I spent a few days this week in The Outer Banks of North Carolina. Every summer my family gathers to relax on the beach, hang by the pool and of course eat great food and drink summer cocktails. Since there are 15 of us (including 5 kids under 6), the eating and drinking aspect is never enjoyed in small quantities (blogger’s note: always drink responsibly!). Each couple is responsible for preparing at least one dinner and purchasing cocktails, wine or beer for the group. Being the only “chef” in the family, I am called on regularly for advice, discussion and assistance, which I enjoy because I get to share my tips and am able to spend time with each couple versus a big group.
The first evening, my fiancée Tiffany and I were in charge of dinner. We prepared marinated chicken and vegetable kebabs, toasted quinoa with local peaches, walnuts and mint, sweet & sour cucumber-tomato salad and if that was not enough… some flat-breads with grilled fennel and zucchini to “mop up” the citrus & herb relish I paired with some local Tile Fish. I sealed the fish and relish in aluminum foil and allowed it to cook slowly on the top shelf of the grill. This may have been a bit over the top for a casual family dinner, but I think there are some expectations that are not working in my favor so I might as well cook to impress!
Although my intention was to document our dinner I just described, I prepared everything impromptu and was feeling a bit lazy to write down the recipes since I was in “vacation mode.” So instead, I want to share, what the family was really raving about – my watermelon and peach vodka creation. It’s a great afternoon refresher and a prefect excuse to begin happy hour that much sooner! The combination of fresh flavors coupled with a flavored vodka is amazing. It takes very little time to prep and whip in the blender and the longer it sits in the fridge the more flavor develops.
The Fuzzy Melon
3 cups ripe seedless watermelon – coarsely chopped
1 lime – juice only
1 ½ cups Peach Vodka (quantity may vary according to mood)
8 ounces ginger ale
4 sprigs mint – ripped into small pieces
8 basil leaves – ripped into small pieces
1 ½ Tablespoon confectioners sugar (optional depending on how sweet the watermelon is)
1. Place watermelon, lime, and vodka in blender. Whip on high until watermelon is pureed.
2. Combine watermelon mixture, ginger ale, torn herbs and optional sugar in a large pitcher. Stir to combine well and fill with crushed ice.
3. Serve with additional lime slices and herbs.