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Archive for the ‘Menus: Seasonal & Holiday’ Category


Jessie Rogers

From Our Kitchen To Yours: Tips & Recipes for Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey & More!

BiRite Market, Sept. 17, 2013.  Photo by Nader KhouriAre you ready for Thanksgiving? Our team of Chefs have pulled together their best advice, tips, and recipes for cooking the perfect Thanksgiving dinner! Take a look at our step-by-step printable guides below. And of course, we’re always here to answer any questions to make sure your holiday dinner is a shining success. Stop by or give us a call, we’d love to help.

 

Still need to find the perfect turkey? Try our incredible Heritage Turkeys from the experts at BN Ranch. Need great sides that will thrill everyone at the table? How about a cheese course, amazing Bi-Rite Creamery desserts, and unforgettable wines? Just visit our special Holiday Market on Instacart.com and you can pre-order everything you need for quick and easy pick-up at either Bi-Rite Market location.

Follow these simple steps to pre-order from our Turkey Selection & Thanksgiving Menu!

  1. Create an Instacart account at Instacart.com (or log in to your existing Instacart account) and select the Bi-Rite Holiday Market to begin your order.
  2. Ordering from outside San Francisco? No problem! You can use Bi-Rite’s 94110 zip code to create your Instacart account since all our holiday orders are for in store pick-up.
  3. Need help? Our Thanksgiving hotline is live! Dial 415-241-9760 and select option 3 for Thanksgiving menu-planning and ordering questions. Our experts are here to make the process as smooth as possible!

Click here to get started!

 

Get our Chefs’ tips for cooking your Thanksgiving Turkey and more!

 

  • Print our our entire Holiday Field Guide, with complete instructions on how to cook all your holiday meats, reheat Bi-Rite’s house-made sides, and stock your holiday pantry!

Or, print just the pages you need:


Jessie Rogers

Quick Tips for Thanksgiving Pre-Ordering Online!

Bi-Rite’s Quick Tips for Thanksgiving Online Ordering:

  1. Create an Instacart account at instacart.com (or log in to your existing Instacart account) and select the Bi-Rite Holiday Market to begin your order.
  2. Ordering from outside San Francisco? No problem! You can use Bi-Rite’s 94110 zip code to create your Instacart account since all our holiday orders are for in store pick-up.
  3. Need help? Our Thanksgiving hotline is live! Dial 415-241-9760 and select option 3 for Thanksgiving menu-planning and ordering questions. Our experts are here to make the process as smooth as possible!

Click here to get started!

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Welcoming Thanksgiving: Our Guide to a Perfect Celebration

Thanksgiving is upon us! I love this time of year for the celebrations and wonderful food. From gorgeous seasonal produce, to amazing roasts and turkeys (including, of course, unforgettable heritage turkeys from BN Ranch), to ready-to-eat foods and complete dinner kits prepared in our Kitchens by our talented Chefs, we’re here to help reduce the stress of your holiday. I invite you to peruse our 2014 Thanksgiving Guide to see everything our Buyers and Chefs have created for you; you can view it online below, or pick up a printed copy at either Bi-Rite Market.

Partnering with Instacart is another way we can make your Thanksgiving more convenient. You can now pre-order your holiday meals for pickup at either Bi-Rite Market location from our special online Holiday Market. Simply choose Bi-Rite at 3639 18th Street or 550 Divisadero Street as your pick-up location, and you’re all set.

As always, we’re here to help make your Thanksgiving entertaining a success. Come in and chat with us, or call us with any questions. We look forward to seeing you. Happy Holidays to All!


Jason Rose

Brand New Seasonal Salads for Fall

I’m thrilled to announce six new salads, highlighting the beautiful colors and flavors of fall. You can find these salads in our Deli Service case starting today at both Bi-Rite Market locations.

 NewSaladRoastedCarrots   NewSaladDelicataRed

Llano Seco Heirloom Bean Salad with Winter Squash, Roasted Fennel,
Toasted Coriander & Lemon Tahini Vinaigrette
$9.99/lb

Winter Squash Salad with Kale, Currants, Pumpkin Seeds,
Sage & Maple Cider Vinaigrette
$9.99/lb

Roasted Vietnamese Brussels Sprouts with Nuoc Mam Cham,
Spicy Chilies, Cilantro & Mint
$9.99/lb

Citrus-Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Sumac, Pistachios, Apricots,
Grilled Winter Chicories & Honey
$10.99/lb

Middle Eastern Rice Salad with Roasted Parsnips, Garbanzo Beans, Mint, Dill, Parsley
& Lemony Paprika Vinaigrette
$8.99/lb


Amaro Amore!

AmaroAmoreHeader

It’s Amaro amore! We’re celebrating the regional diversity and flavor variations of this bitter-sweet Italian liqueur by featuring several different Amari varieties, all of which tell the story of the region where they’re created. For some fun ways to enjoy these aromatics, Rachel from our Wine & Spirits Team has pulled together a few of her favorite recipes for refreshing Amaro cocktails. You can also enjoy Amaro straight! There’s a profile to suit every palate.

Lucano Fizz

  • 2 oz Lucano Amaro
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ½  oz simple syrup
  • ½ oz egg
  • 1 ½ oz seltzer
  • Orange peel

Combine ingredients (minus seltzer) in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously without ice for 5 seconds. Add a handful of ice and shake again. Add seltzer to serving glass and strain cocktail over seltzer. Cut orange peel, minimizing pith, and twist over drink.

Girovago
Girovago means ‘adventurer’ in Italian, a variation on the French Boulevardier, which is a negroni made with bourbon.

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth (we use Cocchi di Torino)
  • ½ oz Varnelli Sibilla Amaro
  • Lemon peel

Add spirits to a mixing glass, stir over ice. Strain over a large ice cube. Cut lemon peel, minimizing pith, twist over drink and serve.

Hoffman House
Ascoli-Piceno style

  • 1 ½ oz gin
  • ½ oz dry vermouth (we use Dolin Dry)
  • 1/3 oz Meletti Amaro
  • Dash orange bitters

Stir over ice, strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.

AmaroStack


Jason Rose

A Slew of New Sandwiches!

I’m so thrilled to introduce a new lineup of fresh sandwiches from our Deli. All of these sandwiches are the result of lots of testing and perfecting, and from our new Bi-Rite BLT to the classic Banh Mi, we know you’ll love them!

We serve sandwiches all day. Call us at (415) 241-9760 for 18th St. or (415) 551-7900 for Divisadero St. to place an order for pickup, or order from the Deli counter in the Markets. You can also sign up for Instacart and get your sandwiches delivered within San Francisco in as little as 1 hour!

Legend: (VEG)=Vegetarian, (V)=Vegan, (N)=Contains Nuts

Bi-Rite Market Divisadero Street Sandwiches

The Olympic—$10.99
Olympic Provisions Salami Cotto, Mortadella & Capicola with Provolone, Pepperoncini, Red Onion, Lettuce, Italian Dressing & Lemon Aioli on Semifreddi’s Ciabatta

The Vegan Hippy—$8.99
Avocado, Crispy Fried Sweet Potato, Pea Shoots and a Rum – Braised Green Onion Aioli on Toasted Josey Baker “Seed Feast” Bread

Vietnamese Tofu Banh Mi—$9.99—(VEG)
Lemongrass-Ginger Marinated Hodo Soy Tofu Topped with Scallions, Pickled Carrots, Cilantro, Jalapeño & Lemon Aioli on a French Roll

Salmon Burger—$11.99 (Served Hot–plus tax)
House-Made Salmon Burger with Capers, Fennel, Lemon, Herbed Greek Yogurt, Shaved Cucumber, Pickled Red Onion & Arugula on Bakers of Paris Brioche

large_2232ca03-da43-478b-8631-02d2383d1cb6Niçoise Tuna—$10.99 (Served Hot–plus tax)
Pan-Seared Tombo Tuna, sliced thin & served with Lemon Aioli, Olive Tapenade, Arugula & Tomato on Toasted Semifreddi’s Ciabatta Roll

Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Onions & Provolone—$9.99
Free-Range Grilled Chicken with Provolone, Balsamic Onions, Aioli & Arugula on Acme Focaccia

Diestel Ranch Turkey & Provolone—$9.99
Roasted Free-Range Turkey Breast, House-Made Aioli, Dijon, Lettuce, Tomato & Provolone on an Acme Roll

Bi-Rite BLT—$9.99
Benton’s Hickory Smoked Country Bacon, Heirloom Tomatoes, Lettuce & Black Pepper Aioli on Toasted Josey Baker “Seed Feast” Bread

large_d11eda03-2de7-49f1-8e59-922114690b90Mozzarella & Prosciutto—$10.99
Belfiore Mozzarella, La Quercia Prosciutto, Pepperonata, Basil & Arugula on Acme Rustic Baguette

Pulled Heritage Pork—$9.99
Braised Heritage pork shoulder, Cider Coleslaw, Lemon Aioli & Dijon Mustard with Pickled Jalapenos on a Toasted Acme Roll

Vietnamese Banh Mi with Roasted Heritage Pork—$9.99
Slow-Roasted Heritage Pork Shoulder Topped with Scallions, Pickled Carrots, Cilantro, Jalapeño & Lemon Aioli on a French Roll

Hot Ham Melt—$8.99 (Served Hot–plus tax)
Llano Seco Apple-Wood Smoked Ham with Gruyere Cheese, Béchamel & Dijon Mustard on Josey Baker Sliced Country Bread

large_58ff0ea9-24f4-402f-876f-81525d378dbaSlow-Roasted 5 Dot Ranch Beef & Cheddar—$10.99
California-Raised Beef Cooked Rare with Sweet Onion Jam, Cabot Vintage Cheddar, Arugula, Lemon Vinaigrette & Black Pepper Aioli on a Potato Rosemary Roll

Additions

  • Add 3 fat slices of Benton’s bacon for $3
  • Add Avocado for $2

Bi-Rite Market 18th Street Sandwiches

The Olympic—$10.99
Olympic Provisions Salami Cotto, Mortadella & Capicola with Provolone, Pepperoncini, Red Onion, Lettuce, Italian Dressing & Lemon Aioli on Semifreddi’s Ciabatta

The Vegan Hippy—$8.99
Avocado, Crispy Fried Sweet Potato, Pea Shoots & Rum-Braised Green Onion Aioli on Toasted Josey Baker “Seed Feast” Bread

large_68a535d1-e2ed-446d-b344-736fcb1add96Vietnamese Tofu Banh Mi—$9.99—(VEG)
Lemongrass-Ginger Marinated Hodo Soy Tofu Topped with Scallions, Pickled Carrots, Cilantro, Jalapeño & Lemon Aioli on a French Roll

Salmon Burger—$11.99 (Served Hot–plus tax)
House-Made Salmon Burger with Capers, Fennel, Lemon, Herbed Greek Yogurt, Shaved Cucumber, Pickled Red Onion & Arugula on Bakers of Paris Brioche

Niçoise Tuna—$10.99 (Served Hot–plus tax)
Pan-Seared Tombo Tuna, sliced thin, served with Lemon Aioli, Olive Tapenade, Arugula & Tomato on Toasted Semifreddi’s Ciabatta Roll

large_04ba199a-9592-402b-be8f-d582b7101433Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Onions & Provolone—$9.99
Free-Range Grilled Chicken with Provolone, Balsamic Onions, Aioli & Arugula on Acme Focaccia

Diestel Ranch Turkey & Provolone—$9.99
Roasted Free-Range Turkey Breast, House-Made Aioli, Dijon, Lettuce, Tomato & Provolone on an Acme Roll

Bi-Rite BLT—$9.99
Benton’s Hickory Smoked Country Bacon, Heirloom Tomatoes, Lettuce & Black Pepper Aioli on Toasted Josey Baker “Seed Feast” Bread

Mozzarella & Prosciutto—$10.99
Belfiore Mozzarella, La Quercia Prosciutto, Pepperonata, Basil & Arugula on Acme Rustic Baguette

Pulled Heritage Pork —$9.99
Braised Heritage pork shoulder, Cider Coleslaw, Lemon Aioli & Dijon Mustard with Pickled Jalapenos on a Toasted Acme Roll

Vietnamese Banh Mi with Roasted Heritage Pork—$9.99
Slow-Roasted Heritage Pork Shoulder Topped with Scallions, Pickled Carrots, Cilantro, Jalapeño & Lemon Aioli on a French Roll

Ham & Swiss—$8.99 (Served Hot–plus tax)
Llano Seco Smoked Ham with Aioli, Dijon, Tomato & Swiss Cheese on an Acme Sweet Baguette

Slow-Roasted 5 Dot Ranch Beef & Cheddar—$10.99
California-Raised Beef Cooked Rare with Sweet Onion Jam, Cabot Vintage Cheddar, Arugula, Lemon Vinaigrette & Black Pepper Aioli on a Potato Rosemary Roll

Additions

  • Add 3 fat slices of Benton’s bacon for $3
  • Add Avocado for $2

 

 


Christine Mathias

Bi-Rite Catering: New Peak-of-Season Harvest Menu

CateringFlowersWith the shorter days of fall comes an increased need to fill our bellies with serious comfort food! The air carries whiffs of cinnamon, foliage, and the richness of harvest time. Bi-Rite Catering has some amazing new ideas for your autumn celebrations – whether it’s for someone who passed the Bar Exam, a Halloween hootenanny, or a cocktail reception for your biggest client. You are so covered! Our new savory tartlet options are always eagerly anticipated, and the Harvest menu is introducing a great one. Our Savory Tartlets with Roasted Wild Mushrooms, Melted Leeks, Ricotta and Thyme are earthy and fantastic, with light pastry and a touch of herbs. cateringApplesAlso coming fresh from our ovens: a new Focaccia Flatbread with Caramelized Onions, Roasted Apples, Bacon, Goat Cheese and Chives. You’ll really get a sense of the flavors of fall with the Focaccia Finger Sandwich with PorchettaFall Fruit Mostarda, Parmigiano Reggiano and Aioli on Salted Focaccia. CateringPumpkinSeedsYou’re looking for amazing sides, too – no one can subsist on yummy bread products alone! (Although we can try, right?) For the gluten-free among you, the French Lentil and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Truffle Oil and Herbs is filling and aromatic and the Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean and Quinoa Salad with Roasted Poblano Peppers, Cumin and Charred Tomato Vinaigrette is smoky and sublime. Add a leafy Salad of Local Chicories with Roasted Delicata Squash, Currants, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds with Sage, and Maple Cider Dressing and you can feed an army with little to no effort on your part. Check out the rest of our catering menu here for seasonal picks and our tried and true favorites. If you need delivery or you want to pick it up at either of our markets, it’s no problem! Now go jump in a pile of leaves or something! These new additions, as well as our complete Catering Menu, are available to order beginning Saturday, October 4 after 3pm, for events starting Monday, October 6 or after. Contact us for assistance with planning your fabulous fall event!


Jason Rose

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: High Holy Days Menu Available 9/23-10/4

We are pleased to announce our complete menu for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The menu from our kitchens, as well as an array of kosher wines, iosher cheeses, and grocery items, and traditional  Jewish baked goods from Bi-Rite Creamery will be available at both Bi-Rite Market locations from Tuesday, September 23 through Saturday, October 4. To order in advance, please call, or we welcome you to order in person in either market. You can now also shop for home delivery from Instacart.com.

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Stephany

Eggplant: A Versatile Fruit

The nightshade family includes tomatoes, potatoes, peppers – and thousands of eggplant varietals that have been cultivated all over the world for centuries. Originally hailing from India, eggplant is widely used all over Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. Botanically it’s considered a berry, and like berries eggplants come in many shapes and sizes. In the United States the most commonly grown variety is the Globe Eggplant, which is large, deep purple-black, and glossy, so this image is a natural eggplant association for most Americans. But many early 18th-century eggplant cultivars are creamy white or pale yellow and are smaller and rounder compared to the commonly-known modern globe, giving rise to the name of “eggplant.”

eggplant1But the world of eggplant is populated by a variety of shapes, colors and tastes. Thai eggplant are tiny, no bigger than a crabapple, and their bright streaks of green make them look almost like a Green Zebra tomato! Japanese eggplant are long, skinny and dark purple; Chinese eggplant are a similar long shape but possess a bright lavender color. Both varieties cook quickly and are great on the grill or in a stir-fry.

Calliope eggplant are small, teardrop-shaped and striped white and bright purple. They’re very sweet and great for grilling, roasting or stuffing.

Listada is an Italian varietal that is striped like the Calliope, but larger and more oblong.

Rosa Bianca is an heirloom Sicilian varietal, large and bulbous, fading from deep purple to lavender to white, and super meaty, sweet, creamy – my personal favorite for Eggplant Parmesan!

Ratatouille, moussaka, caponata, eggplant parmesan, baba ghanoush…eggplant takes well to a myriad of cooking techniques and is at home in an almost endless variety of dishes. It isn’t great raw – it can be somewhat bitter and spongy-textured (the eggplant is a relative of tobacco as well; its bitterness comes from nicotinoid alkaloids) – but cooking coaxes out those meaty and creamy attributes. Like a sponge, eggplant will absorb any flavors (or oils) to which it is exposed, making it a great candidate for stews. Eggplant is often used in Southeast Asian curries or spicy Indian chutneys and pickles. It can be roasted whole in its skin and then scooped out and mixed with other vegetables (think onion, tomato, chiles), or mixed with tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice to make baba ghanoush. Pickled, stuffed, fried, roasted…the possibilities are constrained only by the limits of imagination.

As I mentioned above, Rosa Bianca eggplant is great for Eggplant Parmesan. Here’s a great recipe you can try using ingredients you can get at Bi-Rite Market.

Eggplant Parmesaneggplant2

Eggplant Parm is a staple of Italian-American cuisine, served at almost every red sauce joint in the USA. I first became enamored of this dish while living in New York City during college, where I had it between sesame rolls as a hero or over spaghetti with marinara. It’s a hearty, filling dish, and a beautiful way to showcase the meatiness of eggplant. Though it’s served year-round at many restaurants, I like to wait for local heirloom eggplant; Full Belly Farm’s Rosa Bianca eggplant, a Sicilian heirloom varietal, is my absolute favorite in this dish. It’s a large, bulbous type, with skin blushing from deep to lavender purple to white. It looks like a watercolor, and has no bitterness and a thin skin. Any larger eggplant varietal will work, such as Globe or Barbarella, another Italian heirloom variety that we are growing at Bi-Rite Farm in Sonoma!

Traditionally, Eggplant Parmesan is made with thick slices of eggplant that are fried (sometimes battered, floured or breaded and sometimes not), and then layered with tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, basil, and (sometimes) hard-boiled egg slices. The eggplant can also be grilled, broiled or baked for a lighter version.

Here are two variations that I like to make. The first is a Spiced Eggplant Parmesan, made with a little garam masala in the breading and ginger and chiles in the tomato sauce. The second is a lighter version I came up with during last week’s heat wave, a bit more fit for a hot summer day than the traditional version.

Spiced Eggplant Parmesan

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Basic Fried Eggplant
  • 2-3 large eggplant, such as Rosa Bianca, Barbarella or Globe
  • Kosher salt, pepper, dried herbs such as oregano, thyme; garam masala for the spiced version
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk, water, or buttermilk
  • 1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • Canola, peanut or other neutral oil for frying

Instructions

Wash the eggplant, peel if desired (I don’t, usually, unless the skin is very thick), and cut into thick 1-inch rounds. Place in a strainer over a bowl or sink. Salt liberally on both sides, rubbing the salt on a little to make sure it’s coated. Set aside to drain for 1 hour while you prep the rest. The salt helps draw out excess water, to prevent your parm from getting soggy when fried. It also seasons and tenderizes the eggplant, and draws out any bitterness that might be present.

Set up three shallow bowls or pie plates, with a clean plate or tray at the end. Put the flour in one, add a big pinch of salt, some pepper, and a big pinch of garam masala or any other spices you want. Whisk it. Crack the eggs into the second bowl, whisk with enough milk or water to loosen slightly, and a pinch of salt. Put the breadcrumbs into the third, add salt and any other seasonings you’re using (about 1 tsp garam masala and 1 tsp dried herbs for the spiced version).

Press on the eggplant lightly and brush off any excess salt (most of it drains away with the water). Dip into flour, flip and roll around to coat it on all sides. Shake off and pat lightly to remove excess. Next, dip it in the egg mixture, flip and shake off excess (tip: use one hand only to dip into the wet ingredients and keep one dry; monster-fingers form very quickly!). Last, dip the eggplant into the breadcrumbs, patting them lightly on both sides to make sure it gets an even coat. Roll it around on its side, then shake lightly and place on a tray or platter. This can be done ahead of time – bread it all and store covered in the fridge until ready to fry.

To fry: heat up a cast-iron skillet or another pan with an inch or so of canola oil. You want it to be fairly hot but not smoking; the eggplant will cool down the oil a lot when it goes in, and if it gets too cold your eggplant will absorb tons of oil and become greasy and heavy. If it’s too hot, the breading will burn before the eggplant cooks fully. To test it, drop a little piece of the breading in. It should bubble and float right to the top. Drop the eggplant slices in gently, 4-5 at a time, so that they still have room to float around. Fry for 3-5 minutes on the first side, until golden brown, then flip and fry the other side for a few minutes. Keep moving them around and checking them to get an even brown; you might have to flip back and forth a few times. Remove to a tray lined with paper towels. Season with a little salt and pepper while still hot and cut one open to see how it’s cooked – it should be creamy, not spongy. If it’s not fully cooked, turn your oil down a bit and let them go a few more minutes, or finish in the oven.

For Spiced Eggplant Parm:

Layer fried eggplant with spiced tomato sauce (your favorite recipe, just add a teaspoon of garam masala, a knob of minced ginger and a little fresh chile with the onions and garlic), fresh mozzarella (I’m obsessed with Point Reyes Mozz right now; it’s cultured so it has a little twang and a little salt from the brine), grated parmesan cheese, and torn basil. Bake or broil until the cheese is melty. Finish with more grated parm and fresh basil.

For Summertime Eggplant Parm:

Arrange the fried eggplant on a platter, alternating with sliced fresh mozzarella and grated parm, or put a ball of burrata in the middle for an extra-special treat. Chop up a mix of heirloom and cherry tomatoes, toss with olive oil, basil, salt & balsamic and spoon over the fried eggplant and cheese. Finish with lots of fresh basil and olive oil. Totally untraditional but a really refreshing take on it, which makes sense since eggplant comes around mid-summer.

 


Stephany

Cool as a Cucurbit: Cucumbers & Melons

The cucurbits (or cucurbiticae) are a plant family that includes cucumbers, melons and gourds of many kinds. They peak in sweetness and flavor during the summertime. At Bi-Rite we’re lucky to work with a number of local farms that grow unusual heirloom varietals in this family.

A few of my favorites:

Armenian cucumbers, which are botanically considered a melon. We have been getting the ‘Painted Serpent’ varietal, which is long and snakelike, with dark and light green stripes, from Full Belly Farm, Oak Hill Farm and County Line Harvest. You can use these like the more common English cucumber. The skin is very thin and not at all bitter, and the seeds are not yet formed, so no need to peel or seed–just slice them right up. They don’t need to be rock hard; the ones that are a bit bendy will still be crisp. Armenian cucumbers will make the prettiest garnish for your summer gin and tonic.

Lemon cucumbers are small, round and yellow with large but tender seeds. They’re great for slicing into salads, and make beautiful sandwich-sized pickles. They’re lovely sliced up and dressed with a little soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar or lime juice and a pinch of sugar or honey, perhaps over some arugula or baby lettuces.

Watermelons, in mini and huge, seeded, seedless, yellow and red varietals. Orchid and Yellow Doll are two of the yellow-flesh varietals we get from Full Belly Farm. These should be picked when they are ripe and do not really keep ripening like muskmelons do. They should be firm and feel heavy for their size, although there is no surefire way to tell if they are ripe.

Muskmelons have netted skins and get very fragrant when ripe. These include cantaloupes, galia and goddess melons. These will smell very sweet and floral as they ripen, and can get a bit soft (though they shouldn’t be squishy). The more fragrant the stem end is, the sweeter the melon will be.

Recipes!

SaladGoodCucumber Melon Salad with Feta & Olives

This isn’t so much a recipe as a useful guide. Try using what you have and taste as you go. It’s a bit of a riff on a Greek salad and a wonderfully refreshing addition to a barbecue or summertime supper.

  • A mix of your favorite melons, cut into large dice. I like watermelon, galia, cantaloupe & piel de sapo or snow leopard.
  • A mix of your favorite cucumbers, diced or sliced as you like. I like Painted Serpent Armenian cukes and lemon cukes.
  • Red onion or scallions, thinly sliced. I soak the red onion after slicing in cold water for a few minutes to take the edge off, which also sets the color and prevents it from bleeding into the salad.
  • A nice feta, not too salty. Our French feta is the perfect balance of tangy and salty.
  • Kalamata or another fruity olive, pitted. I usually cut them in half, but they can be whole or cut into rings.
  • Fresh herbs. Cilantro and mint are great, but parsley, basil and chives all work. I would recommend to staying away from herbs that are too woody or heavy like thyme and rosemary. Fresh, bright herbs work better to highlight the delicate flavors in the melons. I like to chiffonade them (stack up the leaves, roll into a tight “cigar”, and slice into thin ribbons), but you could chop them or pick the leaves and toss them in whole.
  • Fresh or dried coriander seeds, toasted until fragrant and lightly crushed.
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar or lime juice
  • Salt to taste

Toss everything together in a large bowl or arrange on a platter. Dress to taste with olive oil, red wine vinegar or lime juice and salt. A sprinkle of toasted, crushed coriander seeds wakes up all of the flavors. This salad is best dressed right before serving, though you could certainly do it ahead of time.

Cucumber Raita

Really popular all over India, this is somewhere between a salad and a condiment, and I often use it as both. Awesome in the summer next to grilled meats such as lamb or chicken, or dolloped on top of a sandwich or rice bowl. Also delicious with pita or Dosa chips as a dip!

  • 1-2 cucumbers, unpeeled, shredded on a coarse grater.
  • 1 cup greek yogurt (you could use regular plain yogurt, but it will be less thick).
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • Salt, sugar, lime juice to taste.

Place the shredded cucumbers in a bowl, salt them and set aside for a few minutes. The salt will draw out the water. Squeeze as much of the water out as you can – a lot will release! Mix it up with some gin and tonic water and have yourself a cocktail, or discard. Place the drained cucumber in a bowl.

Add yogurt to drained cukes and stir. Heat up a small pan over medium to high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of neutral-flavored oil such as canola. When the oil is hot, drop in the cumin seeds. The seeds will darken in color and get really fragrant. Dump the spice oil into the yogurt mixture (this is a technique used commonly in India to quickly add lots of flavor to any dish by making a spice oil, called a tarka). Stir it around, season to taste with salt, lime juice and a pinch of sugar for balance.

Melon Agua Fresca

Again this is less of a recipe and more of guide. The proportions will vary depending on the fruit being used.

Cube up your melon and place it in a blender. Add a handful of sugar (or a squeeze of honey or agave) and cover with water. Blend until smooth. Add more sweetener to taste if necessary, or a squeeze of lime to perk it up. Super refreshing with basil or mint added!