RECIPE: ROASTED PORK LOIN AND WATERMELON SANDWICH

September 29th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picHave you ever put a slice of watermelon on a sandwich or burger? If not, you definitely should. Just a thin slice – maybe a quarter of an inch thick – right there on top. It pretty much takes the place of the tomato, but with a little extra sweetness.

Today’s recipe does exactly that, but the watermelon slice is dusted with chili powder. Combine that with the honey mustard, and it takes the sweet watermelon in a whole new and exciting direction. By the way, you can do the chili powder-dusted watermelon slice trick with just about any sandwich. Except maybe peanut butter and jelly. Actually, a PB&J with a slice of chili watermelon might not be half bad!

ROASTED PORK LOIN AND WATERMELON SANDWICH

INGREDIENTS

1 poppy seed or Kaiser roll, split
Dash of honey mustard (to taste)
6 ounces thinly sliced roasted pork loin
1 3/4 inch thick slice of watermelon, about the size of the roll
1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder
2 ounces fresh baby greens

INSTRUCTIONS

Spread honey mustard liberally over the inside of the roll and layer the pork over the bottom piece. Sprinkle the watermelon with chili powder and place over the pork. Top the watermelon with the greens and cover with the roll top, mustard-side down.

For more recipes using watermelon, check out the “Recipes” section of the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

YEP, FALL HAS OFFICIALLY ARRIVED

September 24th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

pic

What are some signs that fall has arrived? Obviously, the calendar is a good indication. Yesterday marked the first official day of fall, which means that the greatest season of the year is officially over, and the third greatest season has begun.

The temperature dropping a bit, the leaves changing colors, and long-sleeved shirts making an appearance are also good autumnal cues. For watermelon lovers, another dead giveaway that fall is upon us is the disappearance of the big cardboard bin of watermelons from your local grocery store. Or, if you’re like the store in the photo above, you just fill the empty watermelon bin up with pumpkins. (Feel to leave a comment with your best caption for this photo.)

I don’t know about you, but seeing a watermelon bin filled with pumpkins is a little painful. It’s kind of like the pumpkins are saying, “Ha ha, watermelon! Your season is over! Why don’t you go hang out in that section of the produce aisle under the bagged salad while we take over your summer apartment here at the front of the store?”

Of course, it’s not like watermelon completely disappears in the fall and winter. Like Pumpkin pointed about above, it can still be found, but it just doesn’t have the real estate it used to. Which is more than you can say for pumpkins. Have you ever seen a pumpkin in the grocery store in July? Exactly.

UP NEXT: A recipe for a sandwich you’ll definitely want to try

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

MY ATTEMPT AT MAKING WATERMELON JERKY

September 23rd, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

Have you noticed that as you get older, your Christmas gifts tend to get less and less memorable? Oh, sure, there are a few standouts from adulthood, like in 2001 when I received my very first MP3 player (which held a whopping total of 30 songs!).

Last Christmas featured another highlight, when my wife bought me a dehydrator. As a fan of beef jerky and dried fruit, I had been wanting a dehydrator for a long time, and unwrapping that gift gave me thrill that I hadn’t felt on Christmas morning in a long time.

Since then, I’ve used it countless times to dry out various meats, but I’ve yet to use it to dry fruit – until recently.

This past weekend featured my first attempt at creating watermelon jerky, and the results were surprisingly good. Then again, most things you place in a dehydrator tend to come out pretty good. The reason has a lot to do with the dehydrating process itself. In short, it’s a slow cooking process that removes almost all of the moisture from the food item. The result is a shriveled version of the original but with a condensed flavor.

Here’s a recap of my weekend watermelon jerky experience:

pic

I started with a few dozen pieces of watermelon, which were cut about a half to a quarter of an inch thick. Like anything you put in the dehydrator, you want it to be sliced relatively thin. Slice it too thick, and it’ll never dry out, or it’ll be too tough and chewy. Slice it too thin, and it’ll dry quickly and be too brittle.

pic

Unlike beef jerky, which requires you to marinate the meat for several hours, watermelon jerky requires almost no preparation. Some folks add a little salt to their watermelon slices prior to drying them, so I sprinkled a little salt on half of my watermelon pieces. The other slices were dried without salt, just as Mother Nature had intended them.

pic

After setting the dehydrator to 135 degrees, all that was left to do was sit back and wait. Beef jerky takes about 6-8 hours, depending upon how thick the beef is sliced. Since this was my first time making watermelon jerky, I wasn’t sure how long it would take. I decided to monitor the progress closely – peeking in every few hours – to make sure I stopped the dehydrating process at just the right time.

pic

The wait was agonizing and took WAY longer than I thought it would (about 20 hours total), but the result was well worth it! The watermelon jerky was super sweet, chewy and tasted almost like watermelon candy. I’ve already started planning my next attempt at watermelon jerky, which I might create with the help of various savory marinades. Stay tuned!

UP NEXT: A funny photo that proves that fall has definitely arrived

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

SECOND SLICE: WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU MICROWAVE A WATERMELON?

September 18th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

I posted this Q&A in the past, but I was reminded of it recently when a friend asked me the exact same question. It was good advice four years ago, and it’s good advice today.

picALEX OF ANNAPOLIS, MD, ASKS: My friends and I were wondering what would happen if you microwaved a whole watermelon. Any ideas?

Interesting question, Alex. I’m assuming you’re microwaving a watermelon purely for scientific research, because I can’t really think of any other reason to microwave a whole watermelon.

Whatever your reasons are, I’m going to say DO NOT PUT A WATERMELON IN THE MICROWAVE. It’s not a good idea, and it’s a waste of a perfectly good watermelon.

That said, let’s start with some basics about how microwaves work. The process of heating food in a microwave is actually caused by a reaction between the water molecules in the food item and the microwaves passing through it. The microwaves cause the water molecules to spin and give off heat energy. During this spinning process, the water molecules are rubbing against other water molecules, creating a chain reaction and causing things to heat up very quickly.

So, you can imagine what might happen to something like a watermelon, which is 92 percent water by weight and whose watery interior is effectively sealed off by a thick rind. You’re probably imagining lots of pressure building up inside as the watermelon heats up and something disastrous happening when the watermelon reaches its breaking point, right?

I scoured the Internet for answers and found a video that shows what happens when you microwave a sliced watermelon (nothing exciting) but no videos or testimonies of whole watermelon nuking. Similar videos showed the results of microwaving watermelon-like foods such as tomatoes (nothing), bananas (burned and charred but no explosion) and eggs (boom!).

You’re going to be disappointed with my final answer, Alex, but the truth is, I’m not really sure what would happen if you put a whole watermelon in a microwave. I thought about testing it for myself, but good sense and my love of watermelon prevented me from taking such drastic action.

My advice again is this: DO NOT PUT A WATERMELON IN THE MICROWAVE. If you have a watermelon and you really want to do something crazy with it, I’d suggest using it to make some sweet and sour watermelon chicken.

UP NEXT: My attempt at making watermelon jerky

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

NOT-SO-QUOTABLE WATERMELON: THEY CAN’T ALL BE GREAT!

September 16th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

You know how sometimes I’ll take a historic quote and swap out one of the words and replace it with watermelon? It’s a topic I like to call “Quotable Watermelon,” and I try to do it at least once every other month.

Normally, I choose quotes that have the same meaning when you add the word “watermelon” to them, or at least have a different but still inspiration meaning. For example, in June, I discussed the humorous line “A balanced diet is chocolate in both hands.” I replaced “chocolate” with “watermelon” and the quote was still entertaining, plus it doubled as a testament to the fact that watermelon really is a key part of a balanced diet.

But it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, adding “watermelon” just makes them silly and deviates entirely from the original intended meaning of the quote. The following are a few examples.

Quote Lombardi

Vince Lombardi was a great football coach who got his players fired up with some passionate speeches, but I’m pretty sure this line wouldn’t have won him many games. It might have made his players hungry for a nutritious snack, though, so that’s kind of a win.

Quote Sandberg

This one is tricky. I mean, if were offered a seat on a giant watermelon, I’d probably jump right on. Same thing with a rocket ship…but I’d pack an extra set of clothes, because I might be gone a little longer.

Quote Tongue

Now that I think about it, this quote isn’t all that silly. My parents taught me to say “watermelon” when I was two years old and, despite what my high school guidance counselor might tell you, I like to think that I’ve progressed rather nicely.

UP NEXT: What happens if you microwave a watermelon?

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

RECIPE: WATERMELON ICE CREAM CONES

September 12th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picSummer is drawing to a close (boooo!!), but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying an ice cream cone now and then, right? In the case of today’s recipe, you can also make a watermelon “ice cream” cone.

And, to help give summer the sendoff it deserves, you can make this recipe to celebrate National Ice Cream Cone Day coming up on September 22.

This recipe is kid-friendly (no drippy ice cream!), and you can top it with pretty much anything you’d like. You can use sprinkles, pineapple chunks, chocolate chips, a drizzle of chocolate syrup or coconut flakes. Which topping would you use?

WATERMELON ICE CREAM CONES

INGREDIENTS

8 ice cream cones
8 tablespoons of pineapple cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup dried craisins
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
8 scoops of seedless watermelon (use an ice cream scooper)

INSTRUCTIONS

Place a tablespoon of the frosting into the bottom of each cone. Divide the craisins over the frosting. Top the craisins with the yogurt. Place an ice cream scoop of watermelon on top of each cone and serve. Finish with toppings of your choice.

For more recipes using watermelon, check out the “Recipes” section of the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.

UP NEXT: Silly watermelon quotes

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

SEPTEMBER PRIZE: LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN THIS WATERMELON SHARK!

September 10th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

Remember a few years ago when I carved a watermelon shark? Well, I was surfing Amazon the other day in search of this month’s watermelon-related prize and I came across a watermelon shark fruit server that was not only awesome, but it also looked remarkably similar to my watermelon shark carving.

Don’t believe me? Check out the two predators side-by-side below.

pic

The ceramic shark is on the right, and my shark is on the left. Or is the ceramic shark on the left and mine’s on the right? I honestly can’t tell, but I have a gut feeling that someone saw my awesome watermelon shark and said, “Hey, we have to turn that incredible work of art into an adorable fruit server!”

Alright, so maybe that’s not what happened, and maybe the ceramic shark really is the one on the left, but it could have happened, right? Of course, they could have also seen the watermelon shark carving on the National Watermelon Promotion Board website, which is where I got my inspiration.

Either way, I’m giving away the ceramic watermelon shark as this month’s prize. I should clarify that the Amazon description of the shark says it’s made of ceramic, but other descriptions more specifically describe it as being made from Dolomite. I have no idea what Dolomite is and how it’s different from other kitchenware materials. If someone can explain it to me, please feel free to leave a comment.

I’ll choose one comment from all the comments left on the blog this month to win this toothy prize. Good luck!

UP NEXT: A recipe for watermelon ice cream cones

Posted in General | 15 Comments »

VIDEO: THE FASTEST WAY TO CUT WATERMELON CUBES

September 8th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

I’ve featured watermelon carving tips here on the blog in the past, including my own tips for easy ways to turn a watermelon into wedges and a video of a guy who transforms a watermelon into cubes in about 20 seconds.

A friend recently forwarded me a link to a video that shows a guy who demonstrates a very interesting way to create cubes, both quickly and efficiently. Check it out below.

What amazes me most about his technique is how so little of the red watermelon flesh is wasted. Almost all of the flesh is removed, which is something that never happens when I try to cube watermelon. I usually make big wedges, then lay them flat and do the semi-circular cut down by the white part to separate the flesh from the rind.

The result is lots of red flesh still on the rind (which I nibble off when I’m done, so I guess that’s not such a bad thing), OR I cut too close to the rind and get bits of white in the cubes. Again, not a terrible thing, but this proves that there is an easier way to do it!

UP NEXT: Our September prize!

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

TOUCHDOWN! 7 WATERMELON IDEAS FOR YOUR NEXT TAILGATING PARTY

September 5th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picSummer is my favorite season, but fall isn’t so bad, either. I like the crisp, coolness in the air and all of the pumpkin-flavored goodies that make their annual appearance. As a football fan, I also like fall because it signals the start of tailgating season.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next tailgating party, you’d be wise to start with a visit to the “Recipes” section of the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.

Below are just a few ideas I found on the website to help take you next tailgating event to the next level.

A watermelon keg – Okay, this is more of a carving than a recipe, but you’ll find lots of ideas for beverages to put in the keg on the “Drinks” page of the website, too.

Watermelon BBQ Sauce – This sauce is easy to make, and it goes great on just about anything you might be grilling.

Watermelon Glazed Mini Barbeque Meatballs – If you love meatballs (and who doesn’t?), you’ll love these meatballs made with a watermelon barbeque sauce.

Pulled Pork with Watermelon BBQ Sauce – A little pulled pork at a tailgating event is never a bad thing, right? A little pulled pork with watermelon? Even better.

Chipotle Maple Citrus Watermelon Wings – Wings are a staple of any football party, and these will not only score you some points, they’ll probably be the game-winning touchdown.

Flash Grilled Watermelon Cheddar Burgers – This recipe is so simple, you have no excuse NOT to make it. Just grill up a slice of watermelon and slap it on top of a burger. That’s it!

Grilled Spicy Watermelon – As long as you’ve got the grill fired up, you might as well throw a few of these spicy watermelon wedges on there.

UP NEXT: The fastest way to cut watermelon cubes

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

THE 2014 WATERMELON CARVING CONTEST WINNERS ARE…

September 4th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picThis year’s Watermelon Carving Contest was by far the most successful carving contest we’ve hosted here on the blog. We received nearly 100 carvings, which more than doubled last year’s total.

But it wasn’t the sheer number of carvings that amazed me; it was the quality of the carvings. Intricate rind etchings, elaborate flowers and stacked arrangements, really funny and creative carvings. I was truly impressed and blown away by all of them.

That’s what made the task of choosing a first, second and third place winner in each category so challenging. Thankfully, I was only tasked with advising on the winners. The folks at the National Watermelon Promotion Board were the ones with the tall task of combing through all of the entries and picking the best of the best.

In fact, they had such a tough time choosing the winners that they decided to add a fourth place prize ($25) to each category.

Below are photos of the first place winners in each category followed by YOUR pick for the $500 People’s Choice award. Thanks again to everyone who entered carvings in this year’s contest, and thanks to everyone for voting!

BEST FRUIT BASKET CARVING

pic

FIRST PLACE ($150): Laura P. from Vancouver, WA

SECOND PLACE ($100): Truc D. from Davis, CA
THIRD PLACE ($50): Nicole H. from Webster, WI
FOURTH PLACE ($25): Ethyl D. from Nederland, TX

FUNNIEST CARVING

pic

FIRST PLACE ($150): Dustin E. from Broken Arrow, OK

SECOND PLACE ($100): Jeanne F. from Manhattan Beach, CA
THIRD PLACE ($50): Ryan A. from Spokane, WA
FOURTH PLACE ($25): Donna L. from Merced, CA

 MOST ELEGANT CARVING

1. Eric Lai -3D FLOWER WITH LEAVES_FINALIST

FIRST PLACE ($150): Eric L. from Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

SECOND PLACE ($100): Nan D. from Kingston, TN
THIRD PLACE ($50): Aneta L. from Toronto, Canada
FOURTH PLACE ($25): John M. from Lapeer, MI

STAR SPANGLED CARVING (PATRIOTIC)

1. Dustin Evans - EAGLE_FINALIST

FIRST PLACE ($150): Dustin E. from Broken Arrow, OK

SECOND PLACE ($100): Laura P. from Vancouver, WA
THIRD PLACE ($50): Rose F. from San Diego, CA
FOURTH PLACE ($25): Ryan A. from Spokane, WA

BEST ANIMAL CARVING

1. Aneta Lekas - PEACOCK_FINALIST

FIRST PLACE ($150): Aneta L. from Toronto, Canada

SECOND PLACE ($100): April S. from Jackson, NJ
THIRD PLACE ($50): Dustin E. from Broken Arrow, OK
FOURTH PLACE ($25): Ryan A. from Spokane, WA

PEOPLE’S CHOICE CARVING

pic

FIRST PLACE ($500): Donna L.  from Merced, CA

UP NEXT: Some tailgating inspiration

 

Posted in General | 1 Comment »