RECIPE: WATERMELON HAM WRAPS

March 8th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

Lately, I’ve found myself eating an unusually high number of tortilla shells, which is one of the things that made me want to feature this recipe.

I use tortillas for the usual soft tacos, but I’ve also put them to use as pizza crusts, in a layered Mexican casserole (similar to lasagna noodles) and in breakfast burritos. And now, I’ll use them to make these watermelon ham wraps. You can put whatever you’d like in these wraps, so feel free to deviate from the recipe below.

WATERMELON HAM WRAPS

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon chive and onion spreadable cream cheese

1 large, burrito-size low-fat tortilla

1 ounce thinly sliced low-fat ham (or turkey)

1 lettuce leaf

other vegetables as desired (avocado, bell pepper, etc.)

1 seeded watermelon spear, about

1/2-inch thick, 1-inch wide and 9-inches long

INSTRUCTIONS

Spread cream cheese on tortilla, covering to edges. Place ham across center of tortilla; top with lettuce leaf, making sure edges to be rolled are not covered. Place watermelon spear on lettuce just off center. Roll tortilla over watermelon spear; continue rolling, tucking in ham and lettuce. Cream cheese will help tortilla stay rolled. Slice wrap into half inch to three-quarters of an inch pieces. Fasten pieces with wooden pick if needed.

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VINTAGE WATERMELON: ONE VERY HAPPY FAMILY

March 6th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

I don’t know much about this photo, but based on the hair styles, the clothing, and the pen in the pocket of the guy in the front, I’d estimate it was taken some time in early August 1956.

I’m not sure if this photo is a candid shot taken by a family member or something a little more professionally done. Everyone seems way too happy for it to be candid, but it was the summer of 1956, which was a pretty happy time, so that might explain the smiles. The image also reminds me of Norman Rockwell’s iconic “Freedom from Want” (the Thanksgiving dinner painting).

As a watermelon lover, I can appreciate this family’s desire to protect their picnic table by laying down what’s left of the Sunday paper before digging into their juicy snacks. The only time I’ve ever done that is when I carve watermelon. It worked quite well, if I remember correctly, although I used a Tuesday paper.

And correct me if I’m wrong, but is that a salt shaker at the end of the table near dad’s right hand? I’m pretty sure it is. Again, I’m not a salt-on-my-watermelon kind of guy, but it’s nice to see evidence that the practice was alive and well in the middle of the 20th century.

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MARCH PRIZE: THE WATERMELON PILLOW

March 4th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

I’ve never had a dream about watermelon. Actually, one time, I dreamt that my head turned into a giant watermelon and a hoard of hungry picnickers were chasing me around with carving knives. So I guess I have dreamt about watermelon, I’ve just never had a good dream about watermelon.

If I took a nap on this month’s prize – the plush watermelon pillow above – I might have a peaceful slumber, though. It’s handmade by Etsy seller Winter Petals, and is made with fleece fabric and stuffed with polyester. It measures about 17 inches long by roughly 8 inches tall.

What would I dream about if I rested my head on this pillow? Hard to say. It might be nice to dream about planting a magic watermelon seed that grows a giant watermelon the size of a school bus. I’d cut a hole in the end and eat my way to the center. Over the course of a few weeks, I’d devour the entire thing, leaving only the outer rind. Once the inside was cleaned out, I’d convert the watermelon into my new home, which would drive my neighbor (who lives inside a giant pineapple) into a jealous rage.

Or maybe, I’d just dream about being a baseball player.

I’ll choose one comment at random from all the comments left on the blog this month to receive this comfy keepsake. Good luck … and sweet dreams!

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RECIPE: WATERMELON-STACKED PANCAKES

February 27th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

I posted this recipe previously here on What About Watermelon (although the one below is revised slightly, replacing the maple syrup with whipped cream), but like many of the recipes I post, I didn’t actually make and taste it myself – until now.

I’m not sure why I’ve never made it. It’s not like I haven’t had the opportunity or the ingredients. I make pancakes two or three times a month (almost always on a Saturday morning) and I have watermelon in my fridge pretty much all the time.

The original recipe called for maple syrup, but I liked the way the watermelon tasted with the vanilla milkshake I made earlier this month, so I swapped out the syrup for whipped cream. If you’d like, feel free to keep the syrup. Either way, it’ll be a breakfast you won’t forget!

              

WATERMELON-STACKED BREAKFAST PANCAKES

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon butter
3 6-inch hot pancakes
1 1/2 cups minced seedless watermelon
Whipped cream

INSTRUCTIONS

Place a hot pancake on a warmed plate, top with a layer of whipped cream and sprinkle with watermelon. Continue the process with the second and third pancakes. Enjoy.

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FEATURED ANIMAL EATING WATERMELON: LIONS, TIGERS LEOPARDS AND COUGARS

February 25th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

They say cats are finicky eaters, and that may be true, but the ferocious felines in the video above sure know a good thing when they see it. As you can see, lions, tigers, leopards and cougars will go to great lengths to get their paws on a juicy watermelon.

To be honest, I was a little surprised by their taste for fruit because I always pictured the big cats as strictly meat eaters. Turns out, cats really are carnivores, but they sometimes eat plants and other vegetation. I would have thought that would make them omnivores, but I guess not.

Either way, they sure seem to like watermelon. I’m not really sure if they like eating the watermelon or if they just like playing with it. The leopard around the one-minute mark is the only cat that seems to enjoy eating the watermelon. The rest just seem content to bat it around until they get bored.

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TOM WILLETT SHOWS YOU HOW TO EAT A WATERMELON

February 22nd, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

If you’re not sure how to eat a watermelon, Tom Willett has taken the guesswork out of this sometimes confusing activity by creating the nine-minute tutorial video above. The video isn’t intended to be funny but, in many ways, it really is. Among Tom’s most memorable tips:

Half a watermelon is equal to one serving – That’s not entirely true. Technically, a single serving of watermelon is two cups, but I’ve been known to eat entire watermelons in one sitting, so I’m not going to argue with Tom’s suggestion.

The correct way to eat a watermelon is with a spoon– Tom says the “fork cartel has been trying to use dangerous forks when eating watermelon … in an attempt to sell forks” but a spoon is a much better choice. I agree with him on this one. Spoons do a much better job of scooping the flesh. Also, forks are terrible at holding watermelon juice.

Salt should not be placed on watermelon– Tom claims that salt “takes away from the sweet taste” of watermelon, but he’s wrong about that. I’m not a fan of salt on watermelon, but it’s a proven fact that a dash of salt can actually enhance the intensity of sweetness in certain foods.

Those are just a few tips from the first four minutes of the lesson. Later in the video, Tom tosses marshmallows and peanut butter into the watermelon (that’s right, peanut butter). I’ve never tried either of those additions with my watermelon, but I might give the peanut butter a whirl in the very near future.

If you watch the tutorial, even if it’s just for the entertainment value, don’t miss Tom’s awesome 360-degree scooping technique demonstrated around the 1:30 mark.

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RECIPE: WATERMELON MILKSHAKE

February 21st, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

On any given day, the ranking of my number one favorite food can vary between bacon, ice cream and watermelon. They’re all amazing, and if I could find a way to combine all three, I would. I’ve had bacon cheeseburgers topped with a slice of watermelon (delicious) and bacon ice cream (also delicious), so you can imagine my excitement when I dreamt up the impossibly simple recipe for watermelon milkshakes.

All it really requires is a few scoops of vanilla ice cream, a cup or two of watermelon, and a little milk. I whipped up this recipe, and the result was, not surprisingly, delicious.

As you can see, this refreshing shake only requires three ingredients: milk (not pictured), ice cream, and watermelon. The quantity of each can vary based on your personal preference. In my case, I just tossed a bunch of ice cream in a tall glass, threw in about two cups of diced watermelon, added a splash of milk and blended it using a handheld mixer.

Voila! A watermelon milkshake! My shake was just fine made with the aforementioned ingredients, but you might also consider adding a little vanilla extract or some sugar. I thought about adding bacon, but I didn’t want to completely blow my mind.

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GROWING A WATERMELON: LEARNING THE BASICS

February 18th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

Last month, I shared my New Year’s resolution to put my green thumb to the test by growing my very own watermelon in 2013. Like last year, when I organized and competed in my first seed-spitting contest, I’ll be providing monthly updates on my progress as I work toward making my resolution a reality.

Since I’m what some might call “gardening challenged,” I’m approaching the task of growing my favorite fruit with a little nervousness. I had a lot of questions about becoming a watermelon farmer, so I spent the better part of a weekend scouring the Internet for answers. Here’s what I learned:

Should I grow my watermelon from a seed or should I start with a seed that’s already sprouted?

The answer to this question is a combination of both. I’ll start with a seed, which will be grown indoors until it sprouts and then transplanted outdoors when the weather is a little warmer.

When should I plant my seed?

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, gardeners in colder climates (I’m in Pennsylvania) should start seeds indoors in mid- to late March and then transplant the sprout outdoors a few weeks after the season’s last frost (mid-April in my area).

What type of watermelon should I grow?

Since I have a small garden, I’ll more than likely grow a smaller icebox variety of watermelon such as the Sugar Baby, a round, red-fleshed fruit with a very dark green skin. I can also grow a bush type of watermelon like the Garden Baby, but the Sugar Baby will most likely be the watermelon for me.

What sort of care will my watermelon require?

To develop the sweetest, most succulent flesh, watermelons require eight to 10 hours of direct sunlight daily. They prefer a soil rich in organic matter, like compost or rotted manure.

Since watermelons are 95 percent water, they also require plentiful, even regular, watering for quick growing. The soil should be kept moist until the fruit reaches full size and then watering should end until the watermelon ripens. Mulch can be used to help retain soil moisture and prevent weeds, which can steal water and nutrients from the watermelon plant and are especially harmful when the plant is still in the sprout stage.

When will I be able to harvest my watermelon?

Watermelons are ready for harvest in 80 to 90 days for baby bush varieties, and 90 to 100 days or more for the larger varieties.

So there you have some basic questions and answers to help me get started on my watermelon-growing adventure. I’ll provide monthly updates and dive a little deeper into the trials and tribulations of being a watermelon farmer in future entries. In my update next month, I’ll cover the process of planting my Sugar Baby seed and starting the growing process indoors.

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HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

February 14th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

When it comes to Valentine’s Day snacks, the box of chocolates pretty much has the market cornered, but I’d argue that watermelon should have a greater presence on this holiday.

How do I love thee on this romantic day? Allow me to count the ways:

  • Would you rather get a box of chocolates or a big, juicy watermelon? Sure, some of you would opt for the chocolates, but I’d take the watermelon any day.
  • Watermelon can fit into a heart healthy diet. Watermelon is certified by the American Heart Association’s “Heart-Check Mark” program.  It is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • It’s red (at least on the inside), which is the color-of-choice for this day of love.

So there you have it. Three reasons watermelon should be synonymous with Valentine’s Day! Can you think of any other reasons I might be forgetting?

 

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THE BEAUTY OF CARVING A WATERMELON

February 12th, 2013 by The Watermelon Guy

There are two types of watermelon carvings: the hollowed-out jack-o’ lantern type of carvings and watermelon skin carvings like the one on the right. The latter type requires a little more skill, but the result is usually a beautiful work of watermelon art that could be displayed in the fruit-sculpting wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Unfortunately, the Met doesn’t have a fruit-sculpting wing, even though I’ve sent them multiple letters suggesting the idea and delivered a petition signed by nine people. If they ever come to their senses and add a display of watermelon art to their collection, they might want to start with a few works from Vid Nikolic.

In the five-minute video below, Vid shows us how to carve a watermelon dahlia. He makes it look easy mainly because, for him, it is easy! For me, it would take three-and-a-half days and the dahlia wouldn’t look anything like the one he made.

Watermelon dalia from Vid Nikolic on Vimeo.

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