My Watermelon, my Melon Baller and I

My regular readers know how much I enjoy a food challenge. From friendly recipe challenges to figuring out what is the name of that exotic vegetable I bought at some ethnic grocery store with the illegible (to me) item sign, I have fun pushing my kitchen limits. So when I was asked to participate in a watermelon carving contest how could I resist!

Only problem is I have never carved a watermelon before. I must have a good 15 to 25 pumpkin carvings under my belt since my parents let me hold a knife, but a watermelon carving, this is a first. And the design must be original. OK time to roll-up the sleeves.

NWPB Color Horizontal copy My Watermelon, my Melon Baller and I

The National Watermelon Promotion Board was kind enough to supply a set of paring knives, a double ended melon baller (one round scoop and one v-shaped cutting tool) and a small watermelon. Thankfully we could get a different  watermelon then the one provided as it was too short for what I had in mind.

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I had sorbet on my mind, yep watermelon sorbet. Ever since I saw Emily Maloy’s post for a watermelon sorbet recipe I have been salivating for a cold spoonful of this sorbet. Now all I had to do was come up with a way to combine a carving and sorbet. Finally I had a vision for my submission for the Watermelon Blogger Carving Challenge. How about building an art deco inspired stage showcasing the watermelon sorbet? I can almost hear Bessie Smith sing.

watermelon My Watermelon, my Melon Baller and I

Yes, the Halloween pumpkin tradition was too strong, I had to incorporate a candle in there. Unlike a pumpkin though, watermelon gives off a gorgeous neon pink glow. What a great way to show case Cheap Ethnic Eatz, or CEE. I really liked my watermelon carving experience. Perhaps you think my Watermelon Sorbet Stage was a difficult and time consuming exercise but it was actually quite simple, as long as you mentally picture the architecture of your design.  Let me walk you though the steps…

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With the watermelon standing make a horizontal cut halfway up, then cut out your piece by making your vertical cut a bit further to the back then half way.

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With the v-shaped cutting tool I cut out an accordion pattern which would represent my stages background, very art deco and linear. Oh and I LOVE this tool, so easy to cut.

wmelon 007 My Watermelon, my Melon Baller and I

Next I drew my letters CEE with a marker and cut them out. My first cuts where at an inward 45 degree angle so they could pop out easily. Then I cut my lines clean. I turned my watermelon around and I cut out the place where my candle would be. I fleshed out the interior with the scoop melon baller carefully to have a thin flesh layer remaining where my letters were. I adore the pink color it gives off.

wmelon 009 400x300 My Watermelon, my Melon Baller and I

Finally I added a bit of decoration with the paring knives by cutting out 2 hearts on each side and cutting a thin line below the stage to give a floating floor effect. That is it. See! It was not that difficult.

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And now I have all this beautiful watermelon flesh left over for the sorbet. But before make a few pretty watermelon balls with the scoop tool.

Ξ Watermelon and Basil Sorbet Ξ
adapted from Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Ingredients:

4 cups pureed watermelon
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp fresh basil

Directions:

1. Puree watermelon with basil.
2. Boil 1 cup of the pureed watermelon with the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes, making a syrup, and allow it to cool completely.
3. Add to remaining pureed watermelon and and process for 25 minutes in an ice cream machine.
4. Freeze for 3 hours or up to overnight.

wmelon 012 My Watermelon, my Melon Baller and I

Place some sorbet balls on the stage, add a few melon balls and a couple of basil sprigs.

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And the final touch: light the candle and dim the lights! A natural electric pink neon light!

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A few watermelon health facts:

  • Watermelon has 92 per cent water content and is an excellent hydrator. So take some with you on your hike.
  • Watermelon is low in fat and cholesterol-free.
  • Watermelon is an excellent source of an important amino acid, citrulline. The human body uses citrulline to make another important amino acid – arginine – which plays a key role in cell division, wound healing and the removal of ammonia.
  • Watermelon contains high levels of the antioxidant lycopene – a 2 cup serving of watermelon contains 18.16 mg.
  • Watermelon is low in sodium and a source of potassium.
  • Watermelon is a good source of the following (per 250 mL or one-cup serving):
    • Vitamin C
    • Thiamine (vitamin B1)
    • Vitamin B6
    • Vitamin A

Thank you to The National Watermelon Promotion Board for hosting this great challenge and introducing me to the fun art of watermelon carving.

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