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Honeydew, Cucumbers & Mozzarella with Mint Vinaigrette

20141001-070634.jpg I had such a refreshing salad when I was in San Francisco week-end before last, I thought I would try and recreate a bit of it and put my own spin on it too. Small world, the beyond yummy place (Piccino) where I enjoyed this tasty concoction is in the Dog Patch neighborhood. It is owned by one of Heather’s (from WK) best friends from college. I was taken there without the host knowing this. There it was with a mixture of melons and the vinaigrette was every so light and perfect for the dish, with the mint mixed about. Here is my quick version. This salad can be made throughout the year, and I look forward to making it on a cold day when we want to think of sunshine. This is one seriously refreshing dish.

The vinaigrette was first up, as I really wanted the oils in the torn up mint leaves to have time to release into the dressing. Zest a lemon into a bowl. Then get the juice out of that one lemon into that same bowl. Add a splash of champagne vinegar too. Then finely tear up a few mint leaves and mix about. Add a pinch of salt. Then add a bunch of fresh cracked pepper. Then add some more. You want lots of pepper in this. Slowly add extra virgin olive oil to all. Let the whole thing sit a bit after you have whisked it. This is when I prepare the salad.

The honeydew was super ripe, so I just stayed with that and did not use the cantaloupe. Either or both are fine. Truly, whatever melons you like. Cut that up into large bite sized pieces. Cut up cucumber to about the same sized pieces, taking out the seeds. I was lucky and found lemon cucumbers which my buddy Max in the Market continues to carry and I buy them every chance I can. I also mixed in a regular cucumber too. Then cut up fresh mozzarella to pieces the same size. Assemble all on a platter. Then drizzle with that sublime minty vinaigrette. You will be pleasantly surprised by the flavor combinations. Enjoy.

A happy start of October to all! Where did September go?



DRY Cucumber Soda & Hendrick’s Gin

20140813-073923.jpg Wine Wednesday continues in the cocktail theme. Yes, I know, it is a bit of a stretch, but there is no day of the week that starts with a C, so I think the post fits (kind of has to) into this category. I am smiling as I type this. You get the picture.

DRY Soda Co. is a Seattle-based company that is enjoyed all around the US and other parts of the world. They are tasty ‘as is’ but they also make divine cocktail mixers. ‘Dry’ is in reference to not too sweet, which makes it perfect for mixing with spirits. A new favorite is using the cucumber soda in place of tonic, for a twist on a Summery G&T. I also swap out the lime for English cucumber, which I prefer over regular cucumbers so there are no seeds involved. No one needs tiny little cucumber seeds floating around their cocktail. Again, smiling. Again, you get the picture. I cut the thick green outer skin off with a sharp knife and discard. Then depending on the thickness of the cucumber, I either half or quarter the pieces. Hendrick’s gin is a must for this, as cucumber plays a big component in the flavor of this type of gin. If you are not a cucumber fan, this cocktail is not for you. This is serious cucumber-y goodness in a glass. In a tall tumbler add ice, then 1/3 gin, 2/3 the cucumber soda, and finally a wedge of the freshly cut cucumber. Stir. Enjoy!