. Pff. I was obsessed. Very unproductive weekend. Except for this little soup here.
serves about 4
6 cups chopped watermelon, divided, from about a medium/large seedless watermelon (you can always eat the extra…)
2 medium cucumbers, seeded, diced
4 inner celery stalks, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
watermelon rind pickles, diced, (optional, if you didn’t bother making these…but you should)
1. In a blender, puree 4 cups of the watermelon chunks. Pour into a large bowl.
2. Add the other two cups of chopped watermelon, cucumber, celery, onion, mint, lime juice, vinegar, and salt to the bowl. Stir to combine. You can start low on the vinegar and adjust to taste if you want.
3. Put the bowl in the fridge and start on the garlic oil. Heat a small pan over low heat and add the olive oil and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is very fragrant and just starting to turn golden, about 15 minutes (but watch them closely, don’t hold me to that time – I was a little CrossFitGames-distracted).
Serve the soup with a drizzle of the garlic oil (strain or just avoid the garlic in the oil – it kinda sticks to your teeth, and while it’s still real yummy, it’s not the best texture for this soup), some of the diced watermelon rinds, and a few extra mint leaves for extra fancy. This would be really awesome with seared scallops on top. Or shrimp. Or alongside some delicious fish.
Oh, and this soup gets extra wonderful the next day.