The weather has been cooking this past week, and I have been thoroughly enjoying weekend and evening escapes to the beach for a nice dip in the ocean to cool off whenever I can.
Lighter, more refreshing eats have also been commonplace, with mixed greens and fresh fruits finding their way into a majority of my meals.
This week I picked up a few different kinds of cucumbers that included Persian, lemon and pickling varieties, as well as an assortment of fresh melons. Comprising anywhere from 92%-96% water by weight, these are some of the most rehydrating foods you can find this time of year.
When melons are available at our local farmers markets, I tend to enjoy them quite often, and this week I scored some orange-fleshed cantaloupe, a nice seedless red-fleshed watermelon, as well as one of my overall annual favorites from the Munak Ranch of Paso Robles: the green-fleshed Rocky Sweet Melon.
These smaller melons are recognized by their webbed pale yellow cantaloupe-like skin when ripe. Once sliced, they present a lime green center that fades toward a pale green. The flesh is soft and juicy like a cantaloupe, with notes of sweet honeydew melon throughout.
Rocky Sweet melons also have a very noticeable fragrant aroma that intensifies the riper the melon becomes.
Rocky Sweet melons are ideal to eat as they come, scooped out of the skin with a spoon, or cubed and tossed in a fruit salad. They can also be skewered with prosciutto, basil leaves and mozzarella cheese to serve as a nice appetizer, or added to a smoothie or your morning yogurt.
This week, I prepared a refreshing Rocky Sweet melon and cucumber soup, blending in a little yogurt for a nice smooth consistency. This is a wonderful healthy dish to serve any time of the day.
Rocky Sweet Melon and cucumber Soup
1 medium Persian cucumber, ends discarded and cut into small cubes.
1 small Rocky Sweet Melon, seeds and skin discarded, cubed.
1/2 cup yogurt (I used a 2%). If vegan use cashew yogurt).
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped (or fresh basil leaves).
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped.
Juice from 1 lemon or lime.
1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated or diced small.
Pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper, adjust to taste.
Optional; 1/2 jalapeño pepper with seeds discarded for a little heat.
Optional; 1 teaspoon honey for added sweetness.
Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until very smooth. Refrigerate before serving, then mix well just before placing in bowls. You can top with a little olive oil or aged balsamic vinegar, and/or garnish with fresh cilantro leaves if desired.
Yield: Serves 4.