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Watermelon adds delicious flavor

Quick, name the all-time favorite summer melon? If you screamed out watermelon, you and just about everyone else probably yelled the same word.

To get the best, sweetest and most delicious watermelon, you need to really check out the melon before you buy it. You want a melon that is firm, fairly symmetrical and free of bruises, lumps, bumps, cuts or dents.

Your watermelon should be heavy; heavier than you think it should be. A watermelon is about 90 percent water and water is heavy. The bottom of your melon should have a white-ish/yellow spot where it sat on the ground. If this spot is soft, avoid the melon. Thump it with you forefinger. You should hear a distinct thunk.

So pick a good one. In fact, get two – they go fast.

Watermelon Lime Fizz

6 to 7 cups seedless watermelon chunks, divided

4 to 5 tablespoons limeade concentrate, divided

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided

1 1/2 to 2 cups crushed ice

1 to 1 1/2 cups club soda

Lime slices and strawberries for garnish (optional)

In a blender combine 1/2 of the watermelon chunks, 2 tablespoons limeade concentrate and the lime juice. Process to combine and pour into a pitcher. Repeat with the remaining watermelon, limeade and lime juice. Add the ice and club soda and mix to combine. Serves 8.

Note: You can omit a 1/3 cup of the club soda and substitute vodka or gin if you want to give this drink a bit of a kick.

Watermelon Bruschetta

2 cups diced watermelon

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons minced green onions

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil

Loaf of crusty Italian or French bread cut into 1/2 -inch slices

1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)

In a bowl combine the watermelon, feta, green onions, parsley, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cool for at least 20 minutes.

Prepare grill or preheat broiler. In a bowl combine the oil and garlic and then brush it on one side of the slices. Place the bread, oil side up on a cookie sheet and cook 5 to7 minutes or until golden. Remove immediately, do not overcook. Let cool to room temperature.

To serve, place the bread rounds on a serving plate and mound about a tablespoon of the watermelon mixture on top. You can garnish with additional minced parsley. Makes 12 to 16 depending on the size of the loaf of bread.

Taboule Watermelon and Chicken

2 packages, taboule, prepared according to the package (I use vegetable broth)

1 red bell pepper, minced

6 green onions, sliced thin

2 cans sliced water chestnuts; drained and chopped (you can substitute three or four stalks of celery, diced)

Salt and pepper to taste

12 1/2 inch -thick triangles of seedless watermelon

6 grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 12 thighs, chilled and sliced

6 tablespoons of ready-made raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing

In a bowl combine the cooked and cooled taboule with the minced red pepper, green onions and water chestnuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place a watermelon slice on each of six plates. Spoon half of the taboule mixture over the slices. Place another slice of watermelon over the taboule.

Spoon the remaining taboule over the top slices of watermelon and then place the sliced chicken on top.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon of dressing over the top of each plate and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at ztlog@frontier.net or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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