Chill Out

Really...with this heat all I want to do is swim, stay in the air-conditioning, close all of the shutters in the house so it stays cool and eat watermelon. 

Watermelon is my friend. And so is cantaloupe and honeydew. Cold, juicy melons are mandatory summer refreshers.

Maybe you didn't know this, but I am a know-it-all when it comes to melons. Or so I think I am. I recently wrote the feature article on melons for Taste magazine's summer issue. Did you know that melons are related to cucumbers? 

In addition to doing lots of research on this sweet subject and interviewing farmers as well as produce buyers from both Whole Foods and Central Market, I submitted my story with a handful of recipes--some of which I had yet to make.

I am always inspired at the Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market as I watch so many people schlep home a big watermelon that I, too, want to come home and make something fabulous with a melon.

Yesterday, I realized it was a Popsicle day. This was especially timely because we are taking tomorrow off and enjoying a stay-cation. We're going to lounge by the pool, read a good book, cook, eat and utterly relax. For a change. It's what I have requested for my birthday, which is Tuesday. Though I am really not going to celebrate it. 

Instead, I am going to bask in the sun and the shade and do absolutely nothing. Or so I'd like to think.

And I think these Popsicles will come in very handy. 

P.S. I am always tickled when great minds think alike. As I read the Sunday New York Times Magazine a day late, I see that Popsicles are also on Mark Bittman's mind. For more Popsicle inspiration, check out his article and recipes.

Buen provecho!

Watermelon-Mint Popsicles
The Cowgirl Gourmet got this recipe from Food & Wine

Print recipe

This frozen, juicy concoction is a terrific way to cool off from the oppressive summer heat. Though it is also just as easily used as an adult beverage topped with vodka. Or you could slip some vodka into the popsicles and freeze them for a very festive dessert at your next backyard cookout. Now, doesn't that sound like fun?

Makes 8 popsicles

4 cups of cubed watermelon, with the rind removed and cut into 1" chunks
1 Tablespoon sugar or non-caloric sweetener such as Ideal, if needed
1/4 cup mint leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of Kosher salt

Taste the watermelon. If it's sweet enough, you really don't need to add any sugar. 

Place the chunks of watermelon in the blender and, if needed, add a touch of sweetener. Puree for about 5 seconds and stop. You may need to use a wooden spoon or spatula to crush the melon up a bit so it there's more juice at the bottom of the blender. 

Once it all comes together and is smooth, stop the blender and taste again for proper sweetness. Adjust, if necessary. Add the lemon zest, mint leaves and pinch of salt. Blend for another second or two just to combine.

Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze.

If you have any leftover juice (and I highly recommend that you strive for this), pour it in a glass over ice and top with a shot of vodka. Stir and garnish with a stalk of fresh mint. Walk to the nearest pool, take a dip and then a sip.

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