Watermelon, Feta, and Mint Salad

I know it has been quite awhile since I have posted but please let me sweeten you up with a delicious, refreshing salad recipe sure to entice your tastebuds!

My sister and mom recently came to NYC to visit and explore, and for me that meant making a long list of restaurants I wanted to try and things I wanted to eat. And one of those locations was a hip rooftop place known as Hotel Chantelle. Now, I have been here before and I know how rockin’ their brunch us. But I wanted my sister to try it too, and they had changed their menu recently anyway so there was no reason for me not to make a repeat visit. And I am so glad I did because of this little creation:

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Delicious looking, right?

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My sister Corinne peering over the wonderful tower of YUM.

This little salad inspired my mom, my sister, and I to make a little watermelon n’ feta salad of our own. And with the excuse of a family dinner party we made our salad a tad bigger.

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This watermelon salad recipe incorporates watermelon (obviously), feta, mint, and balsamic glaze. The flavor profile is absolutely phenomenal. My mouth is watering just typing out the ingredient list. And if that wasn’t enough, watermelon is a good source of vitamins A, B6, and C, mint helps to aid digestion, and feta supplies a source of calcium! Plus it’s a beautiful mix of color and texture sure to please any dinner party. I know it’s late in the month of August but savor this salad and you’ll remember that summer isn’t over yet.

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Watermelon, Feta & Mint Salad 

Ingredients

  • Watermelon, sliced into large cubes
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Mint leaves
  • Basalmic glaze

Directions

The beauty of this recipe is that there are no “set” amounts that I would recommend for each ingredient. It is really as easy as chopping your watermelon, sprinkling feta and mints leaves on top, and drizzling balsamic glaze! I guess if I had to pick a ratio, I would do 2 cups of chopping watermelon with 1-2 tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese and 1-2 tablespoons mint. Then I would top that with 1-2 teaspoons of glaze. Feel free to experiment with ratios and adding new ingredients…get creative!

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Home Sweet (Thai-food filled) Home

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The past two days have been extremely relaxing and comforting for me. Nothing beats being home. As much as I enjoy my city life, I was ready to get a break from the craziness of it all. Going back to Cali for a few days is just what I needed. I have spent a lot of time lying around the house, catching up with old friends, and running in the fresh mountain air.

Another thing I have been doing a lot of is eating. Whenever I come home, my parents spoil me with a smorgasbord of food. My dad cooks every Persian meal I could ever imagine, and some I did not even know existed. My mom is currently into make meals using the fresh produce in her vegetable garden. We are talking lots of fresh tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and eggplant. Every meal in this household is a feast. And you thought Thanksgiving was only one day in November.

Anyways, with leftovers from dinner comes creative food options for lunch. And my brother Marco and I were craving Thai.

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I never could have anticipated my infatuation with Thai food. I was first introduced to this lovely cuisine on a family trip to Thailand. I was in the eighth grade at the time, and my initial fear of the spicy, sweet, and unique dishes gave way to an adoration of all things Thai. My love for Thai cuisine has led to regular visits at Thai restaurants and frequent cooking experiments with Thai ingredients.

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That’s where this sandwich comes in. I took the usual suspects found in Thai cuisine (sweet chili sauce, peanuts, scallions) and incorporated them into the cheesiest, gooiest, most delectable sandwich that has even come out of the family panini press. Let’s put it this way, my chatterbox of the brother said not a word as he devoured his Thai panini. Yep, this panini is that good. It comes highly recommended, from my household to yours!

Thai Chicken Panini (serves 2)

Ingredients for Panini

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 mozzarella ball
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 4 Tbsp Thai Peanut Sauce (see below)
  • 4 large slices Sourdough bread
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium tomato (optional)

Thai Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp ground fresh chili paste
  • 2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Grill and slice the chicken breasts. Set aside. 
  2. Heat panini press to medium heat. Butter one side of each sourdough slice.
  3. For the Thai Peanut Sauce (which I will warn you is irresistibly good), combine all the ingredients for the sauce and mix well. 
  4. Place one sourdough slice butter side down on panini press. Spread 1 tablespoon of the Thai Peanut Sauce on sourdough. Next, layer the mozzarella and chicken on top. drizzle another tablespoon of Thai Peanut Sauce over the chicken. Top with shredded carrot, scallions, and tomatoes (optional ingredient). Place another layer of mozzarella and the other slice of sourdough on top. 
  5. Close panini press and warm the sandwich on medium heat until the cheese is nice and melty (the trick is to go low and slow…be patient!)
  6. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients for the other sandwich. Serve with fresh cilantro and extra peanut sauce. 

My sister’s got cooking skills

I am currently writing this post while in the most blissful state. The post-breakfast state, that is. The “I am perfectly full and feel like I could have energy for days” sort-of state. There is truly nothing better than a good first meal of the day in my opinion. Starting out the day on a healthy and wholesome note kick starts the body into gear, and because of my delicious meal I feel like I could take on the world (at least until lunchtime rolls around).

My sister and mom and both currently in town visiting me and exploring the big city. We have done so much already and they have truly only been here one full day so far. We’ve walked, we’ve shopped, we’ve ate, and we’ve been having marvelous time!

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Today my sister was feeling inspired and decided to make us breakfast. She had a dish in mind, and with that vision we trekked to the grocery store to buy some missing ingredients (fresh-baked bread and eggs). With these ingredients, and some fresh produce, my sister created this: the open-faced breakfast sandwich.

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I must say I am so impressed by my sister’s culinary skills. Here was the girl who I could not pay to eat breakfast in high school making me a delicious breakfast while I sipped my morning coffee (correction: I drank that coffee like it was my last…and I still tell myself I don’t have a caffeine addiction).

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This breakfast is just too easy not to make. With fresh produce and a little time at the stove, you too can reach a content state of breakfast 

Open-Faced Breakfast Sandwich (makes 3 sandwiches)

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 slices of Sourdough
  • 3 slices of mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 1 medium-sized tomato
  • 3 Tbsp butter

Directions:

Cook eggs over-easy over a skillet of medium heat. Butter the sourdough slices on both sides and place them on a large skillet. When one side has slightly browned, flip over the toast slices and place mozzarella slices on the toasted side to allow the cheese to melt. When the sourdough is fully toasted, take it off the skillet and place it on a plate. Stack basil leaves, tomato slices, and cooked egg on top of the toast. Sprinkle fresh pepper on top, if desired.