Watermelon Margarita


Remember when you were a kid and summers seemed endless? When school would come to an end and you couldn’t even imagine that it would ever start up again? My childhood summers were like that. They were also hot, incredibly hot. Temperatures would routinely get above 110° F but we had no air conditioning to fight the heat. Just standing fans that seemed to blow non-stop during the whole summer, providing us with little to no relief. There were ice cold bottles of Coca Cola, rose-flavored ice cream, and jiggly jello desserts. There was the beach, the one we saw very few times each year, even though we lived on an island. This was the time before highways, when a trip from our home, in the middle of the island, to the beach took a long time and required meticulous preparations by my parents. These summers were filled with the sounds of crickets in the quiet, dense, and damp air that you could cut with a knife. The slow, lazy mornings were interrupted by the man with the pickup truck, driving from neighborhood to neighborhood and shouting over his megaphone: “Watermelons! I got watermelons!” We heard him before we saw him and his truck slowly driving down the road, its cab filled to the brim with enormous green-and-white, misshapen globes. Their bright red flesh would often be that night’s dinner, along with a slice of bread and a piece of halloumi cheese.

This year’s summer seemed anything but endless. It hadn’t even begun back in late June when I could feel the stress of its end bearing down on me. The weather has been mild, pretty close to perfect. The AC has kept even the hottest days at bay. There were no crickets and no rose-flavored ice cream. But there was watermelon. Perhaps disguised as a cold margarita, it can help you accept the summer’s end a little easier.



Watermelon Margarita

Makes 2 drinks


4 oz tequila
1.5 oz lime juice
1 oz Cointreau
fresh watermelon juice (see directions below)


To make watermelon juice, blend cubes of watermelon flesh (you can leave the seeds in) in blender until smooth. You can pass it through a fine mesh sieve to remove the blended seeds if you want. Or leave it in the fridge and the small bits of seed will sink to the bottom. Or you can just leave them in the juice.

Pour tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau in a shaker with ice cubes. Shake for a few seconds and strain in two tall glasses with ice. Top with watermelon juice.

Ultimate Chocolate Ice Cream

DSC02471I really don’t like flying. The loss of control (you’re hurtling through the air at 34,000 feet at unimaginable speeds!), the long periods of sitting down, the dry air and pressure differential (hello explosive sinus headache!), the forced proximity to other people (does your elbow have to rest on my ribs? is that Chanel No. “stale smoke and onions” you’re wearing? what part of I-am-wearing-headphones-so-that-I-don’t-have-to-talk–to-you do you not understand?), are only some of the pleasures of flying that I wouldn’t mind never having to experience again.

We flew back yesterday from Hilton Head Island where we visited Steve’s dad, brother, and sister-in-law. Since Hilton Head Island airport is smaller than a Walmart, the only planes that land there are tiny propeller ones. We got into one that supposedly would fly all the way to Washington D.C. It did, but only after it shook and tumbled as it landed enough to make me think about reaching for the barf bag twice. And then, when safely on the ground, I turned airport mode off on my phone to find a voicemail that – surprise! – our flight to New York was cancelled – thank you for flying US Airways – you are now scheduled to fly tomorrow at 9am – good luck.


Fortunately, a helpful agent booked us on a Delta flight which would arrive in New York at the same time as our cancelled flight. Then as soon as we sat down in that plane, two college girls sat behind us. And then one of them – tan, dirty blond hair, short shorts – took a really deep breath and started talking without.a.break for the entire flight. Have you read Kerouac’s “On the Road”? The stream of thought chain of words that never lets up? Like that, except less interesting and delivered in the sentence-as-a-question cadence of valley girl speak that continued on through the flight, through the deplaning, all the way into the terminal until the other girl (who barely managed a few “uh-huh”s and “yeah”s the entire time) ducked into a bathroom, presumably to escape.

Hopefully, your Memorial Day travels are a little less eventful. So, as we begin the summer season, I offer you this recipe for the ultimate chocolate ice cream. It’s got a couple of ingredients that are tougher to find and which you can replace. But if you find them, the result will be worthwhile. Almost worth flying for.

DSC02743Ultimate Chocolate Ice Cream

Note: Gianduja is an Italian chocolate spread that contains about 30% hazelnut paste. It comes in blocks and it’s solid, not liquid. If you can’t find it, use good quality milk chocolate instead. I like Sharfgen Berger Extra Rich Milk Chocolate. Also, if you can’t find malted milk powder you can omit it from the recipe, but try to find it. It makes a big difference.


2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons black cocoa
3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
125 gr sugar
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup malted milk powder
170g gianduja, chopped (or use good quality milk chocolate)
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Place the chopped gianduja (or milk chocolate) in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add the cream, cocoa, sugar, salt and malted milk powder. Whisk gently while heating over medium heat until combined. When the mixture comes to a boil, pour over chopped gianduja in bowl. Whisk until gianduja is completely melted and incorporated. Add milk and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Let it cool and chill, covered, in the refrigerator. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.