Gertie's Melon Recipes

Gingered Melon

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel (set aside)
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4 cups watermelon, cantaloupe, and/or honeydew balls
1/3 cup flaked coconut

For syrup, in a small saucepan combine water, sugar, lemon juice, and ginger. Bring to boiling over medium heat; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon peel. Cool to room temperature. Strain, if desired.

Pour syrup over melon balls. Stir gently to coat. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours. To serve, spoon melon balls and syrup into 6 dessert dishes. Sprinkle with coconut. Makes 6 servings.

Antipasto Platter with Prosciutto and Melon (in redneck lingo this is the same as: "not pasta platter with smoked ham and mush melon")

For different but good twist on the classic prosciutto-melon (smoked ham-mush melon) paring, try puttin' together cantaloupe (mush melon) and honeydew melon balls.

8 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (or smoked ham)
Lettuce leaves
2 cups melon balls or cubes
1 cup pineapple cubes
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used bacon grease)
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (I used seasoned rice vinegar)
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

Roll up each prosciutto/ham slice and arrange on a large lettuce-lined serving platter. Place fruit and nuts around prosciutto/ham. Combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle oil-vinegar mixture over all. Sprinkle with blue cheese. Makes 12 servings.

Tip: Put together prosciutto/ham, melon and nuts on a lettuce-lined platter as directed. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 hours. Just before serving, drizzle with oil-vinegar mixture and sprinkle with blue cheese. Now you can impress Uncle Earl.

Fat-free Watermelon Sherbet

Serve this low-Calorie sherbet (I've always called it shur-burt) as an appetizer or dessert.

2 cups cubed, seeded watermelon (that means take out the seeds)
1/2 cup sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup cranberry juice cocktail

Place watermelon cubes in a blender or food processor bowl. Cover and blend or process until smooth. (There should be 3 cups of the mixture.) Stir in sugar. Next, in a small saucepan combine gelatin and cranberry juice cocktail. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir mixture over low heat until gelatin is dissolved.

Stir the gelatin mixture into the melon mixture. Pour into an 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm.

Break up frozen mixture and place in a chilled mixer bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed or until mixture is fluffy. Return to pan. Cover and freeze for 6 hours or until firm. Makes 8 (1/2-cup) servings. Make ahead directions: Pack in airtight freezer container; seal, label, and freeze up to 1 month.

Melon Sorbet (sorbet is pronounce sore-bay, just so you know and it's like a fruit icee you get down at the Golden Gallon)

A tidbit of orange flavor really gives the melon (whichever melon you choose--watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon) a kick.

1-1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
5 cups cubed, seeded watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon
2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel (don't be a dork - wash it first)
1/2 cup orange juice

In a medium saucepan combine water and sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill until cold.

In a large mixing bowl combine melon, orange peel, orange juice and chilled sugar mixture. Place one-third to one-half of the melon mixture in a blender or food processor bowl. Cover and blend or process until smooth, stopping and scraping sides as necessary. Place pureed mixture in another bowl. Repeat with remaining melon mixture.

Freeze in an ice-cream freezer according to manufacturer's directions. (Or pour the mixture into a 9x9x2-inch baking pan. Freeze about 3 hours or until frozen around the edges. Spoon into a large chilled bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth, but not melted. Return to pan. Cover and freeze several hours or overnight.)

To serve, let stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. Scoop into dessert dishes. Makes 8 servings.

Sweet Melon Cup

1 cup white grape juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
4 cups cantaloupe balls
2 cups honeydew balls
Crystallized ginger (optional) (I usually leave this out)

In a small saucepan combine the white grape juice, sugar and fresh ginger. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain ginger from mixture. Discard ginger. Chill, covered, for 2 to 24 hours.

Before serving, in a medium mixing bowl combine cantaloupe, honeydew and white grape juice mixture. Toss gently to coat. To serve, divide mixture evenly among 6 cups or bowls. Makes 6 servings.

Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare the syrup; cover and chill 2 to 24 hours.

Watermelon Sherbet

Make this sherbet even more easily by starting with seedless watermelon. To serve, scoop the 4-ingredient sherbet onto watermelon rinds.

6 cups cut-up, seeded watermelon
3 cups whipping cream
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1-1/4 cups sugar
Few drops red food coloring (optional)

Place 3 cups of the watermelon in a blender container or food processor bowl. Cover and blend or process till smooth. Repeat with remaining melon. (You should have 4 cups total of melon puree. If necessary, blend or process additional watermelon to measure 4 cups.)

In a large mixing bowl combine watermelon puree, whipping cream, buttermilk, sugar and red food coloring (if desired). Stir the mixture till sugar is dissolved. Freeze in a 4- or 5-quart ice-cream freezer according to the manufacturer's directions. Makes 2-1/2 quarts.

Freezer Directions: Prepare the watermelon mixture as above, except use 3 cups watermelon, 1-1/2 cups whipping cream, 3/4 cup buttermilk, and 2/3 cup sugar. Transfer to a 9x9x2-inch pan. Cover and freeze for 2 to 3 hours or till almost firm.

Break the frozen watermelon mixture into small chunks. Transfer to a chilled mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer till smooth but not melted. Return to pan. Cover and freeze till firm. Makes 1-1/4 quarts.

Swiss and Melon Salad

Put the "lazy" back in Sundays. Organize brunch around a new take on the fruit-and-cheese course, made in a flash with bottled poppy seed dressing.

1-1/2 cups large bow tie pasta (about 6 ounces)
2 cups cantaloupe and/or honeydew melon chunks
1 cup cubed Swiss cheese (4 ounces)
1/3 cup bottled nonfat poppy seed salad dressing
1 to 2 tablespoons snipped fresh mint
2 cups watercress, stems removed

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again.

In a large bowl toss together pasta, cantaloupe, and cheese. Combine salad dressing and mint; pour over pasta mixture, tossing gently to coat. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 24 hours.

To serve, stir watercress into pasta mixture. If desired, serve salad in melon shells. Makes 4 servings.

Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare salad; cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Serve as directed.

Fresh Fruit with Frozen Melon Dressing

This is a salad dressing that's frozen in scoops like ice cream. As the dressing melts, it coats the fruit.

1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1-1/2 cups very ripe cantaloupe chunks
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons white grape juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Lettuce (optional)
5 to 6 cups assorted fresh fruit such as sliced nectarines and pears, peeled and sliced kiwi fruit, berries, grapes, cherries, and melon balls

In a small saucepan combine orange juice and gelatin; let stand for 5 mintues to soften. Stir over low heat till gelatin is dissolved; set aside.

In a blender container or food processor bowl blend or process the 1-1/2 cups cantaloupe, honey, grape juice and cinnamon till smooth. Add orange juice mixture; process till combined.

Transfer melon mixture to an 8x4x2-inch or 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Cover; freeze for 4 hours or until firm. Break frozen mixture into small chunks. Transfer melon mixture to a chilled mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-low speed till smooth but not melted. Rinse and dry the pan; line with plastic wrap. Return mixture to loaf pan. Cover and freeze till firm or for up to 2 weeks.

To serve, arrange lettuce on a serving platter. Place the desired fruit atop the greens.

For dressing, use a melon baller or scrape a spoon across the top of the frozen melon mixture to make small scoops. (If too frozen to scoop or scrape, let frozen dressing sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to soften). Place frozen scoops of dressing atop fruit and serve immediately. Make 6 side-dish servings.

Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare and freeze orange juice-cantaloupe mixture up to 2 weeks ahead. Before serving, arrange fruit on kale or romaine and top with scoops of frozen dressing.

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