Watermelon Uses that Set off Fireworks

Here in the States we’re celebrating the super-weird Wednesday 4th of July next week — hooray Independence Day! Usually the 4th aligns itself with a particular week, but this year it’s smack-dab in the middle. Some people are taking the first half of the week off and beginning their 4th of July weekend right about now; others are using the 4th as a starting point and taking the second half of next week off. As for me, I’ll be working almost all week, enjoying the air conditioning and planning for next year while most of the office is away. Ahhhh, peace and quiet at the Catersource office!

In the meantime I’d love to have a toast, either with chilled-out champagne sorbet (courtesy of Footers in Denver — yum!) or with deliciously fancy floral champagne (courtesy of Good Gracious! in L.A.). Or I could just head out to a pig roast, like the one served this week by Calihan Catering in Chicago. Or I could just grab a frosty beer from this tremendously cool DIY drink cooler from Food for Thought in Chicago.

And as we begin this extended heat wave here in the Twin Cities, I suggest we start the weekend off with some watermelon. Synonymous with summer, watermelon’s been popping up in my newsfeeds for the past few days. Here are a couple of uses that I’ve seen in the past couple of weeks that have got me thinking pink:

Watermelon Fruit Cake from GOOD maker.

This Watermelon Fruit Cake from the GOOD maker challenge is simple and ideal for a caterer to upgrade (probably about a zillion times). I can imagine what you all can do with melons and local fresh fruits, with a big chunk of melon thrown right in the middle. My only question — as a home cook and non-chef — is how this “cake” will transport and hold up over the course of an afternoon, but it certainly seems appropriate for an Independence Day picnic of some sort. GOOD’s recipe challenge is open — so you can submit your own recipe and mobilize your troops of social media followers to vote for you.

Watermelon Margarita by Catering Connect in Santa Barbara, CA.

This watermelon granita by Catering Connect in Santa Barbara, CA combines two summer classics: the lovely watermelon and, of course, the limey boozy delight of a margarita. There’s a little basil thrown in for a savory balance, and to make it feel like a grown-up treat. Will you be sipping one of these on your next day off? Quite possibly!

Watermelon and Feta appetizers from Wolfgang Puck catering

I’m definitely a fan of all watermelon and feta combinations — what a perfect juxtaposition of flavor and texture! These appetizers, plus more ruminations on watermelon, are from Wolfgang Puck Catering in Los Angeles, CA.

Watermelon Gazpacho Shooters from Tampa’s Good Food Catering Company

Then, you have your watermelon gazpacho — which isn’t a new trend, but it’s still a delicious one. It’s featured in the latest issue of Catersource magazine (see the pairings segment in On the Menu), but here’s a simple, pretty pink use from Tampa’s Good Food Catering Company.

Gourmet’s watermelon sorbet with chocolate seeds

Some watermelon sorbet in a watermelon rind looks stunning and is an adult upgrade to one of my favorite childhood treats: the watermelon-sorbet-with-lemon-sorbet rind from the East Coast’s Friendly’s restaurants. Both the commercial and the homemade versions have dark chocolate chip seeds, which make the whole dessert seem just a tad naughty, as if you’re getting into a flavor profile that’s a little beyond what you were originally expecting. It’s a delicious way to get a little more than you bargained for.

Melon-tini Granita wedges from Abigail Kirsch in New York, NY.

And, of course, there’s the always-phenomenal watermelon granita, perhaps the most popular watermelon trend from the past year. At Abigail Kirsch Catering in New York, they’ve placed the granita in lime rinds and topped it with poppy seeds, making the Pinterest-friendly Jello shot citrus wedges into something a little more definitively summery, and absolutely more elegant.

For whatever reason, this song got stuck in my head while I was writing this post. I’m pretty sure he’s singing about watermelon.

Is that enough watermelon for you? Have an amazingly happening hot summer weekend, good luck with your events, and I’ll post one more treat for the 4th next week!

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