Monday, 4 August 2008

Watermelon Salad and a Visit to the Local Brewery

I know that I am probably the last foodie on the planet to make a watermelon/feta salad. I have wanted to for a long time as watermelon and feta are two staples at our house in the summer, feta being a staple in the fridge all year round.
I was so pleased when the current issue of Saveur Magazine did a spotlight on watermelon and immediately dogeared it for Magazine Mondays.

This salad is light and tangy and refreshing, great for a backyard bbq.

Watermelon, Feta, and Olive Salad - Saveur Magazine, August/September 2008


3 cups loosely packed arugula
1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup loosely packed torn mint leaves
1 2-lb. piece seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into 1" cubes
20 kalamata olives, smashed, pitted, and halved
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and julienned
1⁄4 small red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in ice water for 30 minutes
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1⁄4 cup)
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 limes, halved
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, parsley, and mint. Divide greens between 4 serving bowls or plates.
2. In a medium bowl, toss together watermelon, olives, jalapeño, and onion. Spoon the watermelon mixture, with its juice, evenly over the greens. Sprinkle each salad with some of the feta and drizzle with olive oil. Squeeze 1 lime half over the top of each salad and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

My changes - I skipped the arugula, used even more of the herbs and watermelon and a ton more feta. I also threw in a couple of green olives for good measure.

The result? Delish. We served it as a side with grilled pizza and white wine for an outdoor party. Definitely worth making, best eaten the same day it is made.
Magazine Mondays is a casual weekly event created by Cream Puffs in Venice, check out her site for amazing culinary creations or to find out how to play along. Cream Puff is on vacation until September.

On hubby's vacation this week, we decided to take a train into the city and spend the day. The first stop was a tour of Steam Whistle Brewing. A local brewery dedicated to pure pilsner standards. It is one of the few left that haven't been bought up by the big guys.

We were greeted with a half pint of beer and a friendly staff. There are a few different tours to choose from, the tour being the same but what you want to take home being the option. We chose the souvenir tour and got the bottle opener as we were walking the entire day and didn't want to have to carry too much. At $8 per person it didn't seem out of line.

The tour guide and much of the staff are vibrant, outgoing 20 somethings who seem very happy with their jobs. Indeed, they are invited to have a beer at the end of their shift - every day!

We got to see every aspect of the workings, from tanks to productions lines to offices. Our guide was friendly, energetic and informative. It was clear that he had a performing background.

The entire brewery smelled of roasted barley and we were invited to try some of the barley that goes into the beer. Steam Whistle has only four ingredients; spring water, barley, hops and yeast, all GMO free.

At the end of the tour we were given another half pint and were on our way back into the sunshine. A pretty good start to the afternoon!