MDF’s Icy Melon Granita

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

ICY MELON GRANITA

Our version of a childhood summer revival with a twist, a little bit more sophisticated and all grown up.  Chill out, cool down and make the most of your long hot days.  Using white and orange cantaloupe makes for a very fragrant and well-balanced combination.   The addition of basil and the spicy, salty, sweet sugars really liven up this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups white cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • curry sugar, didi’s sugars for the spicy component and for the salty and sweet component we used “martini” from go lb. salt rim-licks.
  • chiffonade of basil

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, stir the water and sugar over low heat just until the sugar melts.  Let cool completely.
  2. In a blender, puree the cantaloupe with the syrup and lime juice.
  3. Strain puree into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve, pressing through with a wooden spoon.
  4. Transfer the puree to a shallow container and place in freezer until frozen around the edges and slushy, about 30 minutes.
  5. Using a fork, stir the granita every 20 until it is completely frozen, about 1 1/2 hours.  Just before serving, fluff granita with fork.
  6. Scoop into bowls, sprinkle with curry sugar and garnish with chiffonade of basil.

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

Our good friends Liz and Aaron Eckburg own a great company, go lb salt which is a local salt bar here in Arizona and boy, do they know their stuff.  We highly recommend their website, there is a wealth of information, along with a user friendly online store,  filled with everything you could possibly need, and if that wasn’t enough they offer classes as well.   Check them out at golbsalt.  We also used another favorite resource of ours for this recipe, Didi Davis’s Food Sugar Blends.  This is a great source for all things spicy, salty and sugary, and they focus on small-batch handmade productions.  Check them out at salttraders.  So many new ways to play with your food.

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Style & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Modern Day Forager

Summertime Melon, Salchichon Salame, Local Greens with Saffron Honeydew Splash

Summertime Melon, Salchichon Salame, Local Greens with Saffron Honeydew Splash

Summertime Melon, Serrano Ham with Local Greens topped with Saffron Honeydew Drizzle by Modern Day Forager

When your local greens and produce are at the height of the season capture all their essence and get some color.  Make this super-simple fast, fresh and easy recipe.  You are sure to shine!

Summertime Melon, Serrano Ham with Local Greens topped with Saffron Honeydew Drizzle by Modern Day Forager

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Tuscan cantaloupe, cubed
  • 1/2 cup white honeydew, cubed
  • 1/2 cup yellow honeydew, cubed
  • 1 cup Asian melon, cubed
  • 2 cups Tuscano kale, chopped
  • 1 cup chard, chopped
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 head frisee lettuce, chopped (any well textured lettuce will work)
  • 1 bulb fennel, julienned
  • 1/4 pound Salchichon salame, julienned (any cured meat will work)

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Season with salt and pepper then toss.

Dressing:

  • 2 cups honeydew melon, seeded and cubed
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (neutral)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4-6 threads of Saffron
  • salt and pepper to taste

Puree honeydew in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing with a wooden spoon.

Add oil, lime juice and zest, honey, saffron, salt and pepper; whisk to combine. (my preferred method is to shake in a mason jar)
Honeydew Drizzle by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Simply Sensational Melon Sangria

 Simply Sensational Melon Sangria

Melon Sangria by Modern Day Forager

Savour the evenings or the summer sunshine while mastering the art of making this flavor-packed sangria.  This recipe is simple and will ramp up any outdoor fare, plus we’re sure you’ll be the talk of the town or your next bbq bash.

Ingredients:

2 cups mixed melons cubed (we used cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, and Juan Canary)

4 ounces of brandy (if you wont drink it don’t cook with it)

1 granny smith apple sliced

1 bottle of Riesling (cold)

3-4 drops ginger extract

pineapple and white cranberry juice to taste (Ocean Spray makes a white cranberry and peach that works great)

Directions:

Place melon in an airtight container or zip lock bag, add brandy and refrigerate for 2 to 12 hours.

In a large serving container or pitcher stir melon, apples, wine, extract and juices together

Add ice to glasses pour in sangria and spoon extra fruit on top as garnish.

(Sangria gets better with time in the refrigerator )

Melon Sangria by Modern Day Forager

Variations

Sparkly: Club soda or ginger ale

Fruity: grapes, oranges or peaches

Savory: Basil, cardamom or saffron

Boozy: Midori, fruit schnapps, more brandy

Sugary: Moscato, 1/3 cup sugar, simple syrup

Have fun with this and please share your spin on this recipe with use here in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Melon Sangria by Modern Day Forager

 

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Style & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Modern Day Forager

Selecting, Storing and Preparing

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

Every Saturday during melon season, I was asked the same question over and over;  “Could you select a melon for me?”  “How can I tell if a melon is ripe?”  “How do I store this at home?”  So let me try to arm you with the information you need.  First of all, one of the great things about shopping at your local farmers market is that most, not all, of the farmer’s at the market grew what they are selling, that being said, the melon was picked ripe, there are degrees of ripeness to be sure, but the melon is certainly eatable.  The problem comes in when the farmer or a grocery store purchases melons that have to be trucked to their final destination.

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

 Selecting Melons:

Cantaloupe – Good quality cantaloupes will have a lot of  webbing on the skin, it will have a yellow/orange color and be slightly soft on the stem end.  If the cantaloupe is not ripe enough to your liking, store at room temperature on your kitchen counter or in a loosely closed paper bag for one to two days.

Honeydew – High-quality honeydew melons should be a creamy color and the skin will almost feel waxy when ripe.  They will be somewhat firm with a bit of softness at the stem.

Watermelon – Great tasting watermelons will be firm, even-shaped and heavy for its size.  The easiest method to judge ripeness is to look at the spot where it laid on the ground, that should be a darker yellow, and the rind overall should have a healthy sheen.  Watermelons do not ripen any further once they are cut from the vine.  Most popular watermelons are round dark green or dark green striped.  The light green oval shaped are usually not as sweet and red on the inside.

Seedless Watermelon– Like seeded watermelons, seedless watermelons will be firm, evenly shaped and heavy for their size.  Remember seedless watermelons are not seedless, instead of the large black seeds; they have the small white seeds that some people consider edible.  (I do not)

Storing Your Melons:

Uncut melons can be kept at room temperature for two to four days.  Ripe melons can be refrigerated for an additional 5 days.  Cut melons should be placed in a covered container and refrigerated for no more than three to four days.

Preparing Melon:

Melons taste wonderful just as they are.  Although, we are going to play around with them this week (that’s what we do.)  We like cantaloupe sprinkled with salt and a little black pepper, the combination is amazing, wrap them in prosciutto or any cured meats, blend the flesh and add the juice to anything, perfect addition to any fruit salad. Watermelon is wonderful with salt as well, we also like honey and lime or balsamic vinegar.  Let us know your favorite way to enjoy melons and we will pass them on to our readers.

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

I hope that I was able to shed some light on the picking a melon question, please comment here or on facebook if you have any other questions on choosing a melon or any other farm fresh fair for that matter.

Melon Week on Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Melon Week (oh by the way, this is week # 9 for us)

Melon Week

Melon Week by Modern Day Forager

Celebrating the simple pleasures of summer, we are giving melons top billing this week here at Modern.  Summer melons are vibrant, fragrant, extremely versatile and bursting with fresh flavor.  Just one taste and you will sure to be hooked and stay cool all summer long with the season’s “hot” essentials.

 We have come up with a few questions we would love for you to answer

What is your favorite thing about summer?

What is your favorite summertime meal?

What are you reading this summer?

How do you stay cool and make the most out of these long hot days?

Relaxing by the pool, beach or are you having a big summer adventure?

Melon Week by Modern Day Forager

We love hearing from you, it is one of the best parts of our day.

Modern Day Forager

Peach Cardamom Crumble

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Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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We are pretty sure that you have had crumbles and cobblers before but we are guessing that you haven’t had anything like this!  We have added basil, balsamic vinegar and cardamomnot your grandma’s summertime crumble!

Peach Cardamom Crumble

Ingredients:

Base

6 white peaches, pealed and diced

2 Tablespoons loosely packed brown sugar

1 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon cardamom extract (we used lc finn’s cardamom extract)

1 teaspoon fresh chiffonade of basil

Crumble

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

1/2  teaspoon citric acid

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place peaches in a greased 9 X 13 baking dish or 6 greased ramekins. (If using ramekins place on a baking sheet) Sprinkle with brown sugar, white balsamic, cardamom extract, salt, pepper and basil. Toss to coat, set aside.

In a large bowl combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom, citric acid, salt and pepper then mix until combined. Now add softened butter and mash with a fork until crumble is formed then sprinkle over peaches.

Bake 15 minutes then rotate and bake an additional 15 minutes or until crumble is nicely browned.

You can serve immediately or at room temperature.

We love it with ice cream or a dollop of crème fraiche.

peachcrumble

Modern Day Forager

Celebrating Stone/Summer Fruits

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Summer and stone fruit go hand-in hand, so we decide to take to advantage and celebrate these fruits brimming at our farm stands and markets.  So what is a stone fruit?   Well, simply put, it is a indehiscent fruit with flesh or pulp that surrounds the stone or pit.   Indehiscent what?   Simply put, ha!  Indehiscent means that the fruit does not open or split at maturity to release seeds when ripe.   Some unusual suspects that you would not think would be in the stone fruit family are almonds, elderberries and olives.
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In preparing for all of this merry making, we carefully picked, grilled, roasted, sauteed, macerated, dried, poached, churned and pickled all of  these ripe blush pink peaches, succulent nectarines, golden rich apricots, deep tart plums and plump burgundy cherries.  We look forward to sharing some of our favorite savory and sweet recipes, along with how to select and store them.

So roll up your sleeves, get your hands on some of these mouthwatering fine drupes with all of their diversity and appeal and let the merriment begin.  Please share with us what you doing with your aromatic and fragrant beauties, we would love to hear!

Wrap Up for Tomato Week

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Make your own Bloody Mary Mix

Just in case you missed anything this week, here is a wrap up of the week for you.  We sure enjoyed bringing you a start to summer with all of our tomato recipes.  Summer means so many different things to each of us.  For Heather its all about the bounty of what the season’s gardens have to offer.  She remembers all the time spent at her grandparents, picking vegetables from their garden.  Tomatoes were always a favorite treat.  There is nothing better then the smell and taste of a fresh picked tomato.

Traci and Rj spent summers in the Midwest and have wonderful memories of homemade ice cream and great times by the lake.  Grandmothers gardens and all the wonder that it has to bring.

We thank you once again for joining us.  We loved bringing you the start to summer for us.  Have a wonderful weekend.  Please stop our Facebook page and share with us some of your favorite eats and treats from your weekend.

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Tomato Lardon Jam

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Golden & Red Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

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Fried Green Tomatoes and Classic Remoulade Sauce

Modern Day Forager

Zucchini Week Wrap Up

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Wow, what a week! We are so grateful for all the likes and comments.  We certainly had fun putting this together for you.  So if you missed anything let’s do a recap of what we did.

We started with dessert first, because life is short and needs to be savored.  So first up was Lemon Zucchini Cookies.

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With that we had a wonderful Zucchini Slaw to go with all the cookouts you will no doubt be doing very soon if not already.

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Next up was a wonderful chilled soup.  Chilled Zucchini Soup for those hot days this summer.

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We followed that up with a hummus.  Grilled Zucchini Hummus can be served warm or chilled.  And we liked it with crisp fresh vegetables or pita bread.

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And finished the week at the grill with Herbed Parmesan Grilled Zucchini.

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We had a wonderful time this week.  Please join us again next week for our new ingredient.  We are looking forward to connecting with you.  If you have had the time to make any of the recipes, please let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.  Have a wonderful weekend.  See you Monday!

Modern Day Forager

Grilled Parmesan Zucchini

zucchini-18Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

We figured since you were already grilling you might as well make another side dish.  This just jazz’s up regular grilled zucchini.

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Here is what you need for this recipe.

Grilled Parmesan Zucchini

3 medium zucchini cut lengthwise

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons oregano

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon rosemary, fine dice

salt & pepper

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat grill brush zucchini with olive oil.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of zucchini with oregano, garlic, rosemary, salt & pepper.
  3. Grill until zucchini is tender, about 4 minutes each side.
  4. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

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Thank you for joining us at the grill today!  We hope you enjoyed it.  We would love to hear from you.  You can connect with us in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

Modern Day Forager