Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stone Fruit and Mascarpone Tart with Triple Ginger Cookie Crust

There seems to be an abundance of fruit at the farmer's markets and grocery stores or maybe it just seems that way. It is summer after all. So the arrival of nectarines and peaches were a welcome sight this week as I have been overdosing on watermelon, blueberries and strawberries (no I am not on one of those fruit/juice 'cleanses', I don't think I have the stamina to survive one). Simultaneous to the arrival of these stone fruits was the (re)discovery of a tart recipe in one of my old Bon Appetit magazines. I took one look at the photo of the tart and said (probably outloud) 'I have to make this'. Less than 48 hours after finding the recipe, I had shopped for all of the ingredients and made the tart. It wasn't as if there was a shortage of 'sweet' things in the house (there were still some Chocolate Chunk (Peanut Butter Cup) Cookies left as well as some edges of brownies I had made), I just felt a sense of tart making urgency.

What if I told you didn't have to choose between making cookies, a rich, creamy (no bake) cheesecake, or fresh fruit for dessert? And without slaving in the kitchen for hours you could serve all of them freeing up more discretionary time for you to do whatever else makes you happy. Well, a Stone Fruit and Mascarpone Tart with Triple Ginger Cookie Crust does all of that and more, so much more. Not only is this tart a feast for the eyes, it is a 'party on your palate'. The tastes and textures of the crunchy ginger crust, the rich, creamy cheesecake filling, and the sweet fruit topping will have your head spinning.

Initially, I was going to make this tart with nectarines only, however, when I came upon the beautiful white peaches at the grocery store my plan changed. The thought of using both the nectarines and white peaches was a rare moment of creative genius. But actually this is a tart having many fruit possibilities. It can be made with all nectarines; all peaches; nectarines and peaches; only blueberries; only blackberries; or blueberries and blackberries; or nectarines and blueberries. And those are just a few of the options! Choose your favorite stone fruits and/or berries. Choose what makes you happy. And if you are looking to make something with a patriotic look for the upcoming 4th of July, this tart topped with raspberries and blueberries would be added cause for celebration.

The crust. Oh, the crust. If you are a fan of ginger cookies or ginger snaps, you will absolutely love this crust. And if you aren't, this tart might convert you. After one bite it shifted a friend's preconceived notion that a ginger cookie crust was something she wouldn't like.

This is one of those 'how easy is that?' crusts. Store bought ginger (or gingersnap) cookies (the triple ginger cookies from Trader Joe's are my favorites) and melted butter are the only ingredients. Note: Trader Joe's also makes a thin ginger cookie that I think would also make for a great crust. Anna's Swedish ginger thins would be another great option.

Don't even bother taking out the food processor to turn the cookies into fine crumbs. A ziplock baggie and a rolling pin works rather well and has added therapeutic value (smashing the rolling pin on the cookies is a great stress reliever). The 14 ounce container of Triple Ginger Cookies yielded slightly more than the desired 3 generous cups of crumbs needed for making a crust a thickness able to stand up to the rest of the tart. Binding the cookie crumbs together I used 6 Tablespoons of melted butter, however, next time I might consider increasing the amount of butter to 7 Tablespoons. The additional tablespoon of butter should be enough to prevent the crust from any crumbling when it is removed from the tart pan. 

To form the crust, press the cookie/butter mixture firmly onto the bottom and up the sides of a 10 inch tart pan. A 9 inch tart pan (as recommended in the Bon Appetit recipe) would throw off the balance of crust to the filling and fruit. In a preheated 350 degree oven, the crust is baked for 8 minutes, just long enough for the crust to slightly darken and set. Note: Allow the crust to cool completely before spreading on the filling.

This is a no-bake filling. Room temperature mascarpone cheese and cream cheese create a smooth, creamy mixture when beaten with a mixer. Combined with the zest of one lemon, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1 Tablespoon minced crystallized ginger and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar create an incredibly delicious filling. Once it is all mixed together, you will find it hard to resist the temptation to eat this filling with a spoon before even spreading on the crust. Note: I added an additional 2 teaspoons of sugar, however, I would recommend you taste it with only 1/4 cup of the sugar and decide whether you too feel it needs just a bit more or not.

The rich creamy cheesecake filling is spread evenly over the cooled crust and then allowed to chill (covered) in the refrigerator at least 2 hours (or up to overnight). 

In the process of cutting the fruit for this tart, I completely destroyed one nectarine and one peach. Casualties happen when you are clueless. Learning how to cut stone fruit (the seam is there for a reason) by watching the Mario Batali video before, and not after I made this tart, would have been wise.  I can still hear Aimee Mann's singing "Wise Up". Only I didn't give up and managed to figure out how to slice the nectarines and peaches in a most unconventional way. 

In addition to making a bit of mess of a couple pieces of fruit, I also didn't pay attention to the steps in the recipe and cut the fruit before the filling set after chilling in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. It all worked out in the end, but going forward I will wait to cut the fruit shortly before serving (the finished tart can be refrigerated up to 6 hours in the refrigerator before serving).

After placing the sliced fruit in overlapping concentric circles, finish the tart by brushing the fruit with a peach jam that has been warmed. Unable to find peach jam, I used peach preserves instead. And there was a silver lining to this relatively minor substitution. The bits of peach in the preserve were an unexpected, nice rustic touch to the finished look of the tart.

Other than being challenged in cutting stone fruit, this is one of the easiest and biggest wow factor tarts you will make all summer. If (or when) you decide to serve this Stone Fruit and Mascarpone Tart with Triple Ginger Cookie Crust you most likely will not any have leftovers as this is what I call one of those 'seconds requested' dessert.

Stone Fruit and Mascarpone Tart with Triple Ginger Cookie Crust (adapted from Bon Appetit's Nectarine and Mascarpone Tart with Gingersnap Crust)

14 ounces ginger cookies, crushed (recommend Trader Joe's triple ginger cookies) or a generous 3 cup equivalent of crushed gingersnap cookies
6- 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling and Fruit Topping
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon crystallized ginger, minced
Zest of one lemon (or 1 teaspoon of lemon zest)
3-4 medium sized stone fruits (i.e., white peaches and nectarines), halved, pitted and thinly sliced
1/4 cup peach jam or peach preserves, warmed
Note: Use any combination of stone fruits or berries to top the tart. 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix crushed triple ginger cookies and melted butter in medium sized bowl. Transfer to a 10 inch removable bottom tart pan and press mixture firmly and up sides of pan.
3. Bake crust for 8 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
4. Place mascarpone, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla, minced crystallized ginger and lemon zest in medium bowl. Beat until smooth.
5. Spread filling on cooled crust. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight).
6. Arrange fruit slices on top of filling in overlapping concentric circles (begin on outer edge of tart).
7. Brust with heated jam. Serve immediately.
Note: If not serving immediately, refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 6 hours)

Two weeks ago I made a basket of the Decadent Chocolate Brownies for a friend's 60th birthday. Last week I made another basket of them for the 80th birthday of someone I admired professionally immediately upon meeting them almost 13 years ago. The first basket got rave reviews, the second basket, well, it was not as well received. Not because it wasn't viewed as a thoughtful gesture, but because at least a few were overwhelmed by the brownies intense chocolate flavor (they live up to their decadence and are not for the faint of chocolate heart). As a little disappointed as I was that the second basket of brownies didn't get all of oohs and ahhs I was certain they would (validation is my vice), it was one of those grounding, reality check moments we all benefit from having every now and then. For me this was the reminder to cook, bake, and create for others because you want to, because you love to, because it brings you joy, or because it is how you express to others how much they mean to you. If along the way there are some who really, really, really like what you made for them, let those be moments you savor.

However, if every now and then you find yourself in need of one of those moments, well just cook, bake, and create for those who really, really, really like what you make. There are worse vices than needing a little validation.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chocolate Chunk (Peanut Butter Cup) Cookies

After seeing the coming of age film 'A River Runs Through It' more than 20 years ago I could not help but be mesmerized by the majestic beauty of the Montana wilderness. Someday, I thought, I would travel to Montana, specifically to Missoula, Montana, to see it first-hand as well as to attempt to photograph some of its' stunning and compelling mountain and river landscapes. That someday is finally here. Next week I head out to Big Sky Country with my nephew. This trip (one I am calling the #21stbirthdayadventure as he turns 21at the end of July) will give the two of us time to explore Montana together as well as celebrate his significant (coming of age) birthday. And oh yes, Missoula is one of our destinations. That is, if I survive the 4th of July 5K race, the excursion to Lone Peak, and the hike in Beehive Basin (have already been warned about bear sightings in Yellowstone) in the 36 hours prior to actually arriving in Missoula.

Of course, I will come bearing gifts. What would a birthday be without them? Amongst the gifts will be a box filled with homemade cookies (me traveling with a cake on a plane is a recipe for disaster). Baking the cookies would be the easy part, deciding which cookies to bake is a little more challenging. My first thought was I maybe I should resurrect the chocolate chip cookie recipe, the one that used to be my all-time favorite, alway got rave reviews go-to cookie. It was also one of those recipes I sought to keep as a closely guarded secret (even from the Chief of Police in the town I worked in, but that's another story). Funny thing is, it wasn't even a recipe I could claim was technically 'mine'. Then one day I decided 'let it go' and submit it as my contribution to a community cookbook project (partly to rid myself of the guilt I was feeling over being so foolishly selfish, partly because not complying with a request from a Police Chief wasn't too wise, and mostly because I didn't want my name attached to a recipe that was God forbid just 'okay', even if it really wasn't mine).

It has been quite awhile since I have made these chocolate chip cookies (the Jacques Torres cookies pre-empted them several years ago). To jog my memory on how they looked and tasted I decided I need to bake a batch of them. This would also give me the opportunity to play with making at least two more changes to the recipe before deciding if they were 'birthday' worthy cookies. Replacing the semi-sweet chocolate chips with a combination of mini-milk chocolate peanut butter cups (Trader Joe's are the best) and chopped semi-sweet chocolate as well as topping them with sea salt were the most significant changes I wanted to make. Not exactly earthshaking changes, just slight variations.

Many years ago, someone by the name of Elizabeth published a recipe she called 'my best, big, fat, chewy chocolate chip cookies'. It was her recipe that I built my 'chocolate chip cookie baking reputation' on. Thank you Elizabeth whoever and wherever you are! If I tinkered a bit more with this recipe I might finally be able to actually claim it as my own. Sort of, maybe, kind of.

The use of the milk chocolate mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's are addictive all on their own. I was hoping they would have a similar effect in the cookies (Spoiler Alert: They did!). I used the entire 12 ounce container along with 4 ounces of coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate. The balance of these two chocolates was perfect. However next time I think I will slightly increase the amount of semi-sweet chocolate (maybe up to 6 ounces). Personally I like my chocolate chip cookies to specks or pieces of chocolate throughout them.

This is one of those melted butter (versus room temperature) cookie recipes. There is much debate on whether room temperature or melted butter creates a better cookie crumb and texture. 'Hot' melted butter will melt the granulated and brown sugars and have a significant impact on a cookie. I had learned the hard way (cookies with a not such a great texture) of the importance of allowing the melted butter to cool before mixing with sugar. This made a significant difference. To further ramp up the flavor in these cookies I used the slightly higher in fat content Irish Kerrygold unsalted butter instead of the usual Land O'Lakes (which turned out to be another good change).

In Elizabeth's original recipe she listed 'brown sugar' as one of the ingredients. Ever since first making these cookies I have used a proportional combination of light and dark brown sugars as there the dark brown sugar  created an added depth of flavor to the cookie. I didn't see any reason to change this.

'Go big or go home' was the mantra for these cookies. An ice cream scoop having a two tablespoon capacity helped to achieve a larger, bakery looking cookie. Then borrowing from the Jacques Torres recipe, each cookie was topped with a generous pinch of sea salt.

These cookies spread when baking (suggest placing 7 or 8 dough balls spaced 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet). In spite of their size, these cookies don't take very long to bake in a preheated 350 degree oven (about 12-15 minutes or until the edges just begin to become golden brown). The baked cookies remain on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before being transferred to a cooling rack. The few extra minutes on the hot baking sheet gives the finished cookies a crispier outside finish to contrast with their softer interiors. 

So the final verdict on these Chocolate Chunk (Peanut Butter Cup) Cookies? Amazing, the kind of cookie you don't want to (or really can't) stop eating at just one. The combination of the milk chocolate mini peanut butter cups, semi-sweet chocolate, and sea salt with the dough made for one wicked cookie. The decision as to which cookie to bring out to my nephew was made after I took just one bite. Definitely birthday worthy cookies.This variation of the chocolate chip cookie recipe I had made years ago has now permanently changed. Finally, a cookie recipe I feel is the one I really could put my name next to. 
Chocolate Chunk (Peanut Butter Cup) Cookies (inspired by Elizabeth's Best, Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe)
Yield: 26-28 large cookies

2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda (Update: Baking soda can be increased to 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (recommend KerryGold butter)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (equal combinations of light and dark brown sugar)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla 
1 large egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk (from large egg), room temperature
12 ounces milk chocolate mini-peanut butter cups (recommend Trader Joe's)
4-6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chopped
Sea salt for sprinkling on cookies
(Note: Another variation to theses cookies would be using 2 to 2/12 cups of semi-sweet or milk or a mixture of the two chips or coarsely chopped chocolate. If you are a big fan of M&Ms in your cookies, you could use them too!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift together flour, baking soda and Kosher salt. Set aside.
3. Cream the melted butter, granulated sugar and brown sugars until well blended in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
4. Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla until light and creamy.
5. Mix in flour mixture until fully blended.
6. Stir in peanut butter chocolate chips and semi-sweet chopped chocolate with a spatula.
7. Using a larger ice cream scoop (2 tablespoon equivalent), form balls and place on baking sheet. Note: Cookies spread so place only 7 to 8 dough balls per cookie sheet.
8. Sprinkle each cookie with a generous pinch of sea salt (recommend Maldon Sea Salt).
9. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges are browned. Cool on baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
10. Serve cookies or store cookies in a covered, air tight container.until ready to serve.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Salad with Creamy Dill Dressing

Living less than two miles from the ocean had more benefits than I had ever anticipated. Beyond being able to take in the sights and sounds on early morning or just before sunset walks on the beach (always better at low tide), there were the frequent, short late afternoon and early evening sun showers. Like the proverbial clouds with sliver linings, these brief rainstorms almost always led to the appearance of some rather beautiful rainbows. Sometimes the colors were vivid and intense, while other times they were more pastel-like. As often as I was able, I would grab my camera, and run as fast as I could to the open farm fields in an attempt to capture as many photos as possible. The day I saw my first double rainbow, I was awestruck and mesmerized by its' sheer, yet fleeting beauty.

When walking through Farmer's Markets, I am usually drawn to those stands where the fruits and vegetables are artfully arranged, in a way mimicking a rainbow. Being someone with rather monochromatic tastes, I was inspired this weekend to shift from making the same old, same old (dominated by green) salad to making one having the characteristics of a rainbow. After putting this 'deconstructed' salad together, I was awestruck by how much more beautiful, how much more appetizing a salad could be. With some degree of certainty, this summer salad will have me going from one salad 'rut' to another.

In concept, I might be headed in a new salad 'rut' direction. However, this summer salad is one that doesn't necessarily have to be the same each time it is made. The choices for vegetables, while not endless, can change based on personal preference as well as what is in season. Whether I continue to replicate this salad using the same seven vegetables or not, one thing is for certain. My weekly trip to the Farmer's Market this summer has just gotten a little more exciting. 

The greens base for this salad was a spring mix, but it could be arugula, spinach, romaine, or any combination of greens you like. Notice I haven't jumped on the kale bandwagon yet.

My first time making this summer salad, I choose cherry tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, carrots, english cucumbers, avocado and radishes. As long as I can find ripe avocados and english cucumbers, these will most likely be two things I will keep constant as they are my personal favorites.

But it is a salad that can include more than vegetables. If I was serving this salad as a main course for lunch or dinner, I might add a row of cooked shrimp, lobster meat or lump crab meat to it.

The creamy dill dressing on the side compliments this salad perfectly. Mayonnaise, sour cream, horseradish, fresh lemon juice, fresh dill, minced garlic, salt and pepper create a thick, creamy dressing. I think, no I know, my champagne vinaigrette 'rut' will be replaced by a creamy dill dressing one. Seriously, this dressing is insanely delicious. Already I am feeling anxious I will not be able to make this dressing year round as the fresh dill available in the summer isn't the same as what is sold here in the late fall, winter or spring. Maybe if I overdose on this creamy dill dressing this summer, I will need a reprieve for several months. 

There is nothing complicated or pretentious about this salad. Its' beauty and deliciousness are in its' simplicity, in its' rusticness. Fresh, raw vegetables and an easy to make creamy dill dressing create a feast for eyes salad even non-salad lovers will be drawn to. Be prepared to make this summer salad more than once as it may be the one salad everyone will be thrilled to see on the table when it makes repeated appearances. 

Summer Salad with Creamy Dill Dressing (inspired by recipes created by chef Sylvia Fountaine)

Lettuce (spring mix, arugula, spinach/spring mix)
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup cherry, baby heirloom or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 - 2 cups english cucumber, cut into pieces
3-4 carrots, peeled and julienned 
1 bunch of radishes, cut in half or quarters or half and quarters
1/2 lemon

Some other salad ingredient options:
1 red or 1 orange pepper diced
Jicama, peeled and julienned
Cauliflower or broccoli
Or select your favorite other in-season fresh vegetables 
Note: Select a total of 6-7 fresh, raw, in-seaon fresh vegetables. If looking to make this salad a little more hearty, add a row of cooked shrimp, lobster meat or lump crab meat.

Dressing (Recommend doubling the recipes if serving 4 or more people)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (recommend Duke's or Hellman's)
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh horseradish (found in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores)
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper

Whisk all of the ingredients together. Chill dressing for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavor to develop. 

1. Line a large rectangular or oval platter with greens.
2. Arrange cut vegetables in colorful pattern. Squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon over avocado (to prevent discoloration)
3. Serve with Creamy Dill Dressing on the side.

"We may run, walk, stumble, drive, or fly, but let us never lose sight of the reason for the journey, or miss a chance to see a rainbow on the way." 

One year while driving up to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) in Colorado, I caught sight of a rainbow. From my vantage point on the road I knew I wasn't going to be able to capture it on my camera. (I am one of those drivers continuously pulling over to the side of the road to take photos.) Knowing the rainbow has a relatively 'short' life, I impulsively decided to turn off the highway and get onto an unfamiliar road. In spite of not knowing where this road would lead, for some unexplained reason I thought might get me to a place with a better photographic angle. The hiking trails in RMNP weren't going anywhere and would be there when I got there, this particular rainbow, on the other hand, wasn't going to last indefinitely. The road didn't get me a better view, but it did bring me to a trail I had not been on before. 

My plan for the day had been to hike in RMNP, a place familiar to me, a place I felt safe hiking in alone. I have a rather active imagination (wild animals and mass murderers showing up out of nowhere creep up in my thoughts every now and then), so deciding whether or not to get on a 'new, not well researched, unfamiliar' trail wasn't an easy decision. I found myself spending more time on coming up with reasons why going on this unknown trail wasn't such a bright idea. Besides I had made a plan for the day and while the trail I was intending on hiking was new to me, there was comfort in being in a familiar place. I would like to say I had some epiphany about life, about being open to possibility, facing real (and self-created) fears, or about myself that guided my decision about what to do. But I didn't. I simply decided to not over think the 'which trail to hike' decision. I ended up taking the different, unplanned hike that day. It turned out to be one with some spectacular views of mountains and meadows. In addition to taking some great photos, my other takeaway for the day was thinking about we often spend the same amount of time and energy taking an unplanned journey as we do maintaining or staying in a familiar 'rut'. However, the difference between these two paths of self-discovery is the impact each makes in and on us.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Watermelon Martini

I have always believed, always felt there was something magical about the summer solstice, the longest day of the year marking the first day of astronomical summer. The magic associated with Midsummer's Eve and Midsummer's Day has been a part of Northern European celebrations, folklore, and legends as well as in literature for centuries. Three timeless pieces of literature standing the test of time (A Midsummer's Night Dream, The Tempest, and MacBeth) and written by 16th century poet and playwright Williams Shakespeare all had references to magic occurring on the night of the summer solstice. Yet, in spite of my (barely detectable) Swedish heritage and my exposure to the work of Shakespeare in my impressionable teenage years, I cannot seem to account for how, why or where this belief, these feelings of mine came from. However I find it reassuring to know there have been and continue to be so many summer solstice kindred spirits out there.

And speaking of spirits (the alcoholic in nature kind), what better way to celebrate the beginning of summer than with a Watermelon martini. Is this not what 'summer in a glass' was meant to be?

I love almost all of the fruits and vegetables of summer, but watermelon ranks as one of my favorites. And lately I have been eating more than my fair share of it. For me, watermelon has just the right amount of sweet and is just the right amount of refreshing, particularly on a hot, humid weather day. Botanicially watermelons are considered fruits (and are consumed as fruits), however, scientifically they are a member of the gourd family (which also makes them a vegetable). Hey, you never know when fruit/vegetable trivia may come in handy.

I didn't think it was possible to love this 'summer fruit, summer vegetable' more than I already do. Until the discovery of the juice of a watermelon combined with citron vodka, freshly squeezed lime juice, and Midori liqueur happened.

If watermelon is the ideal health food (it doesn't contain any fat or cholesterol, is high in fiber, Vitamins A and C, and a great source of potassium), should we give consideration to the possibility that the Watermelon Martini is the ideal 'healthy' martini? Okay, maybe it is a stretch to think anything containing alcohol is healthy, but in concept this sounds plausible. Doesn't it?

A seedless watermelon cut into chunks, pureed in a food processor, and then strained yields a most delicious watermelon juice. In the making of this martini, the cloudiness of the watermelon juice is greatly reduced if the pureed/strained juice is allowed to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before using. I was in too much of hurry to wait (patience was not a virtue today) so these photos show what a watermelon martini looks like without the wait time.

In addition to the watermelon juice, the martini's ingredients include ctiron vodka, Midori liqueur and freshly squeezed lime juice. If you have never had Midori before, it is a sweet, bright-green in color, muskmelon flavored liqueur. Some Watermelon Martini recipes call for the use of simple syrup (for added sweetness), but the Midori Liqueur adds more than a little sweetness, it adds a wonderful melon flavor to the martini. It compliments the flavor of the watermelon perfectly.

A small seedless watermelon will give you more than enough watermelon juice to make a batch of martinis for a small gathering. The basic Watermelon martini recipe calls for 3 ounces of watermelon juice, 2 ounces citron vodka, 1 ounce Midori Liqueur and 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice. All of the ingredients go into a martini shaker filled with ice. The shaken martini is poured into a martini glass rimmed with superfine sugar, then garnished with a wedge of watermelon (the wedge of watermelon is there to help give the impression of a healthy cocktail).

Celebrating the summer solstice was merely a convenient reason to make a Watermelon martini. But something this delicious doesn't need a reason to be made. Happy Summer.

Watermelon Martini

3 ounces strained, chilled watermelon juice (made from a small seedless watermelon)
2 ounces citron vodka (Absolut Citron or Grey Goose Citron)
1 ounce Midori (melon) liqueur 
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Superfine sugar (for rim)
Slice of watermelon for garnish

1. Puree chunks of a small watermelon in a food processor. Pour mixture into a strainer. Chill watermelon juice for at least one hour before using (the chilling is not a deal breaker, it only changes the finished look of the martini). Discard the pulp left in the strainer.
2. In a martini shaker filled with ice, add 3 ounces watermelon juice, 2 ounces citron vodka, 1 ounce Midori liqueur and 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice. Shake vigorously.
3. Pour martini into a superfine sugar rimmed martini glass. Garnish with a thin slice of watermelon.