Watermelon Jalapeno Agua Fresca (Aguas Frescas)

Watermelon Jalapeno Agua Fresca Recipe 4

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A couple of years ago, when I was finishing my book, Mr. Wonderful and I went on a trip to the Los Angeles area for a week. He worked for two days and I sat on the beach with my laptop writing. Then, we traveled up and down Highway 1 along the coast stopping at every beach and staying at various hotels along the way.  One in particular near Santa Monica was absolutely wonderful. It had an outdoor lobby in the center and had lush groupings of fire-pits with beautiful couches and chairs, complete with the ability to privacy with long resplendent curtains you could pull around them. The pool had cabanas around it with lounge chairs at ground level built down into wooden platforms. It was by far, one of the most-glamorous and enjoyable hotels we’ve ever stayed at.





By day we would traipse down to the beach and enjoy watching the surf-dudes try and conquer the waves, and then we’d come back for a clothing change and head out to a local place to have lunch. When we returned to the hotel from the beach, however, man were we thirsty!



In the hotel lobby were giant glass urns full of ice water infused with various fruits and vegetables, and I fell in love with one in particular – watermelon and jalapeno. At first, it seemed off-kilter to me but I fell in love with the sweetness of the watermelon and the soft heat of the jalapeno flaring up after the fact in the back of my throat.

That is the inspiration for this agua fresca.

Agua frescas are common to Mexico, Central America and parts of the Carribean. The term agua fresca means “fresh water” and is nothing more than a blending of sweet or sour fruits or sometimes rice (in the case of horchata) with water and some sort of sweetener. They are extremely refreshing in the hot summer and exceptionally good for you too! Watch how easy this one is to make.

Start out by getting a really good watermelon.


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I have the best luck looking for one that has a yellow spot on it and thumps hollow-like when I rap it with my knuckles. The yellow spot means it has rested on that particular spot on the ground for awhile ripening and this peculiar method of selection has usually ended up with sweet ripe results in a watermelon.

Cut it up into slices, remove the rind and cut into rough chunks until you get six cups. This was about a half of a medium-sized seedless watermelon. Except it had seeds, so I’m not sure what’s up with that.


Watermelon cut collage


Now slice off the tail end of a jalapeno and slice it in half. Scrape the seeds and white ribs out with the pointed end of a spoon. If you think the jalapeno is too adventurous for you, simply leave it out. The plain ol’ regular watermelon agua fresca is delicious by itself!


jalapeno slice


Place both the watermelon chunks and the pieces of jalapeno into your blender and then pop the lid on. If need be to get your blender going, add a bit of water (maybe a couple of tablespoons) to the blender. Then whiz it up! If you can’t fit all six cups, do about four and then when it begins to liquify, you can push the other remaining chunks through the hole of the blender. Puree this to a very smooth consistency and then pour it into a bowl or pitcher through a fine sieve. You can press the solids (kind of foamy-looking stuff) in the sieve with the back of a large spoon or spatula to really get all the juice out.


Blend watermelon for Agua Fresca


Now add in the juice of two limes, one and one-half cups of water and two tablespoons of either honey or Truvia (maybe less depending on your sweet preference). Also take your jalapeno slices and 2/3 cup of fresh mint leaves and two more limes sliced thinly and add them in along with 2-3 cups of ice cubes.


watermelon agua fresca collage


Stir up the pitcher with a long spoon.


pitcher of watermelon jalapeno agua fresca


And pour some into glasses.


Watermelon Jalapeno Agua Fresca Recipe 3


Refreshing doesn’t even begin to cover it.

AWatermelon Jalapeno Agua Fresca (Aguas Frescas)

 

Author:

Recipe type: Drink

  • 6 c. watermelon, cut in chunks
  • ½ medium sized jalapeno, ribs and seeds scraped out
  • 1½ c. water
  • 2 large limes, juiced (about ¼ cup)
  • 2 T. honey or 2 T. Truvia
  • Garnish: 2 limes, sliced into rounds, 1 jalapeno, sliced into rounds, seeds removed, ⅔ c. fresh mint leaves
  1. Place watermelon and jalapeno in blender. If needed, add a little of the water to start the blending process.
  2. Once the mixture is finely blended, pour it through a fine sieve into a bowl.
  3. Squeeze in lime juice and add any remaining water and honey or Truvia.
  4. Pour into large pitcher and add ice, lime and jalepeno slices and mint
  5. Serve in glasses with ice

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Want some more some more watermelon inspired recipes? check out what other wonderful food bloggers are featuring in Food Network’s Summer Soirée below!

Weelicious: Watermelon Cinnamon Granita
Homemade Delish: Refreshing Watermelon Salsa
Healthy Eats: Pretty in Pink: 6 Dishes Made Better with Watermelon
Creative Culinary: Margarita Watermelon
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Watermelon and Peach Salsa
Dishin & Dishes: Watermelon Jalapeno Agua Fresca
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Watermelon Salsa
Red or Green: Watermelon, Corn & Jalapeno Salad
The Mom 100: Watermelon Strawberry Smoothie
Taste with the Eyes: Unique Watermelon Salad – Pomegranate Syrup, Feta, Cucumber
FN Dish: 6 Party-Ready Ways to Take Watermelon Off the Rind

 

 

 

 

 

 

how do you make agua fresca

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Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Yumion

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A few days back I bought some Vidalia Onions. I’m like a giddy little kid who reacts to the sounds of the ice cream truck when I see these sweet onions arrive at the store. I go running over, peer through the bags for the one I think most perfect and lay it in my grocery cart with a goofy smile all over my face.

Vidalia onions are grown in Vidalia, Georgia and are usually only available in late-spring/early summer in grocery stores or by ordering them online. Due to the makeup of the sulfur in the soil they are grown in, the onions are incredibly sweet and some onion lovers swear you can eat them like an apple. I’m not alone in my love of them – these onions which were almost grown by accident in the 1930’s, have their own mascot…







They have also inspired state and federal protection, have an actual committee,  and are the official vegetable of the state of Georgia.

I’m not alone in my adoration…see?

My absolute favorite thing to do with the onions is really showcase them by themselves, like sauteing them down until they are caramel-colored, brown and sugary, and topping grilled meat, tacos or hamburgers with them. I also adore them in fried potatoes. The ratio of onions to potatoes should be 50/50 because…again…they are the star.

However, I am Fitbitting, and have thus lost five pounds from walking diligently and lightening up my diet, so I was looking for a new way to utilize my Vidalias. We are also picking scads of lettuce from our garden right now, so I thought about a Vidalia onion vinaigrette. I’ve used onions before in dressings, like my Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing so I thought …why not?


How to make Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette


I had seen a recipe in Food & Wine recently that used Vidalia onions and they roasted them along with onions and garlic but upon making it, it just wasn’t right for me. I tweaked it somewhat by adding some fresh herbs and pure maple syrup and the result was perfect for the Cobb Salads we made that night (recipe will be posted for that tomorrow!)

I halved the recipe since it’s only the two of us and it was still enough for four large salads with some leftover.

Start by peeling and quartering one large Vidalia onion. Place it on a lined cookie sheet with three cloves of unpeeled garlic.  Don’t peel the garlic because the skin will keep it from drying out too much while roasting in the oven.


Photo Jun 09, 3 23 34 AM


Brush the onion with a little olive oil and pop the pan into a 425º oven for forty five minutes to one hour or just until the onion edges are browning and the garlic is soft but not turning hard.

After they are done, let them cool and then squeeze the garlic out of its skin, or simply peel it off and put the ooey gooey cloves into a blender and toss in the onions.


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Add in 1/4 cup each of apple cider vinegar and fresh squeezed lemon juice (about one large lemon), 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup (or honey), a dash of salt and a few grinds of pepper.


Vidalia vinaigrette ingredients


Pop the lid on your blender and whiz this up for about 30 seconds.


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Then take off the inserted round lid on top of the blender and slowly pour in the olive oil.


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Blend another 30 seconds or so and you’re done! Pour it into a pretty container to serve it.


Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette Salad Dressing Recipe


Because if you go to all that work, why put it in an unattractive serving piece right?


Vidalia Vinaigrette 1


I beg you to stay tuned for the Cobb Salad recipe I’m posting tomorrow to put this dressing on. And remember, you can keep this in the refrigerator for up to four days!

Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

 

Author:

Recipe type: Dressing

  • 1 large Vidalia onion
  • 3 cloves garlic with skin ON
  • ¼ c. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ c. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ c. pure maple syrup
  • 1 t. roughly chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 T. chopped chives
  • ½ c. (or to taste) olive oil (I typically like less in my dressings) plus more for brushing
  1. Preheat oven to 425º
  2. LIne a baking sheet and peel and quarter onion. Lay cut side down on baking sheet with garlic cloves and brush the onion tops and sides with olive oil
  3. Roast in oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the edges are browning and garlic is soft, then let cool
  4. Place onion and garlic in blender and add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT for olive oil
  5. Blend 30 seconds then slowly drizzle olive oil thru top of blender to thicken
  6. Keeps up to four days in the refrigerator

3.3.3077


Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette


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Asparagus Spinach Coconut Soup | Dishin & Dishes

asparagus spinach coconut milk soup

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A couple of weekends ago, I was watching a cooking show where the hostess was making spring food and an asparagus soup recipe drew me in, except for the butter and heavy cream, both of which I adore, but could really do without on my hips, behind and other parts of my body, if you know what I mean.



If you are one of those tall, lanky thin people who don’t know what I mean….it means it puts WEIGHT on me for gosh sake. Count your blessings!

I decided to re-create the recipe in a healthier sense and oh boy! Mr. Wonderful has fallen in love with this soup!  And the added healthy bonus is just a plus!

Start out by chopping one large bunch of asparagus into one to two inch pieces. Also, chop up two stalks of celery along with one leek and 2 cloves of garlic. Now, if you’re one of those people who makes a face at the sound of the word “leek” be adventurous! Leeks have a more delicate flavor than their cousin the onion, so if you don’t like strong onion flavor or are cooking a dish that an onion might overpower (like this one!), try using a leek instead. To learn how to cut and wash them click here for my leek tutorial.

So to start cooking this soup, add two tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil into a large pot.  When it’s melted and the heat is up to medium temperature, add in the asparagus, leek and celery and stir for about ten minutes.  Then add in the garlic and stir for one minute more.


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Now add in four cups of vegetable or chicken stock. To make your own chicken stock click here and to make your own vegetable stock, click here. It just might be easier than you think!


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Stir this all around a few times and simmer for about twenty minutes, stirring every five-seven minutes or so.

Then add in in four cups of spinach. I forgot to take a picture!

Now using a ladle, add in enough of this mixture to fill your blender about half way full.


blending hot soups



**IMPORTANT!!!  Any time you blend a hot liquid, let it cool a bit first and then only fill your blender no more than half way full! Remove the lid or the removable clear plastic insert to add things and cover with a dish towel to avoid steam explosions and burning!

Blending asparagus soup


Turn this on and pulse a few times and then turn it on high and let it completely blend until smooth, then pour it into a bowl or another large sauce pan and repeat with the remaining asparagus/spinach mixture until all is pureed.

Next, pour it back into a clean pot and gently heat again over medium heat.


Photo Mar 28, 4 36 40 AM


Add in one 13.5 ounce can of coconut (or light coconut) milk and stir and bring back to a simmer and simmer for about five minutes more letting it thicken up slightly.

If you prefer SUPER silky soup, pour through a fine sieve.


sieve strain asparagus soup


I usually skip this step, however, because it’s pretty smooth and I prefer to keep the tiny bits of fiber in for more health benefits!

Garnish with creme fraiche, or Greek yogurt  and some blanched tips of asparagus stalks for a beautiful presentation!


Photo Mar 28, 4 45 46 AM (1)


I was worried Mr. Wonderful wouldn’t like this soup but he raved about it for days. I’m making some more tonight while asparagus low prices abound!

Happy Spring!

Asparagus Spinach Coconut Soup

 

Author:

Cuisine: Soup

  • Ingredients
  • 2 T. coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 large bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large leek, white and light green only, chopped and rinsed
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 13.5 can light or regular coconut milk
  • ½ t. Kosher salt
  • ¼ t. ground black pepper
  1. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the asparagus, celery, and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and stir for one minute
  4. Add the vegetable or chicken stock, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add spinach and stir for 1 minute, just to wilt
  6. Working in batches, fill blender to half full with mixture. Take off plastic clear lid but leave on main lid of blender. Cover hole with a dish towel and quickly pulse a few times, then turn blender on and let run for 1 minute to puree well. Pour into a clean large sauce pan.
  7. Repeat with remaining mixture until all your original pot is pureed and in sauce pan.
  8. Add the coconut milk and simmer for another 2-3 minutes minutes.
  9. Season with salt and pepper and adjust to taste.
  10. Add the spinach to the soup and let wilt for about 1 minute. In batches, pour the soup into a blender and blend on high until smooth. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender and puree in the pot.) Stir well before transferring to 12 small teacups and serve hot.
  11. IMPORTANT: It’s important when blending hot liquids to only fill half full in blender and leave the top opening open to allow steam to release. Failure to do so can result in hot explosions and burning!

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Love asparagus and want MORE recipes featuring their lovely green stalks? Check out what other bloggers are offering for Food Network’s Spring Sensation Sides below!

The Lemon Bowl: 20 Asparagus Recipes for Spring
Feed Me Phoebe: White Asparagus with Herby Sabayon Sauce
Dishing with Divya: Mock Guacamole with Asparagus
Dishin & Dishes: Asparagus Spinach Coconut Soup
Creative Culinary: Grilled Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Low Carb Pasta with Asparagus Pancetta and Pine Nuts
Weelicious: Italian Asparagus Sticks
The Heritage Cook: Asparagus Caprese Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Asparagus Nicoise
Red or Green: Spicy Roasted Asparagus & Leek Soup
Swing Eats: Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Asparagus with Rosemary
The Cultural Dish: Asparagus Milanese
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Asparagus Carbonara with Garlic Crumbs
Taste with the Eyes: Savory Matzo Brei with Asparagus and Smoked Salmon
The Mom 100: It’s Simple Roasted Asparagus with Shallots and Parmesan
FN Dish: The Asparagus Motto: The Simpler, The Better

 

 

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Curried Cauliflower Chowder | Dishin & Dishes

Creamy cauliflower soup chowder

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Every time I see another picture of a recipe for a creamy cauliflower soup, I get the urge to run right home and make it. This weekend I actually did it and I think I came up with a healthy option as well as a delicious one.

This recipe makes a pretty good sized pot of soup and you will need two heads of cauliflower. One you cook ahead of time and purée right into the broth to become the thickener of the soup instead of cream. The other is chunked up to give it some texture and bite and the entire thing is flavored with a little hint of curry spice that packs a big punch of flavor.



 


cauliflower soup recipe


This soup is one you can have seconds and thirds of without feeling guilty so eat up my friends!


Creamy healthy Cauliflower chowder


I am writing this post also in honor of Food Day, which will be here on October 24.

Food Day is a nationwide celebration of a movement towards sustainable, affordable and healthy food that builds all year and culminates in a day of action on October 24 every year.

What you can do to be pro-active:

*Plant a vegetable garden in your backyard or even start a potted garden with easy-to-grow foods like lettuce, herbs or tomatoes

*resolve to and put into action a plan to introduce healthier foods into your diet. Start with something small like incorporating one or two raw or cooked fresh vegetables into you and your family’s lives.

This is not just a great cause but should become an added benefit to you and your family to bring health and an active lifestyle for years to come.

 

Curried Cauliflower Chowder

 

Author:

Recipe type: soup

  • 2 T. Olive oil
  • One medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1½ to 2 T. Red curry paste or 1 T. Curry powder
  • 4 c. Chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 heads cauliflower, core and leaves removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 (14 oz.) can light coconut milk
  • Chives and/or sliced red chiles for garnish
  1. In large stockpot or soup kettle, add olive oil and older over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion and sauté 3-5 minutes to soften but not brown, stirring often
  3. Add garlic for one minute, stirring often
  4. Add curry paste or powder and stir another minute
  5. Add stock and one had of cauliflower
  6. Bring to boil and simmer for 15minutes, or until cauliflower is very tender
  7. Pour in batches into blender and purée until smooth
  8. Add back into pot and stir in 2nd head of chopped broccoli
  9. Simmer 15 minutes with lid on until very tender
  10. Our in coconut milk and stir
  11. Serve with garnishes of chopped chives and red chilie

3.2.2708

 

See what other fabulous food bloggers are making with cauliflower during Food Networks Fall Fest!

The Lemon Bowl: Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken with Cauliflower
Feed Me Phoebe: Vegan Cauliflower Soup with Red Curry
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Hash Brown Cauliflower and Potatoes
The Cultural Dish: Cauliflower and Leek Soup
Dishing with Divya: Gobi Manchurian
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Smokey Cauliflower Soup with Parmigiano-Reggiano
Red or Green: Cauliflower and Peppers Pasta with Spicy Pesto
Swing Eats: Cauliflower T-Bone Steaks with Olive, Lemon and Parsley
Dishin & Dishes: Curried Cauliflower Chowder
Domesticate Me: Three Cheese Cauliflower Gratin
Weelicious: Vegetarian Tagine
Devour: 5 Reasons to Make Cauliflower Immediately
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Cauliflower Breadsticks
Taste With The Eyes: Spiced Roasted Cauliflower with Walnut, Cilantro, Mint
FN Dish: Reasons to Reconsider Cauliflower (recipes)

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Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie

Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie

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Rhubarb and strawberries are showing up everywhere!  Here’s a Saturday morning, or any morning smoothie made in memory of this.





Only it’s minus the 90 million fat and sugar grams that you get with it.

Toss some nonfat plain yogurt, some fresh strawberries, rhubarb, honey and a little ice into the blender, and you’ll have a nice treat!







Katie’s Printable Recipe – Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie

The post Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie appeared first on Dishin & Dishes.

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Holiday Spiced Cider | Dishin & Dishes

11

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Baby it’s cold outside…well sometimes.  We actually had a 75 degree day one day this week.  Ya just never know in Oklahoma.

The holidays are and have been upon us. We like to start a crockpot of this cider on Thanksgiving and Christmas and pretty much every weekend in between. Not only is it warm goodness to sip on in the evenings, but it makes your house smell heavenly as well.



But for the most part, the  weather here has dropped significantly requiring hoodies, sweaters, blankets. socks and the worst of all…pantyhose.  I hate pantyhose almost as much as I hate spiked high heels, and think it highly unfair that men don’t have to suffer the misery of either.  I mean, the things us woman have to endure to look marvelous..I tell ya..

Anyway, I actually like cool weather.  I realize that places that stay warm all year have their perks, but I love the change in seasons.  Especially here in Oklahoma.  I love it when the 100 degree days spiral down to the 80’s, and then the mercury continues to drop to even the 60’s and 50’s.  I love wrapping up in a blanket on a cold Saturday afternoon and popping in a movie.

But nothing makes it more perfect than a good cup of warm, fragrant Spiced Cider.

 

This recipe is made in your crock pot, but can be made in a pot on your stove as well. Just simmer it for 15 minutes or so on your stove and you’re good to go.  However, the added bonus to the crockpot over the stove is

#1)  if you walk away and forget about it, it won’t evaporate or reduce away, and

#2) the heavenly aroma it fragrances your home with all day long.

So, to begin, pour a gallon of apple cider into your crockpot.


cidercollage



Cloves.


cloves


Now, the spices of mulled cider beg for this spice, the most important ingredient of spiced cider.

Cloves just give it that little hint of something’ something’ at the back of your palate.  Add in one tablespoon of ground cloves.


allspice


Next, add 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  I like my cider smooth with just a hint of tartness.


sugar


Add 1 tablespoon of Allspice.


clovesin


Add 4-5 whole cinnamon sticks.  They look pretty floating on top.


cinnamonsticks


Slice up one whole orange.


oranges


And float the pieces right into the pool.


orangesin


Some people use juice, but I prefer the pretty oranges floating on top and also, this way you release the essential oils in the rind of the orange as well.

And that’s all folks.  Just pop on your crockpot lid and turn your setting to High.


lidon


I left mine like this for several hours, then turned it down to Low.

Mmmmm….

Now if you are a picky texture floaty person, you  might want to strain this before you serve it through some cheese cloth or a fine sieve.

However, as one person who refuses to drink pulp in orange juice, it didn’t bother me at all.  The spices kind of melt in with the cider.  But there may be some residue in the bottom of your cup, so you decide.

Ladle it out into a nice mug or cup.


final collage


During mid-afternoon at some point, it occurred to me that this would be fabulously amazing with one of my Triple Cinnamon Snickerdoodle Bars.  I think it was the incredible scent of the mix of apples and spices that drew me.

I made up a tray and set off to watch Patrick Swayze for the millionth time in Point Break on some off-cable channel.


8


Let’s have a minute of silence in remembrance of Patrick.  I will always have the biggest crush on him that goes way back to the 80’s.  I remember being pregnant with Tori and with my hormones all out of whack, sobbing all the way to the parking lot after watching Ghost for the first time.  I was astounded to learn he was 57 when he died recently.  I would have guessed early 40’s.  He still looked that good.

So, it was a lovely, cool autumn day.

I was under a quilt, sipping Mulled Cider.

5

 

Holiday Spiced Cider

 

Total time

 

Author:

Recipe type: Drinks

  • 1 gal. Apple cider
  • 1 T. ground cloves or 8 whole cloves
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • 1 T. Allspice
  • 4-5 whole cinnamon sticks
  • One whole orange sliced thinly
  1. Add all ingredients to crockpot
  2. Turn on high heat
  3. Allow to heat to hot temperature then turn crockpot on low or warm for the rest of the day!
  4. After 2-3 hours can strain if desired or just serve with a little strainer and let guests ladle into their cups through the strainer.

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It doesn’t get much better than that.

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