10 Ways Tuesday: Melons

Cantaloupe (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

I’ve got creative ideas for using melons in late summer cooking:

1.  The Italian Way

According to The Silver Spoon (the self-proclaimed bible of authentic Italian cooking), prosciutto and melon is “truly the best-loved antipasto among Italians.” This combination of sweet, perfumed melon and salty cured ham is very popular in the United States. Serve it on the porch with a glass of prosecco for a casual but elegant appetizer. If you want to kick it up a notch, The Silver Spoon includes a recipe for Spicy Bundles. Prosciutto is spread with ricotta, provolone, and paprika, then rolled up and secured with a toothpick. The bundles are served on a platter with melon balls and seasoned with fresh cracked pepper. In A Platter of Figs, David Tanis arranges figs, melon slices, and prosciutto on a platter garnished with mint leaves.

2.  Drinky Drink

I love the way the Canal House ladies describe melons: “a big juicy orb of sweet, perfumed rainwater.” In Volume No. 1, they combined puréed melon with simple syrup then serve this “melon water” in a glass topped with a shot of white rum, a squeeze of lime, and a sprig of mint. Lovely. I also like the idea from Bon Appétit (August) for Watermelon Sugar, a pitcher cocktail (easy) made with muddled watermelon, lime juice, simple syrup, and jalapeño infused smoky tequila (mezcal).

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Ingredient of the Week: Melons

Melon (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

The ingredient of the week at La Domestique is the melon. Melon season is in full swing here in Colorado. Our warm, sunny climate is well-suited to cultivating several types of melons. Local farmers are growing heirloom melons and I encourage you to explore them all. You may find a new favorite!

I’m excited to cook in the moment with you- combining melons with summer fruits and veg. We’ll explore melon varieties from the luscious orange fleshed French Charentias to sweet green honeydew melons. Tomorrow is 10 Ways Tuesday and I’ll have lots of creative ideas for cooking with melons.

This week we’re taking a break from the usual video. We’re excited to make some changes and improvements to our Monday videos, and planning to start back up with that the first Monday in September.

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Sunday Series: Gathering, It’s the little things

Last week I met a good friend for lunch at Arabesque in Boulder. This lovely little cafe on the corner of Walnut and 17th street is full of light and life. Middle Eastern inspired food is served for breakfast and lunch. Everything is made from scratch, and their homemade pitas are fresh from the oven tender and delicious. The restaurant is owned by Manal and Saib Jarrar who can be found there daily. It’s a real mom and pop shop, with family working together. Manal is a former ballet instructor (Arabesque is a classical ballet position that demonstrates great skill from a dancer). The second you walk in the door you can feel her warm and welcoming energy. She and the other women were all dressed in brightly colored dresses and looking gorgeous while working. Just being in there puts a spring in your step.

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This Past Week at La Domestique: Salt

Salt (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

This past week at La Domestique was devoted to salt. Summer is the time of year when salt plays a starring role by enhancing the flavors of fresh vegetables. We delved into artisanal salts and learned how to “salt to taste.” Recipes featured this week highlighted salts ability to elevate the flavor of other ingredients like grilled lamb or a simple sliced tomato. I enjoyed cooking in the moment with you.

In case you missed anything, I’ve got a recap for you!

Monday:  Announcing salt as the ingredient of the week in our videocast.

Tuesday:  10 Ways Tuesday! Creative ideas for cooking with salt during summer.

Wednesday:  Cook in the moment with a recipe for Grilled Lamb with Gray Sea Salt, Lavender & Sage.

Thursday:  The story behind salt: how it’s produced, where it comes from, varieties and cooking.

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Tomato & Grilled Corn Salad with Smoked Salt

Summer is slipping away. Can you feel it? The days are getting shorter. The nights are getting cooler. If I stop to really look at my garden, I can see it’s peaking. Squash are desperately reproducing while their giant green leaves wither away. Tomatoes hang heavy on the vine. Farmers market stands overflow with end of summer produce like corn and watermelons. For just a little while longer we can hold on to summer. That’s what Tomato & Grilled Corn Salad is all about- cherishing those last few moments of summer.

On my last trip to the Boulder Farmers Market I came across some fantastic heirloom tomatoes from Red Wagon Farm. Wyatt, the farmer, said it’s his best crop of tomatoes in a long time. I was impressed by the massive softball sized ones, as well as the small zebra variety(they have stripes, go figure). After grabbing some tomatoes and a few ears of peaches and cream corn from Munson’s Farm Stand, I was good to go. My plan: a sliced tomato and char-grilled corn salad.

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