Cherry Watermelon Wedge Salad

By Libbie Summers
Photography by Teresa Earnest
Assisted by David Dempsey

When my son was young, he called a watermelon wedge diced in the rind “fancy melon”. In toddler Jenga fashion, his tiny fingers would strategically pull out the diced pieces from the rind bringing on contagious juicy giggles.

With a few simple cuts, the humble watermelon wedge will instantly become “fancy” in the eyes of any guests at your table. And, topped with this simple fruit salsa, salty feta and crunchy pistachios…it’s extra fancy.
Summer Salads, Watermelon Salad, Cherry Salsa, Summer Entertaining
Cherry Watermelon Wedge Salad
ripe melon, cherry salsa, feta, pistachios, lime finish
Serves 4

What you need:
4 watermelon wedges (about 6-8 inches long and 3-4 inches wide at the rind)
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and roughly chopped (feel free to sub any fruit here, it all works!)
¼ jalapeno, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 juicy lime
Flake sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
Olive oil for drizzling

What to do:
1. Prepare cherry salsa: Cut the lime in half. Cut one half into wedges and set aside for serving. In a small bowl, stir together the cherries, jalapeno, cilantro and juice of ½ lime. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Prepare watermelon: The way these wedges are diced in the rind and served from it, is what   makes this summer salad a show stopper! Working with one wedge at a time, start your cuts from the peak of the watermelon wedge, make vertical slices 1-inch wide just down to the rind (don’t cut through the rind). Next, with your knife at a 45-degree angle, make horizontal cuts about 1-inch wide on one side of the wedge working from the peak to the rind without slicing through the rind. Spin to the other side of the wedge and repeat the process. Finally, run your knife along the rind of the wedge.
To Serve: Place one watermelon wedge on each plate pulling out a few of the pieces of melon slightly to give a “shelf” for the salsa to land on. Spoon salsa over each wedge. Top each with feta and pistachios. Drizzle with olive oil and finish with a pinch of salt. Serve with a lime wedge on the side.
Summer Salads, Watermelon Salad, Cherry Salsa, Summer Entertaining, Fancy Salad
Event Design, Party Design, Magnolias, Watermelon, A food-inspired life,

Dad Dogs!

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

Every dog and every dad has his day. Check out the fun I had creating the perfect hot dog topping for every dad persona and up your hot dog game this summer!

Libbie Summers, A Food-inspired LIfe, Hot Dogs, Fathers Day, Dad Dogs, Dad, Hot Dog Toppings, Toppings, Summer, July, Fourth of July, Backyard Cookout

The Athletic Dad:
grilled turkey hot dog, spicy mustard, sliced avocado, fresh basil leaves, sliced tomato, drizzle of olive oil and pinch of salt on a whole wheat bun.
Hot Dogs, Summer Food, Libbie Summers

The Drinker Dad: 
beer steamed 100% beef hotdog, whole grain mustard, onions and kraut on a pretzel roll. 
Summer Hot Dogs, Fancy Hot dogs, Father's Day, Summer Food, A food-inspired life,

The Absentee Dad:
plain hot dog, white bun and no condiments. 

My Two Dads:
grilled turkey hot dog, sir kensington’s chipotle mayo, edible flowers, herbs and a brioche bun. 
Hot Dogs, Food Styling, Summer Foods, a food-inspired life, Libbie summers

The Professor Dad (my dad) (top dog in photo and in life): 
steamed Vienna Beef® hot dog, mustard, relish, onion, tomato, sport pepper and celery salt on a poppy seed bun.
Fancy Hot Dogs, Libbie Summers, Summer Food, Grilling Food, Food Styling,

4 Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed Ideas

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

Low Calorie, Vegetarian, Gluten Free and Bacon Lovers!! A breakfast in bed idea for every mother out there. Happy Mother’s Day!!

Rubbed Roast Tenderloin of Beef with Sweet Strawberry Mashed Potatoes

by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong for Savannah Magazine
Hosted at Grove Point Plantation
Assisted by David Dempsey, Candace Brower, Anthony Lunnsman
Benefiting The Fresh Air Home

My secret to the best beef tenderloin in the world involves pork!

Rubbed Roast Tenderloin of Beef with Sweet Strawberry Mashed Potatoes
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 (3-pound) tenderloin of beef, trimmed and tied
2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
Flake sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sweet Strawberry Mashed Potatoes (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Prep the tenderloin by rubbing the outside of it with the bacon fat and seasoning liberally with salt and pepper. Bring a large oven-proof skillet to blazing hot oven high heat. Add the tenderloin and sear all sides until a rich brown. Then place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook until the temperature resisters 130°F when a meat thermometer is inserted into the thickest part. Remove the tenderloin from the oven to rest.
To make the balsamic drizzle: remove tenderloin to a cutting board and place the skillet with the renderings over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and cook, stirring, until mixture thickens.
To serve, slice the tenderloin and serve alongside Sweet Strawberry Mashed Potatoes. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

 

Sweet Strawberry Mashed Potatoes
Serves 6

Ingredients:
3 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped white chocolate
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup strawberries, stemmed and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add the 1 teaspoon salt to the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream and butter just until the butter has melted. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the hot cream mixture and the white chocolate. Using a potato masher, mash the potato mixture to your desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the strawberries and thyme.

Strawberries, Spring, Dinner Party, Flowers, Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life

Before and After: Spring Onions and Waffles

Recipe and Styling by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong

Spring Onions…before.
Garden Vegetables, Spring Onions, Onions, Food Photography, Food Styling, Libbie Summers, Chia Chong

Spring Onions…after. 
Breakfast recipes, Waffle Recipes, Savory Waffles, Libbie Summers, Chia Chong,
Savory Spring Onion and Pancetta Waffles
(maple butter, sea salt)
makes 5/serves 4 for breakfast or dinner/serves 20 for an appetizer

Ingredients:
1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
½ teaspoon sugar
3 cups All-Purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 ¼ cups milk
½ cup melted butter
3 eggs, separated
4 ounces diced and cooked pancetta
3 spring onions diced, green and white parts
Maple Butter (recipe to follow)
Sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:
In a small mixing bowl or glass measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in sugar and allow mixture to sit until it begins to bloom (foam). In a large mixing bowl, stir the flour with the salt and pepper. Whisk in the yeast mixture, milk, butter and egg yolks until smooth.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold them into the batter and let stand for 20 minutes. Just before cooking, fold in the pancetta and spring onions.

Preheat the oven to 200ºF

Prepare a waffle iron by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and heat. Pour 1 1/4 cups of the batter into the iron and cook until the waffles are golden, 6 minutes. Transfer the waffles to the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with a dollop of Maple Butter on top and sprinkle with sea salt.

Maple Butter
yields about 1 cup

1 cup Irish butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons good maple syrup

Directions:
In a small mixing bowl, stir all ingredients together. Serve with warm Savory Spring Onion and Pancetta Waffles.

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