This summer, we were thrilled to have two of the chef members of Les Dames d’Escoffier – Hawaii Chapter, a philanthropic organization of women from culinary-related professions, (our own founder, Jill, was a member for a while, and our marketing manager, Dawn, is a current member) teach a workshop called “Bold & Cold” on how to make cold soups and refreshing salads. It’s still super hot here in Hawaii, and our farmer partners at Twin Bridge just told us they put melons in the ground a few weeks ago, so these recipes are totally going to come in handy.
Dames Kai Cowell and Kathi Saks taught us how to make:
- Tangy Cucumber Soup (by Kai; it’s in her brand-new cookbook, Spices for Life, which we are selling at the Barn, and she’s got the recipe posted on her beautiful new website)
- Thai-Spiced Watermelon Soup (by Kathi; LDEI has shared the recipe on their website)
- Baby Arugula and Watermelon Salad with Macadamia Nuts, Inamona and Chevre, with Exotic Curry Dressing (salad by Kathi, dressing by Kai)
- Watermelon Salad with Pickled Watermelon Rind, Feta and Serrano Pepper Vinaigrette (by Kathi; see below, as she has generously allowed us to share her recipe)
You might remember Kai, on the left, from our first Farmers & Friends Friday. She is the owner of Kaiulani Spices, a line of locally produced, organic spices, which we sell at the Barn, and made some amazing dishes for our FFF event. In addition to her spices, and her new cookbook, we sell her Curry Jasmine Rice mix, which was a big hit that day, and is one of her most popular dishes. She’ll be back at the Barn later this fall to do a book signing and demo for her new book.
We loved that Kathi taught how to make Pickled Watermelon Rind, because it’s a great way to make use of ALL of the watermelon. It’s a tasty treat, and means less food waste. The Dames believe in support local farmers, and asked us to procure as much of the ingredients for them as we could from Island farmers. In addition, the goat cheese in the salad came from our North Shore neighbor, Sweet Land Farm. We love Emma’s cheeses!
In addition to the recipe demonstrations, Kathi and Kai gave tips on proper knife techniques, overall kitchen pointers and also educated attendees on how hot and cold temperatures affect how we taste. The Dames will be posting more about what was covered in the workshop on their website. Be sure to check it out. (They offer a lot of great educational events.)
Thank you, Kathi and Kai, for teaching this fantastic workshop! We hope to offer more cooking demonstrations like this in the future.
Do you have something you’d like to learn? Let us know!
Oahu Watermelon Salad with Pickled Watermelon Rind, Sweet Land Farms Feta and Serrano Vinaigrette
by Kathi Saks
Note: Adapted from Five & Tan
The longer you let the vinaigrette stand, the spicer the kick from the chilies. The dressing calls for a good deal of fresh thyme, but don’t let it scare you, you will love the results.
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup shallot, finely chopped
- 1 2-inch Serrano or Thai chili, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 6-pound watermelon (seedless)
- 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Big Island Bees honey
- 1/4 pound local baby arugula or mizuna
- 1/2 pound Sweet Land Farms feta
- 1 2-inch Serrano or Thai chili, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)
Make the vinaigrette first: Whisk together the olive oil, Champagne vinegar, lime juice, shallots, chilies, thyme and salt. Chill overnight in an airtight container for at least 8 hours to allow the flavors to develop. Shake or whisk before using.
Prepare the watermelon and pickled rind: Remove and discard the outer green skin from the watermelon with a sharp knife. Using a vegetable peeler, shave enough 2-inch long pieces from the white rind to measure 1/2 cup. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Reserve remain watermelon. Stir together the rice vinegar and honey in a 1 – quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Carefully pour boiling hot vinegar mixture over the white rind shavings and let stand at least 1 hour. Trim and discard remaining white rind from watermelon, then cut into 18 pieces (about 3-inch squares).
Make the salad: Toss arugula or mizuna with just enough vinaigrette to coat and salt to taste. Plate the greens and place watermelon on top with Sweet Land Farm feta sprinkled around. Remove pickled rind from vinegar with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Top watermelon with pickled rind and chili slices (if so desired) and then drizzle remaining vinaigrette around salad.