Halloumi + Watermelon + Mint

Halloumi + Watermelon + Mint

Hey friends! Happy holiday weekend! I have the perfect little appetizer to get your party started and I’m super pumped about it! Remember last year when a group of us crazy bloggers got together for a footloose and fancy free summer potluck? My friend Meg brought a grilled watermelon and halloumi salad which inspired this little toothpick assembly thingy that became an instant favorite summer party dish. I made it for every get-together and even had it for dinner a couple times. So good! For those of you new to halloumi, it’s kinda like feta: salty but with less tang and more squeak. Plus you can fry it or grill it and it won’t melt so it’s pretty much the perfect summertime cheese – pair it with some cold sweet melon and maybe some fireworks and happy 4th my friends!

Halloumi + Watermelon + Mint Halloumi + Watermelon + Mint Halloumi + Watermelon + Mint Halloumi + Watermelon + Mint Halloumi + Watermelon + Mint Halloumi + Watermelon + Mint Halloumi + Watermelon + Mint Halloumi + Watermelon + Mint

 

Ingredients

halloumi

watermelon

mint

lime juice (optional)

 

Directions

Slice the halloumi into little squares as shown. Heat your pan to medium/high heat and fry halloumi (no oil needed) until light brown and starting to crisp, just a couple minutes per side. Cube the watermelon. Assemble with a toothpick as shown and top with mint. Lime juice, optional.

 

Notes

I’ve made this with all the melons: cantaloupe, honeydew – they’re all good!

The Farmer’s Market Plate

The Farmer's Market Plate

If you come across any farmer’s market in the southern states right about now you’re bound to find a bounty of the things on my plate: okra, tomatoes and eggplant. Soon we’ll get corn and then peaches right after that. The best peaches – so sweet and juicy that just for a moment you forget about the endless hot humidity that is Summer in the south. Last week’s post was the most difficult for me to write, ever. I wrote about nothing, silly stuff, like what we ate for lunch that day but my mind was all consumed with what happened in Charleston. I guess I thought that writing about it would make it that much more real and I was still in a state of disbelief so I said nothing. I grew up in South Carolina, I lived in Charleston for four years and attended college there, it’s where we go when we need to get away from it all and visit my sister and just have a good time. This kind of stuff doesn’t happen here, ugh… typical, naive last words. I began pouring my emotions out into this post beginning with anger and then heartbreak. Each day I would delete the words I wrote the day before. Nothing I said seemed worth saying, nothing can fix this.

“Peace is not something you wish for, it is something you make, something you are, something you do, and something you give away. ”
― Robert Fulghum

The Farmer's Market Plate
  • Step 1

    The Farmer’s Market Plate

    It’s best to cut and prep all the ingredients before you begin cooking so that every ingredient is ready to go. Start by cutting up the eggplant. Sprinkle with salt and let drain to remove excess liquid. Drain, dry and cube the tofu. Slice up the okra. Mix up the ingredients for the crispy coating. Toss okra slices into polenta mixture to coat.

  • Step 2

    The Farmer’s Market Plate

    Heat a dab of butter, ghee and or a bit of olive oil in a pan. Sauté okra until light brown, crispy and fragrant – about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt to taste, remove from pan and set aside. Gently toss tofu cubes in leftover polenta mixture to coat (add more polenta if needed). Sauté the tofu just like the okra – until light brown, crispy and fragrant.

  • Step 3

    The Farmer’s Market Plate

    Heat a bit of olive oil on medium heat to sauté the diced onion. Add a pinch of salt and more spices (cumin and curry, if you like). Cook until translucent and beginning to caramelize then add the the eggplant.

  • Step 4

    The Farmer’s Market Plate

    While the eggplants cooks and melts into the onions, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the pan along with the garlic (I like adding the garlic near the end for super yummy layers of flavors). Cook until tender – about 5 to 8 minutes.

The Farmer's Market Plate The Farmer's Market Plate The Farmer's Market Plate The Farmer's Market Plate The Farmer's Market Plate The Farmer's Market Plate The Farmer's Market Plate The Farmer's Market Plate The Farmer's Market Plate The Farmer's Market Plate The Farmer's Market Plate

 

Ingredients for the Farmer’s Plate 

1 small eggplant, cubed

1 onion, diced

1 block of firm tofu (I like the organic sprouted kind)

about 2 cups okra, sliced

about 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch of thai basil leaves

ghee, butter or olive oil for sautéing the onions

salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes to taste

 

Ingredients for the “Breading”

1/2 cup of polenta or cornmeal

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon curry

1 teaspoon salt

fresh ground pepper

 

Directions

It’s best to cut and prep all the ingredients before you begin cooking so that every ingredient is ready to go. Start by cutting up the eggplant. Sprinkle with salt and let drain to remove excess liquid. Drain, dry and cube the tofu. Slice up the okra. Mix up the ingredients for the crispy coating. Toss okra slices into polenta mixture to coat. Heat a dab of butter, ghee and or a bit of olive oil in a pan. Sauté okra until light brown, crispy and fragrant – about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt to taste, remove from pan and set aside. Gently toss tofu cubes in leftover polenta mixture to coat (add more polenta if needed). Sauté the tofu just like the okra – until light brown, crispy and fragrant. Remove from pan, sprinkle with salt to taste. Heat a bit of olive oil on medium heat to sauté the diced onion. Add a pinch of salt and more spices (cumin and curry, if you like). Cook until translucent and beginning to caramelize then add the the eggplant. While the eggplants cooks and melts into the onions, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the pan along with the garlic (I like adding the garlic near the end for super yummy layers of flavors). Cook until tender – about 5 to 8 minutes. Add another pinch of salt to taste and basil leaves. Serve with with the crispy okra and the crispy tofu. Garnish with more basil leaves.

 

Notes

For those of you sitting on the okra fence and put off by the potential slime factor may actually enjoy it the way it is prepared here. It’s not completely battered and deep-fried but just lightly coated in polenta and spices to add crispiness and flavor that is surprisingly delicious and addicting – and that’s saying a lot from a former okra hater.

If you’re as crazy as I am about the thai basil and eggplant combo check out these recipes:

Miso Grilled Eggplant with Garlicky Thai Basil Sauce + Freekeh

Eggplant & Tofu Ratatouille with Thai Basil