Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Mama's Cooking: Watermelon and Feta Salad

I have a penchant for cookbooks. About ten years ago I bought one that altered my lifestyle: Cafe Paradiso Seasons by Denis Cotter. He remains the owner and chef of the vegetarian Cafe Paradiso in Ireland. (I've never eaten there by the way.)  I was inspired to pack the book with me and venture to a nearby town's farmer's market early one Saturday morning with Molly and Anthony snug in their beds and refusing to go with me. I kept going early every Saturday toting that book with me to refer to while sitting in my car, searching for recipes after I bought produce at the market and making a shopping list so I could purchase the necessary remaining ingredients at the grocery store. I became friends with some of the farmers, visited their farms, discussed our children growing up and eventually graduating from colleges and moving away. One older farmer is no longer able to plant and it's sad that he is no longer at the market. Other farmers changed markets. One young farmer gave up sharing his produce with deer and is now utilizing his geology degree on a Texas oil rig. A farmer's wife and high school French teacher had a baby and is busy with that new project.

Well... Cotter's Watermelon and Feta Salad with Lime, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Green Peppercorns became a summertime family favorite. But of course, eventually I changed the original recipe slimming it down a bit, eliminating the salt. I've experimented with veganizing it by pressing tofu then soaking tofu slices in lime juice to replace the Feta, but that version still needs work. Here's my take on a wonderful recipe that ten years ago seemed quite adventurous.

Take wedges of watermelon, about four or five per person and top with slices of feta, about three per person. Squeeze a tablespoon or so of fresh lime juice over the watermelon and cheese. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of toasted pumpkin seeds. Finish with a couple of teaspoons of pumpkin seed oil and some freshly ground pepper.

I just bought a new Denis Cotter cookbook, by the way---For the Love of Food, Vegetarian Recipes From the Heart. 

xx Mama and Molly

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