Watermelon Agua Fresca
1 medium seedless watermelon, cubed
1/2 cup water (or more as needed)
1/2 cup club soda
1/4 cup simple syrup (Boil equal parts water and sugar. Can be refrigerated for months.)
1 bunch mint, chiffonade
1. Puree watermelon and water in blender or food processor, adding more water if necessary.
2. Add simple syrup to taste.
3. Squeeze in the juice from half of a lime.
4. Puree again.
5. Cut remaining limes into wedges.
6. When ready to serve, gently stir in club soda and mint.
7. Garnish with lime wedges and additional mint if desired.
Tip: Add a splash of vodka or Champagne to make a refreshing cocktail.
Watermelon & Goat Cheese with Vanilla-Jalapeño Balsamic
1 medium seedless watermelon, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
8 ounces herbed goat cheese (We prefer Full Quiver Farms, available at many high-end grocery stores.)
8 ounces balsamic vinegar
1/2 jalapeño, seeds, stem and membrane removed
1 vanilla bean, insides scraped (or substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
4 ounces assorted berries (These can be older or less pretty.)
5 mint leaves, chiffonade
5 basil leaves, chiffonade
1. In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, simmer the vinegar, jalapeño, vanilla and berries. As the liquid begins to thicken, reduce the heat and cook until a small drizzle on a tilted plate barely drips across plate.
2. Strain solids from the balsamic reduction. Note: This balsamic can be kept in a squirt bottle for months in the refrigerator and is awesome on meat and vegetable dishes.
3. Lay watermelon in rows across platter.
4. Sprinkle a small amount of salt across watermelon.
5. Crumble goat cheese across platter.
6. Drizzle with balsamic.
7. Top with herbs.
Chef Garth Blackburn and his partner, Amy Kushnir, are the creators of Uptown Farmhouse, a unique local pop-up dinner experience. For more information about Uptown Farmhouse, visit UptownFarmhouse.com.