I’M JUST CURIOUS: Watermelon ham and more fun

by Debbie Walker

Please let me know what your reaction is to this column. When I heard about it, and still now, I can hardly believe it. No, I have not tried ‘Watermelon Ham’ as yet. I won’t be making any and I don’t think I am going to Armature Works, the restaurant in Tampa, Florida, that makes it, any time soon.

My granddaughter’s friend, Chris, was telling us about it. I have no idea how the subject came up but it got my attention. Tristin (granddaughter) did warn him to be careful about what he says in front of me because it may wind up in the paper the next week. Here it is:

This meal item recipe can be found on the internet. I found it just by typing in the words Watermelon Ham so you can too. I am including some of the information I found. It has been said that it is a vegan-friendly dish that takes four to six days to prepare. (Big reason why I won’t be making one!)

The instructions I read: The melon is soaked in a mixture of coriander, salt and oregano, then left to dry and smoke for half a day. Ash is used to give the melon a “skin-like” texture, and then you soak it in its own juices before serving. There are more instructions and I believe information on YouTube.

I also found, from Ducks Eatery, in New York: Smoked cantaloupe burger. It takes a square of thick smoked melon and adds caramelized onion, hot ranch, lettuce, and sesame, again for a beef alternative.

It involves more prep than a burger, takes about two days to make. It is cured with salt and ash, gives off a similar flavor to aged beef after it goes to the smoker. It won’t taste exactly like a meat, but it does have the texture. Everyone usually has so many flavorful tastes added to it, how much flavor of the “meat” do you actually taste? However it does give vegans more choice for meals.

AND for something for dessert try ‘roasted strawberries.’ Now this one I will more than likely try! It’s the strawberry season in Florida, selling everywhere on the roadside. I feel the urge to buy some.

So: slice off the stems of two pounds of the berries. Line baking sheet with parchment lined baking sheet, add ¼ cup of sugar, toss well. Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and toss. Roast at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. You can leave them in for up to an hour, you will get more delicious syrup. Great for topping a salad, as well.

Wonder what to do with the next rhubarb crop? Try it roasted with strawberries.

Recipe: two cups hulled strawberries cut in half, three cups roughly chopped rhubarb, ¼ cup maple syrup, ¼ cup sweet vermouth, one tablespoon balsamic vinegar, one teaspoon sea salt. Preheat oven to 350°, rack on middle shelf. Line baking pan with parchment paper. Juicy dish.

Large bowl, whisk other ingredients. Pour over the fruit, toss till coated. Single layer on pan, drizzle juices over, put in oven. Roast 40 minutes. Good for up to a week. Top it on anything that sounds good to you. Enjoy!

I am curious if you will get the chuckles that I did. Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading!


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