Sunday, July 5, 2009

Slow Travel Sunday Salad Samplers # 11 (7/5/09): Watermelon Salad

This week's selection was made by Nancy, A Winelover's Wonderings. Nancy selected a Watermelon salad to coincide with the 4th of July weekend. Although I wasn't able to make it yesterday, I love watermelon and was excited to try one of her recipes today. Btw, everyone's salad looks very delicious this week.

Nancy was so kind to test several recipes, posted them on her blog and then gave us the option to make our own selection. She also posted this great link,, for more recipes.

I decided to follow her third test recipe. It was so easy to make and very delicious. A really wonderful summer salad. Annie posted a tip on Nancy's thread on Slowtalk about soaking the red onion in the lime juice for about 30 minutes, which she said would mellow out the onion and provide a tangy taste. Great tip! The only thing I forgot to buy was some watercress, which the recipe called for but my mistake didn't seem to distract from the wonderful flavor of this salad. Thank you so much Nancy for all the wonderful Watermelon Salad recipes. I will definitely make this salad again and also give the other recipes a whirl too.

Here's Nancy's recipe and easy to follow instructions:

I "practiced" with several different recipes for Watermelon Salad. I am going to give you the various lists of ingredients and let you make a decision on which to choose. My favorite is the last one with the full recipe.

My first "test" had the following ingredients:
Watermelon - Cut into bite-sized cubes or balls
Cherry Tomatoes
Red Onion - Sliced very thinly
Kalamata Pitted Olives - I left them whole
Feta Cheese - Flavored or not
Chopped Basil
Olive Oil - Not a lot

My second "test" had the following ingredients:
Watermelon - Cut into bite-sized cubes or balls
Red Onion - Sliced very thinly
Kalamata Pitted Olives - This time I cut them in half
Feta Cheese - Flavored or not
Chopped Cilantro on this one
Olive Oil - Not a lot

Is the third time a charm? We shall see. Ingredients were:
Watermelon - Cut into bite-sized cubes or balls
Red Onion - Sliced very thinly
Kalamata Pitted Olives - About 10 olives chopped
Feta Cheese - Flavored or not
Basil & Mint - Chopped
Watercress - About a cup
Lemon Juice - To taste

Blue Watermelon Walnut Salad

Makes 6-8 servings.

For the walnuts:
1 cup walnut pieces or halves
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce

For the reduction:
2 cups inexpensive balsamic vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 sprig fresh rosemary

For the Salad:
3 or 4 ounces fresh baby greens
2 seedless oranges, peeled and sectioned
4 cups seedless watermelon cubes
2 cups seedless grapes, halved
2 cups fresh, trimmed and sliced strawberries
1 cup crumbled blue cheese

Heat the walnuts in a seasoned wok or heavy non-stick sauté pan over medium for a minute and stir in the sugar and soy sauce. Adjust heat to prevent burning while constantly stirring the nuts until the sugar melts. Continue to stir and cook until the nuts begin to stick and the mixture is getting sticky. Spread the nuts over a sheet of waxed or parchment paper and cool. Break apart into small pieces and crumble. Set aside.

Heat the vinegar in a heavy non-corrosive saucepan over medium heat and stir in sugar. Continue to stir and adjust heat to bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the rosemary sprig to the pan. Continue to simmer until the contents of the pan reduces by 1/2 its original volume. Set aside.

Divide the greens among 6 or 8 salad plates and arrange the orange sections, watermelon, grapes and strawberries over the greens. Drizzle the balsamic syrup over the fruit and the cheese crumbles over that. Top with the candied walnut pieces and serve.


  1. Kathy, yours looks great! The watermelon is such a pretty red color. I agree, I too want to try some of the other recipes too while watermelon is in season.

    I saw on TV that Stevie Wonder is going to sing at Michael's service on Tuesday. That will be wonderful. I wonder what he will sing?

    Hope you've had a great holiday weekend!

  2. Kathy,

    Your salad looks delicious! Don't you just love watermelon and feta cheese combination?

  3. Me again. Just noticed your photo of the month. Wow! Stunning image. I love the colors and reflections. Looks very summery too, perfect for the month of July photo.

  4. Hi Annie,thanks for your comments. Yes, that watermelon sure is red, so sweet too. I would also like to try the recipe with the wallnuts and oranges and there were a couple of other ones on that website that looks really good too.

    That's great that Stevie will be singing tomorrow. It would be nice if he could sing Heal the World or something similar to represent all the charity work that Michael did during his life. I saw on VH1 last night that Madonna did a tribute to Michael Jackson at her London concert this past weekend which was really cool. She was always a strong supporter of him. They are trying to tell people that if they don't have an entrance band to the tribute not to go to the Staples center but I think there will be thousands that might show up. I'll be at work but will be taping it so I can watch it when I get home.

    I had a great 4th of July! Luckily I took a few hours off this morning to recover a bit. It seems the longer the time off the harder it is to get back to work. :)

    I hope you had a great 4th of July too! I bet you had a wonderful holiday. Thanks again for your comments and have a great day today!

    Hi Candi, thanks for your comments. Yes that combination of flavors was excellent. First time I've tried a watermelon salad like this and I loved it. I will have to try the one you made as well. I like the added fruit and walnuts.

    Glad you liked my photo of the month. I thought of it since I had posted my pink house for PH. I was very close to picking a photo from the beach in the CT after seeing your Vernazza photo! Maybe next month! :) Thanks again for your comments and have a great day today.

  5. Hi Kathy, glad to hear you had a great 4th of July!! I so love the sound of this recipe. We don't have local watermelon available yet, but in another month or so I'll be giving this a try.

    Have a great week!!

  6. Hi Anne, when you get your watermelons, this is a delicious and simple recipe to try.

    The fourth of July holiday was especially nice this year because it landed on a weekend. Didn't have to worry about work the next day. :)

    Thanks so much for your comments. Have great day today.

  7. Kathy, I know what you mean about it being hard to get back in the groove after a long holiday weekend. I had a great one and it actually got a little bit cooler around here which was nice.

    "Heal the World" would be an awesome choice! I wish I could take the day off to watch it but I figure they will be re-running it tomorrow night. I saw that Madonna did a tribute to him and also saw a story about how the website got like 5 million hits for those wrist-bands and the site crashed! It's going to be crazy in LA tomorrow, I bet.

    And I too LOVE your photo of the month! I'd love to know more about the photography class you mentioned in your PhotoHunt comments; I'd like to take one sometime myself.

    And I read about the opening night of the Idol tour on Brenda's blog and in USA Today which had the complete set-list. Sounds so good (esp. Adam doing the David Bowie medley!).

    Hope you're having a great Monday!

  8. Hi Annie, I'm glad that the weather cooled off for you, just in time for the long weekend. I bet it made being outdoors more fun.

    I have to remember to set my VCR (hope I don't mess up). I actually have to drive by way of the fwy pass the exits for the Staple center to get to work. I plan on leaving at least 30 minutes earlier than usual because I think the traffic will be overhwelming tomorrow. Most likely people will be headed there early in the morning. I think it'll get crazy here too.

    Thanks for your comments about my photo. I've taken classes through a local Photography store where I live called Paul's photo. He is a professional photographer and also owns that store. And he has night classes to offer working people that want to learn to take better pictures. For class, he gives out assignments then we have to all print our photos which are then shown in class and we discuss them. He's very honest but gentle with his critique and teaches us how to make our photos better. I actually might sign up for another class to learn how to take landscapes and improve taking photos under different lighting conditions(my weak point). I had a really hard time taking photos in the Alhambra because I didn't know how to adjust for the dim lighting. It's really fun seeing other peoples compositions too when we are going through our assignments.

    You take great photos Annie. One of the things you have is a great sense of detail to observe the not so obvious and that is a huge talent for a photographer. Having a unique perspective.

    I think I enjoy the classes because it helps me to think like that and also to improve the technical side a little bit. For every one descent photo I take there is probably about 50 or more bad ones! :)

    I read Brenda's blog too and it sounds like Adam is a big hit on the tour. I found his David Bowie performance here.

    Thanks again Annie. And now I'm off to work for a meeting. I like these short days for work! :) Have a good one!

  9. Kathy, thanks so much for the Adam link! He is so awesome!

    I can't believe that you will be driving so close to the Staples Center. I hope you didn't get stuck in a big traffic jam. I think it's going to be a beautiful memorial for him and can't wait to see some of it tonight.

    Your photography class sounds great and sounds just like what I'd like to find. I'm going to see if there is something similar around here. Like you, I'd love to know more about low light situations and other technical tricks.

    Thanks so much for saying I'm a good photographer. Truth is, I'm a lucky photographer, ha ha! I really don't know much at all. And I'm like you, for every decent photo I delete a ton of bad or boring ones! That is one thing that is so great about digital vs. film.

    I think you said one time that you travel with both a SLR and a point-and-shoot camera? Right now, I only have a point-and-shoot but I'm toying with the idea of getting some kind of basic, user-friendly SLR. I don't know if I'd travel with it (since I like to travel very light) but it would be nice to have a better camera to take photos of my cats, the nephews etc.

    Thanks so much for sharing the info about your class, you've got me inspired to find one too.

  10. Hi Annie, my plan to leave work earlier worked like a charm. Got to work at 6:20 and had no traffic at all. A friend of mine took today off to watch the memorial. She told me that Mariah Carey, Elizabeth Taylor and possibly even more big time celebrity friends of Michael will be attending the memorial service today. I had one last empty VHS, popped it in the VCR and set it to record (hope it works). I really should get a DVR… I can’t wait to watch the highlights and hopefully my tape tonight too.

    It would be cool if you can find a similar class. I’ve taken a couple of one night classes and also his six week course and I just really find it interesting and fun. He also runs photography travel classes where you go and take photos. He went to Prague, Yosemite and this year he had a group to Africa. I’d like to one day do one of his travel classes. However, they are really expensive and I’d have to save up for it. :) Annie, you take great photos and you really have a great eye for your subjects. And I also like how your photos tell a story. A friend keeps telling me to join this thing where you take a photo each day and post it on Flicker and then people make comments. It’s supposed to help improve your photography and compositions by getting feedback. That would be fun to try, but right now I can’t find the time. Once a week like for Photo Hunt is perfect for me right now. I really enjoy that a lot.

    Its interesting but even my teacher tells us that for every perfect shot he takes there could be maybe a hundred not so good shots. And he said that exact same thing you said about digital cameras. Unlike film, you can take hundreds of photos and also view and delete the ones you don’t want until you capture the shot you want.

    I do travel with both an SLR and a Point and Shoot. It’s a real challenge to have to carry the extra load and sometimes I almost don’t want to bother. But the one advantage of an SLR is the ability to change lens and have more control on your settings. I have a travel lens that can go from wide angle to zoom without changing and it is a great advantage to have that. I’m still learning about the aperture/F-Stop and all that other stuff to help improve my control. That is my weak point! :) I like to bring my point and shoot camera for when I go out and don’t want to lug a big camera. I think you take awesome photos without an SLR. However, when you do decide to get one you will be amazed at the advantages offered by it. I think Nikon and Canons have great SLR selections to choose from. I have a Nikon D70 and D40x. I found the D70 too heavy so I got the D40x which is much lighter for when I travel.

    Your camera lens will totally love your wild child Maria, Lulu and your cute nephews as subjects.

    I’m glad to hear that you got inspired Annie. I think it would be great if you can find a class too and when you do I think you would totally enjoy it!

    Have a great day today Annie and enjoy watching the tape of the memorial service tribute tonight.

  11. Hi Kathy, thanks so much for all the camera info. I have a friend who has a Nikon D40 and she said that she often uses it just like a point-and-shoot (on auto settings) and her photos are great. And that is cool to know that you have a travel lens (I guess that means you don't have to haul quite as much stuff when you travel).

    And I hope that your VCR worked and you were able to watch the memorial last night. I thought it was absolutely beautiful with so much great music and an emphasis on his charity work (like you wished for) and just so moving. Truly heart-breaking when his little daughter spoke. I really wish the best for those kids and hope that the media will give them some breathing room. I remember that Princess Diana got the British media to stay away from her boys until they were 18 and really hope the American media will do the same for these kids (but they probably won't!).

    Hope you're having a great Wednesday!

  12. Hi Annie, I like the D40. It takes great photos and is very light. The battery life is excellent too. The auto setting is excellent.

    I actually snuck a peek at Michael's memorial service during work just in time for Paris' heartbreaking words. Of course I cried like a baby. The good news is the other three people who were in the conference room with me were also in tears. I think his daughter's words, Brooke Shields and Jermaine singing Smile were the moments that got to me the most. I agree with you that it was a really beautiful memorial service and I was actually surprised that the family brought his casket to the public service. I thought that was very generous of the family to allow his fans to participate in paying their last respects.

    And as you said I really do hope that the media leaves the kids alone like they did when Princess Diana died.

    Thanks for your comments Annie. Have a great day today. Should be almost done for you. :)

  13. Kathy, I peeked in from work too but I don't have speakers on my work computer so I could see but not hear. Glad that CNN recapped it so thoroughly that night.

    I cried too, several times. Agree with you that Brooke Shields and Jermaine were wonderful. I too was surprised that they brought the casket there but it seemed very appropriate. The song that Usher sang (Gone Too Soon) really said it all. It seems that in a few weeks we'll find out that it was an accidental overdose that didn't have to happen and that is SO sad!

    But I'm happy to see that his songs and albums are selling so well. That will get his estate out of debt which will be good for those kids in the future.

    It's still hard to believe he's really gone.

    I'm glad that you were able to beat the traffic that day. I bet that living in LA is very interesting at times like this!

    Take care and Happy Thursday!

  14. Hi Annie, not sure if you'll see this, but I read Brenda's blog about Adam's performances at the Portland concert and after reading it I remembered finding this youtube video so I posted it on my comments to her. It's an interesting clip and am hoping you'll see this and get a chance to watch it too.

    It sort of demonstrates the star power of Adam. This is an autograph session and you can see some of the idols in the foreground with the fans, but as soon as Adam walks in the fans go nuts and almost looks past the other idols. Makes me believe that Adam is the Tour's biggest big draw to the concerts ...Here's a case where being number 2 doesn't hurt at all! :)

    Have a good day today! Hope you see this...

  15. Hi Annie, I think we were writing at the same time. :)

    Yes, Usher singing Gone too soon was very moving and I think that was one of the few times that I noticed that the sisters also got up to greet the speaker/singer. I honestly don't know how he and especially Jermaine had the strength to sing the way that they did during the services. So moving.

    Living in LA has its interesting moments. I was really surprised that the crowds that were anticipated never really materialized and people were well manered (unlike when the Lakers won). I'm glad, because it would've been so disrepectful to have any kind of caos occur during or after the memorial service.

    I hope his songs continue to sell too and that his children will be well taken care of.

    One more day until the weekend! Yay. Have a good Thursday too.

  16. Thanks for the new Adam link; I'll watch it when I get home! I am so happy for him and can't wait for his album to come out!

    Yes, one more day until the weekend! I am puppy sitting for Buddy the black lab this weekend; should be very interesting to see how he and Maria get along. They met briefly and Maria was a little bit skittish of him (LuLu loved him immediately and walked right up and let him kiss her!). I am going to watch them closely and hope that Maria and Buddy make friends. :)

    Have a good one!

  17. Hi Annie, I think you'll find the video interesting.

    How fun to be puppy sitting! That's so cute that Lulu is so inviting of Buddy. It'll be interesting to see how Maria does. Buddy seems like a cool puppy and I bet once Maria realizes he's going to be fun to play with she'll warm up to him.

    Have a good one too!


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.