THE WASHINGTON POST – The thought of a half rock melon filled with cottage cheese gives me the warm-fuzzies.
That’s because my grandfather Burt, the man who taught me how to ride a bike, do long division, and that we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason, used to eat it regularly.
I remember how after his first bite he’d assess the melon’s sweet juiciness like a judge on a cooking competition show (which didn’t exist yet), and how when he ordered it at the diner it came with a maraschino cherry on top.
With peak season melon on hand, which my grandfather would have scored a 10 for its sweet juiciness, I decided to play around with the classic, healthful, fruit and cheese combo, turning it into a refreshing smoothie bowl.
To start, I seeded and cut the rind off the melon, then cut the flesh into chunks and froze them in a freezer bag. It turned out to be a better plan than I had imagined because the ultra-ripe melons I had would have otherwise probably gone bad before I could get to it all.
Once frozen I could use the melon as needed to make one, two or more portions of this recipe at a time. (You need a small blender to make a single portion).
To make the smoothie bowl, I whirred the melon in the blender with milk and a little ground cardamom, a spice that somehow makes melon taste even more melon-y.
I didn’t need any sweetener in mine, but if your melon is not quite a 10, go ahead and add a little honey to taste.
The trick with a smoothie bowl is to add a minimal amount of liquid to keep the mixture as thick and sorbet-like as possible. This typically requires stopping the blender several times to stir, and a little patience allowing the frozen fruit to soften a little on its own.
Once the beautiful, pastel orange mixture was smooth and frosty, I poured it into a bowl, put a mound of creamy cottage cheese in the centre, and then gave it a spark of lime zest and fresh torn mint leaves. If only you could have seen how my eyes widened with delight when I first tasted it! It is everything I had hoped it would be, an exciting new take on the classic combo, refreshingly frosty, but still able to elicit those warm-fuzzies.
ROCK MELON SMOOTHIE BOWL
– 14 ounces fresh rock melon chunks (one-inch pieces, from one large rock melon), frozen
– One cup whole or reduced-fat milk (may also use unsweetened plant-based milk), plus more as needed
– One-eighth teaspoon ground cardamom
– Honey (optional)
– Two-third cup regular or low-fat plain cottage cheese
– Two teaspoons torn fresh mint leaves
– Half teaspoon finely grated lime zest
Place the rock melon in a blender and let it soften slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the milk and cardamom and pulse until the mixture is smooth and has the texture of a loose sorbet.
You may need to stop the blender to stir/scrape with a spatula several times; add one to two more tablespoons of milk; and/or wait a few minutes for the melon to soften further, depending on the power of your blender. Depending on the sweetness of the rock melon, you can add honey to taste, pulsing a few more times to incorporate.
Divide the melon mixture between two shallow serving bowls. Add one-third cup of cottage cheese to the centre of each, then sprinkle with the mint and lime zest and serve.