Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Best Ever Summertime Salad

Whatever your doing right now, stop!

Wait a second, your reading my blog, never mind, continue reading.

Let me rephrase, whatever you have planned
after you finish reading my blog, forget about it! What I want you to do instead, is to put on some comfortable shoes and take a stroll down to your local produce store. Once you are there I advise you to place in your basket a dribbling hunk of watermelon. It should be whole not diced, though you will not need an entire melon so a half will suffice. Next, I want you to head over to the tomatoes. If they have heirloom, don't be intimidated by their freakish looks, snatch them up I say. If no, that's alright, grab the ones that look the most colorful, ripe, and ready to be taken home, if you know what I mean, wink wink. Now that your two chief ingredients are secured, I invite you to finish things off with a bundle of fresh mint, a red onion, 1/4-1/2 lb. of feta cheese, and a lime.

Having completed my modest requests, and returned to your kitchen, you are now ready to make yourself the best - and I say this in all seriousness - ever summertime salad. Don't believe me? Then follow these instruction and see for yourself.

Best Ever Summertime Salad

1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes
3/4 pint of grape tomatoes (i used yellow)
2 medium sized heirloom tomatoes
4-5 quarter inch slices of water melon
1/4 lb of feta cheese
handful of mint, diced
red onion, pickled or raw
1/4 cup of good flavored olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime
sea salt to taste

1.) Cut grape tomatoes in half, grape tomatoes into thirds, and rustically dice the heirlooms
2.)Combine tomatoes and lightly squeeze to release the juices
3.) Add the remaining ingredients, minus the melon, and toss lightly
4.) Using a circular cookie cutter, cut disks out of the melon flesh
5.) Place melon disks on salad plate, poke with a fork a few times (to soak up dressing) and cover with tomato salad.
6.) Drizzle with dressing, pomegranate molasses, if you have it, and fresh pepper

There are endless ways you could serve this versatile salad. Seared scallops, grilled shrimp skewers, or ceviche
would make the perfect accompaniment. Or, serve it as an appetizer for heavier meals such a barbecue, or a refreshing counterpoint to rich Thai and Indian Curries. Then again, you could enjoy it all by its lonesome as I did after a long day out in the simmering sun of Brighten Beach.

*WARNING - Be advised, if consumed,this salad may cause an irrational and insatiable desire to eat nothing but watermelon, tomatoes and feta. All other foods may be rendered inedible, all other salads, unpalatable. The only way to cure this ravaging fever, is to eat tons and tons of The Best Ever Summertime Salad.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ignorance and Ambush

“ I’d rather not know until afterwards” declared Trish.
I was still at Kadie’s in LA, and Trish, her sister’s girlfriend, and I were sitting at the dining room table discussing icky foods.
“Really?” I asked astonished, “ I don’t agree at all.”
We both agreed that mental attitude, coupled with a culturally established palate are the two main constituents contributing to the likes and dislikes of certain foods. For example, it took me a few years of wine drinking to find my taste for stinky cheeses, and though when sober, I find it hard to stomach the idea of eating steak or tuna tartar, after a glass or two of wine I actually quite enjoy it. But more specifically, Trish and I were debating the best way to challenge these unfounded food objections. Is it better to be aware that you are eating the loathed food, or ignorant of it?
“ I would rather know what it was that I was eating, even if it was something I deemed gross” I insisted.
Kadie, who was getting ready for dinner and simultaneously ease dropping on the conversation interjected with a shout from her bedroom, “I say, ignorance is bliss!”
Validated, Trish continued
“What if you were about to eat tongue, how would you keep an opened mind if you knew it was tongue?” she asked pursing her lips and twisting her head to the side clearly repelled by the thought.
I thought about the first time I laid eyes on that gray, dry, grainy looking organ sitting on the counter beside the pastrami at the kosher deli were we would get sandwiches when I was a child.
“ Do people really eat that?” I asked my mother with an equal measure of revulsion and delight. My mother looked at the undesirable meat, then tugged me along, clearly disgusted and annoyed.
Trish sat patiently awaiting her answer.
“ Easy,” I said with a smile, “booze.” We both laughed.
As we got ready for dinner, Korean BBQ, I thought about our conversation. Was there ever a time that I unknowingly ate something I though was icky? I suppose so, the first time I ate Caesar Salad I had no idea the dressing had anchovies in it - an ingredient that I had never tasted but was certain I’d abhor. Once I learned about the anchovies it was too late, I had already developed a liking for Caesar Salad; there was no going back. Perhaps Trish and Kadie had a point.

All seven of us, including two friends who had just finished the AIDS ride from San Fransisco, rolled up to the restaurant starving only to find that we were in for a long wait.
“Great, we are going to wait all this time, then when we finally get a table we are going to have to cook the food ourselves, sounds like a scam to me,” I said to Trish, jokingly.
“Man, this is gonna suck!” she replied.
I couldn’t tell if she was joking.

Three quarters of an hour later we sat down at our table and within moments the waitress was unloading tiny dishes of food otherwise known as banchan. These are the tiny side dishes that accompany the meats and rice. Kadie pointed out some of the banchan and explained.
“This is Kimchi, fermented and pickled vegetables, this is tripe, steamed cow intestine…that one,” she pointed at a brown gelatin substance, “I don’t really know what that is.”

After the previous conversation, I felt it was my duty to try at least one of the two substances. I pulled a tiny piece of tripe onto my plate, dipped it in the provided sauce and bit in. It didn’t taste pungent at all, like I expected. It was chewy like squid yet more textured. Though it tasted just fine, when I was done with my piece I happily moved on to the kimchi, after all, it wasn't INTESTINE.

Before long the waitress was delivering platters of beef, chicken, shrimp, and a thinner brisket type of beef. The grill in the middle of the table sizzled as we threw the meats on, followed by fresh garlic cloves and jalapenos peppers. It was a blissful frenzy of eating and grilling, grilling and eating. Empty banchan plates were cleared and new ones were set down, including a savory flan like dish, and a beef and quail egg soup.
“ Here Madeline, would you like some more of the thin beef or the thick on?” asked Kadie’s mother as she unloaded the grill.
“I’ll take some of the thin one, I like that one better.”
She slid some onto my plate and the frenzy continued.
“You know that isn’t beef.” Kadie said from the other side of the table, “its tongue. One of the meats on the all you can eat is marinated tongue and that’s it,” she said pointing to my plate.
I stopped chewing for a moment, and turned to face Trish who was now laughing. My chopstick was frozen midway in its journey to my now silent jaws. I swallowed the tongue that was currently in my mouth, “ well I guess I like tongue then,” I confessed before popping the next juicy morsel into my mouth.

Ignorance in this case, or The Ambush Method as I now like to call it, evidently worked better than the informed method. I only sampled one tiny piece of tripe, were as I eat heaps, and I mean heaps, of tongue. Its hard to say what the result would have been if the methods had been reversed, would I have only eaten a tiny piece of tongue if I had known what it was, would I have eaten a tone of tripe if I had though that it was squid? All I can say is that, though I am hooked on Korean style marinated tongue and will probably be ordering it in the future, I don’t think I will be ordering a tongue sandwich at the Kosher deli anytime soon.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Going With The Grain - Too Lazy Wheat Berry Salad

I have been trying to get into cooking with different types of grains. So, when I was hungry yesterday, and feeling too lazy to go to the store, I forage through my pantry for something yummy to cook and what do you think I found, Wheat Berries.

I have eaten them a few times at the Gringe Hall (sigh) and really enjoyed them, but since the restaurant closed I have not given the grain another thought. I decided to make Heidi Swanson's recipe for Wheat Berry Salad that I had been wanting to make for a while now. I flung open Her cookbook, Super Natural Cooking and checked out the ingredients.

2 cups of Wheat Berries
2 teaspoons of Sea Salt
Grated Zest of 1 orange
I opened the fridge, gave it the once over, and found no orange colored citrus inside.
I'll just use a lemon,
1 table spoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 table spoon of minced shallots
will a Vedalia Onion do?
1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive oil
3 hanfulls of spinach
I checked the fridge once more and sure enough, no spinach. How about broccoli?
1 cup of toasted pine nuts
I'm sure slived almonds will do,
1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese
One more time, the fridge door swung open...
I couldn't believe it, I had no cheese in the house!

As it turns out I was unable to make Heidi's Wheat Berry Salad due to the fact that I only had two of the nine ingredients needed. Instead I made my own Wheat Berry Salad, inspired by Heidi's. I guess the moral of the story here is, always be ready to improvise with a recipe when you are feeling like too much of a slug to go to the grocery store. You know, laziness is the mother of invention...

Too Lazy to Leave The House Wheat Berry Salad

1 cup of Wheat Berries
3 cups of water
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 stalk of broccoli, lightly steamed and chopped
1/2 vedalia onion diced
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1/4 cup of sesame oil
1/4 cup of slivered almonds
1 teaspoon of sea salt
splash of balsamic

Combine Wheat Berries, water and salt in a large sauce pan and heat over a med-high flame.
Bring to a boil the reduce flame and simmer, covered, until berries become plump - about 45 min.
Drain the wheat berries and toss withe the rest of the ingredients.

(If I wasn't so lazy I would have also added roasted grape tomatoes and feta cheese. YUM.)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My One Night Stand with Elat

For some, grocery shopping is a real drag, for others it is a tolerable chore. There are those for which going to the market is a competitive sport - you know the one; that little old granny in the muumuu who wields her shopping cart like a bumper car driver on a crack induced rampage. In stark contrast, there is Francine Prose who, in her essay for Saveur Magazine entitled Religion Found, describes grocery shopping as a religious experience fully stocked with ample opportunities for spiritual enlightenment. For Francine, the grocery store is no battleground, rather the hardy soil from which the conscious may rise, and from which our humanity flowers. Of course grocery shopping is all of those wonderful things, but for me, there is only one experience to which I can compare food shopping and that’s love.

When I passed through the front door of Elat Market on Pico Blvd in Beverly Hills, I knew instantly what I was feeling was special. Somewhere between the entranceway and the hustle and bustle of the inside, a yearning gurgled up inside me. I stood back and, as with a new lover, I ran my eyes across every crevice of the produce and dry goods sections, mapping out future destinations.

It is not always love at first sight. Crowded aisle ways, disorganized produce, and lecherous staff members are all details that have cast the ugly shadow of uncertainty upon past potentials. ‘Is this really the market I see myself shopping in?’ I have ask myself with unease as I pondered how to retrieve the bottle of Sicilian olive oil from an obscenely high shelf. The freezer door that used to stick on aisle 9, yeah it was sort of cute to begin with, ‘but what about two or three years from now,’ I asked myself one morning while gazing hopelessly at the rows of neatly stacked bags of Cascadian Farms Organic Berries. When I find myself asking these types of questions, I do what my mother always advised me to do and I listen to my instincts. Usually, with time and patience I discover weather or not a store’s assets are worth overlooking its shortcomings.

My experience with Elat was something entirely different. The instant I entered the store I stumbled upon one of its gaping flaws, but instead of feeling doubtful, I felt intrigued, interested, and incredibly excited.

Grasping my oversized shopping cart, I hesitated on the perimeter of the congested produce section. The drawbacks were evident; navigation was not going to be an easy feat. Along the left side of the two aisles, shoppers had stashed their carts bumper-to-bumper like parked cars lining the sidewalk. There were no immediate spaces available so I waited, patiently. But three or four minutes later there was still no parking! ‘Should I plow right through?’ I questioned after watching an old man do just that. Just as I was about to abandon my perch and follow him down the rabbit hole, an old woman began scolding him mercilessly and she didn’t stop until he had cowered back to the other side of the invisible boundary that separated us from the Elysian Fields of fruits and vegetables. I waited two more minutes only to lose my opportunity to a tenacious old lady who pushed right passed the both of us and entered the aisle without obstruction.

Clearly there were unspoken rules in effect, and even clearer was the fact that I had no clue what those rules were. I returned my shopping cart and grabbed a basket and, in the name of love, dived courageously into the mix. I leaned right, I hopped left, and I stepped on many a foot in between. These women meant business! Wading threw the herd was at once an intricate dance, as well as a barreling game of chicken, a kind of masochistic game of hard to get if you will. The only way I was going to make it to the other end of the aisle was to fane confidence; if they sensed fear, it was all over.

There were no hellos, no excuse mes, no sorry for running over your foot with my very heavy shopping carts, and seemingly no peripheral vision. What I did find however was a momentary ebb in the surging stream of graceless bodies and like a thirty-year old finding their place in the cosmos, I took mine in this tiny but heavenly universe. With a grin on my face, I filled my basket with cabbage, mint, and strawberries. This was the honeymoon period. That point in a relationship when you have established a mutual affection and you can sail along for some time unhindered by the lurking past.

For Elat and I however, the future was looming. Once the immediate task was complete, I would move on, the flow of brawny woman would continue, and we would never see each other again. I held a bunch of lemon basil to my nose and took a whiff. It smelled like summer, and even here in California, the seasons don’t stand still.
When I was done with the produce section, I moved on to new sections, and new discoveries. They had canisters of halva, bags of dried flowers for cooking, Tamarind Paste, Saffron, Cardamom, and Rose Water Ice Cream, freshly baked challah and pita breads, they even had a music section. By the time I had made my way to the check out counter, I had learned a crucial lesson about companionship, you don’t have to overlook the flaws of your beloved grocery store in order to find love because, love means embracing those flaws, relishing them, and in my case mourning their imminent loss.

I suppose Francine’s depiction of grocery shopping as a spiritual experience, isn’t all that fare from my idea of it as love. Love has the potential to lift us up above all of the faults and defects of this life in order that we might realize the divinity housed in each and every imperfection. Simply put, love makes us better people, even when it is love of a grocery store.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Giant (Coffee) Robots...

Imagine my delight when I saw the sign for The Giant Robot Store while driving around in LA.
Now imagine my disappointment when I discovered that Giant Robots did not house any Coffee Robots, because they did not in fact stock any Robots at all.

Instead they had novelty items like this plastic, brown, square monster thing eating some weird looking cookies.

What kind of a sick joke is that anyway?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New York Ingredients

While still in California, I passed by this banner on Pico Blvd and it made me wonder; what exactly is Brooklyn cheese and Queens tomatoes?

It's My First

There is a first time for everything...

A saying that perfectly sums up my past weekend. Friday morning, bright and early, I dragged my sleepy bones from the comfort of my bed and headed for Newark Airport. My destination? For the last thirty years, when speaking about the United States I have always been able to say, almost braggingly, that I have never been farther west than Missouri. To me, the North West, Mid-West, South West and West Coast have remained a fictional mosaic, depicted haphazardly through pop songs, movies, books, and TV shows. My reference point for the state of Wisconsin, sadly enough, is That Seventies Show, for San Francisco, Hitcock’s Vertigo, and LA, TV shows 90210, or more recently Girlfriends (pretty sad I know.)

The plane ride was long, the food barely consumable, and the legroom…well lets just say, once I dropped my pen on the floor it may as well have fallen into a black whole cause there was no chance of me reaching down to retrieve it. When we landed in LAX and I stepped foot off the plane, my heart fluttered wildly, this NYC born peasant had finally made the vital pilgrimage to her West Coast Sister City and State, Los Angeles California.

Within hours of my arrival my good friend Kadie was shuffling me and a whole posy of family and friends to my first ever Baseball Game.
I can’t say that this was my first hot dog, but it was the first ever consumed at Dodger’s Stadium.

That night, while celebrating Kadie’s thirtieth birthday, we ran out of booze and I bought my first ever bottle of Champagne at a Mobil gas station. Can’t do that in NY now can you?

The next day was punctuated by a whole assortment of first. I went to Venice beach for the first time; I went to the Getty for the first time.
What can I say? After visiting the garden, and taking in breath-taking views of the City we were tired and thirsty, so instead of seeing the art, we opted for corona and salt and vinegar chips in the shaded beer garden.

That afternoon I had Pinkberry for the first time. Yes, I know we have Pinkberry on the East Coast but the army of Tasty Delights that clutter every other street corner pretty much eclipse the presence of the one or two NYC Pinkberries.
That evening we ended with yet another first, Korean Barbeque. This dining experience was so unlike any other I have ever had, that I will have to elaborate on it in appropriate detail in future posts.
I still have two days left of my vacation, and I can imagine countless other firsts to encounter. Once I return I will have my first opportunity to say that I have in fact traveled to the West Coast, and that it has awakened in me, for the first time, an almost compulsive desire to conquer an endless number of firsts. Perhaps I will try eating mountain rat in China, cricket tacos in Mexico, cow intestines in Korea, or maybe I will finally try that African restaurant around the corner from my apartment. The world houses infinite possibilities for first time experiences and it’s about time I began I pursuing them all with an undying passion.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Just wanted to check in and let you all know that I have not been abducted by aliens. Nor have I joined a Tibetan Monastery, or the Peace Corp. And no, I did not get a hospital bound case of food poisoning from my Mexican Style Peanuts - for if I had you better believe that I would be keeping you abreast of my culinary experiences while in custody!
The reason I have been AWOL is that I am visiting a friend who, first of all has no wireless service, and second of all has an IBM which I am desperately and unsuccessfully trying to down load pictures to. But fear not, I have many wonderful food adventurous to tell you of, and tomorrow I will be heading straight for closest Internet cafe after I finished my morning cup, promise.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mexican Style Chile and Lime Peanuts

In Mexico you can buy roasted peanuts in little sacks, many of them already seasoned with lime, and garlic. My favorite thing to do is to cover them with fresh lime juice and picante sauce (hot sauce.) The scorched peanut skins soak up all the juice, and spice and cling to the nuts holding in all the flavor. They, of course, go wonderfully with cold beer, but also would work well as an appetizer, or accompanying a salad or entree. Here is my attempt to recreate this zesty snack.

Mexican Style Chile and Lime Peanuts

2 cups of raw peanuts (with skins)
2 limes
1-2 Chilies (or more to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
handful of fresh mint chopped

  1. In a large skillet toast peanuts and Chile over a med-high heat, tossing continually so not to burn. 5-8 min.
  2. Turn the flame on low and add olive oil and salt. Toss nuts around until evenly coated in oil and salt.
  3. Turn off flame and remove Chilies. Squeeze lime juice over nuts and stir as the juice evaporates, scraping the bottom of the pan.
  4. Chop roasted Chilies until very fine.
  5. Place peanuts in a decorative bowl and mix in mint and Chilies.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Great Expectations and Bad Luck Chololate Chip Cookies

Expectation kills joy

Three simple words that make so much sense, yet I continually fail to remember the discerning implication behind them. Instead I end up seduced by my own expectations only to be immediately let down by life's inhospitable truths.

I had just survived the fifth of a six night stretch of busy bartending shifts, and was already making plans for my day off. What was on the menu? Well, I had been wanting to take a day trip to the Fairway Supermarket in Red Hook - apparently a foodie haven stocked with fresh produce, organic meats, artisan cheeses, and a vast collection gourmet wares. I also had an overwhelming hankering to jump on my bike and head straight for Brighten Beach where I could soak up some much needed sun and enjoy fresh peaches from one of the Russian markets along Brighten Beach Avenue. ' I don't see why I can't do both,' I naively thought to myself as my practical anticipation swelled voraciously into unrealistic expectation. Did I mention that I also had plans to go see live Samba with some friends that night in Manhattan?

At the end of night six, as I walked the half mile home from the train station in torrential rains, sadly it dawned on me, 'its going to rain on my day off!' The next morning I woke to an even unhappier fate, I was sick. There was to be no beach, no Fairway, and no Samba for me. Instead, with an achy body, I spent the day alone in my hammock (yes I have a hammock in my apartment) watching the rain wreak havoc right out my window.
My bad fortune only increased as the day went on, one of the highlight being slicing my finger while making a turkey sandwich. With my bloody finger cleaned and bandaged I decided to forgo the sandwich; if my luck was going to turn around, I was going to need some hardcore comfort food.

I flipped through some recipe books and settled on Heidi Swanson's Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from her Book Super Natural Cooking. As I readied the ingredients I was taken with a false sense of hope, 'things are looking up' I thought to myself.
Once the dough was ready I scooped it onto the cookie sheets and with juvenile delight tossed them in the oven. Ten minutes and my luck boosting chocolate chip cookies would be ready.

As I cleaned the kitchen I suddenly smelled a familiar smell, and it wasn't pleasant. I raced to the stove.

I couldn't believe it! They had only been in the oven for five of the ten minutes, what did I do wrong? I went over all the steps in my head and only realized what went wrong when I glanced down at the stove.
OMG, I broiled the cookies!
I could have let this discourage me. I could have taken it as a sign that my luck was not going to improve but instead I took it as a sign that I should never again place such high expectation on a day off. I still had one more batch, I would give it one last try and be happy, whatever the results.
The final batch came out perfect and as I swung in my hammock devouring the wonderfully gooey morsels I thought about those three words. Is it true that in order experience joy we must first discard any existing expectations? It seemed like foolish solution. Yes, it is true that my lofty plans had made it nearly impossible for me to enjoy a modest day of relaxation that otherwise might have been heavenly. Then again, if i had not been disappointed with my day I would not have thought to make cookies.
Perhaps we should allow ourselves expectations only, keep in mind that having high hopes does not ensure a desired result. Perhaps that is what makes life, and Chocolate Chip Cookies, so exciting.

nice when you can smell chocolate chip cookies, and they are not coming from someone else's apartment.

Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups - whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup - Mesquite flour (I used another cup of whole-wheat)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of aluminum free baking powder
1 cup of unsalted butter at room temp
2 cups of cane sugar (I used 1 1/2)
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
2 cups of rolled oats
2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line two baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat butter until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in sugar, then add eggs one at a time.
  5. Stir in Vanilla then add the dry ingredients in three batches.
  6. By hand mix in oats and chocolate chips.
  7. Drop 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie onto the baking sheet 2 inches apart and bake, not broil, them for about ten minutes or until light brown.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Sweet Talkin' Summer Essentials

I don’t know about you, but when the temperature rises above 90 degrees I don’t even want to look at the stove. Salad, cold soup, slaw, sorbet, and anything else that does not require additional heat are my summertime essentials. That is why yesterday I set out across Brooklyn to pay a visit to a little produce shop called, Atlantic Fruit and Veg. Japanese grocery.
There is nothing remarkable about this little market accept for the fact that it is always well stocked with handsomely ripe fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and what seems like an endless supply of un-bruised Arugula.
The day was hot, but there was a misleading breeze that lulled me gently into an uninhibited state and with my i-pod blasting Leningrad, the Russian ska/punk/klezmer version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, I skipped down the street to the pounding beat, giving fellow pedestrians the impression that I had lost my mind. Once I arrived, having literally hopped across Brooklyn, my little Japanese fruit Market appeared like a colorful mirage, an edible rainbow composed of radiant fruits all of which were screaming out to be eaten.
The watermelon was particularly inviting and well, I don't know about you, but I have never been able to say no to a nice looking watermelon.
The cherries, having clearly been heavily picked through earlier that day, were expressly calling out for asylum. I picked out as many acceptable ones as I could find, I could put them in my morning yogurt.
Unlike their Florida counterpart, these Haitian mangoes were too busy suffering from culture shock to feel threatened by the legendary Alphonso Mango.
These rowdy Florida Mangoes on the other hand, accosted me as I entered the store. "Come on guys, did I not buy enough of you last week?" I tried reasoning with them, but their silent guilt-trip pulled just the right strings. I suppose I could make some sorbet. 'I better get out of here before I get sweet talked into buying anything else' I thought to myself as I ran for the register.
Here are a few of the concoctions I came up with.
Cabbage, Carrot, and Apple Slaw tossed in an
Unruly Mango Ginger Cilantro Dressing
garnished with crushed Spanish peanuts
1 cup - Mango puree
1 Tbsp- Sesame oil
1 Tbsp- shredded ginger
1 Tbsp - Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tsp - Pomegranate Molasses or Honey
juice of one lime
salt and pepper to taste

Chilled Cucumber and Watermelon Soup
1 seedless cucumber diced
1/4 of a med sized seedless watermelon diced
2 Tbsp - shredded ginger (alright, so I'm crazy about ginger)
1/2 cup - chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp - Cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp of yogurt or cream
salt and pepper to taste

1.) in a food processor, puree the cucumber and melon, holding aside 1 cup of diced melon
2.) mix in all other ingredients minus the yogurt
3.) Chill for at least an hour
4.) Mix in yogurt or cream when ready to serve
Mango Sorbet
compliments of David Lebovitz's masterpiece, The Perfect Scoop

2 large, ripe Mangoes
2/3 cup - sugar
2/3 cup - water
4 tsp - freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon of dark rum (I used ginger infused vodka)
pinch of salt

1.) peel mangoes and cut out flesh and cut into chunks
2.) Puree in blender with sugar, water, lime juice, rum, and salt
3.) Chill mixture, them freeze according to your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions