Saturday, August 22, 2015

Black Pepper and Honey Marinated Cantaloupe with Basil

This is the second fruit dish that was served at a recent dinner party (see below). This particular dish got the highest praises. It seems an unlikely hit but people commented on how the fruit and pepper combination worked well together. A few days after the dinner party, comments came in saying that this was a particularly memorable dish. It's definitely a keeper.

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (coarse grind better)
  • 1 cantaloupe, slightly underripe
  • 3 tbsp. basil, very thinly sliced
  • Flaky sea salt, Maldon preferred
  • Bring 1 cup of water to a boil
  • Peel, seed, and slice cantaloupe into thin slices
  • Whisk honey into boiling water and add black pepper then allow to cool
  • Place cantaloupe slices in a 9x13 baking dish
  • Add honey/water mixture and stir to coat
  • Cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight
  • Drain and discard excess syrup from the mixture
  • Sprinkle with basil and sea salt
  • Garnish with a basil sprig
Link to the original recipe is here.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Feta Stuffed Watermelon Blocks

I recently had to bring the makings for a cheese/fruit course for a dinner party. It was a very hot day and the entree was going to include cheese, so I went with a cheese/fruit course that was lighter on the cheese and more fruit forward. Rather than just put out a traditional assortment of fruit, I decided to make two different fruit "recipes" to accompany the two cheeses we did put out: A Gorgonzola and an Italian Fontina. This is one of the two fruit dishes we served to accompany the cheeses. The second, even more popular, recipe will follow.

This is a great and easy to make summertime appetizer. It is best for a hot day when watermelon can be so refreshing and invigorating. The sweet fruit along with the salty feta topped with the herbaceous basil makes for an interesting mix of flavors. It's also a unique presentation.

Pairing the appetizer with a wine can be a little challenging dealing with all of the different flavors. A Vouvray, Verdelho, or a Rose would all be good choices.

Feta Stuffed Watermelon Blocks


  • 1 3-4 lb. watermelon
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Basil leaves, very thinly sliced
  • Cut the watermelon in half and then slice 1 - 1 1/2 slices from the center.
  • Cut off the rind and cut  1 - 1 1/2 inch blocks of watermelon.
  • Using a melon baller, scoop out the top of each watermelon block.
  • Divide the feta among the melon hollows. 
  • Top each block with thinly sliced basil
Link to original recipe is here.