Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. ET — with photos and your story behind the dish — and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) Please note that by participating, you are giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all the words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.
This week, we asked for your most refreshing ways to eat watermelon.
THIS WEEK'S WINNER:
Watermelon-Cucumber Gazpacho, by Linda Shiue: Inspired by the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's insistence that gazpacho is a kind of magic potion, Linda brings us into the fantasy of summer. With both watermelon and gazpacho introduced to Spain by the Moors, why couldn't one have ended up in the other? What results is a soup that's sweet, tart and savory, accenting both the sweetness of the watermelon meat and the vegetal character of the white rind.
THIS WEEK'S CATEGORY WINNERS:
In the East Meets West Meets South category:
Ginger-Soy Marinated Tuna with Watermelon, by Lucy Mercer: Making a Japanese-Hawaiian classic Georgian, Lucy adds cubes of watermelon to this dish of raw marinated tuna. And why not? The crisp, juicy bite of the fruit is a perfect contrast to salty, tender, minerally tuna. Oh, and in case you were wondering, she also shows you the proper (or at least the real-life) way to choose a Georgia watermelon.
In the Break Out the Melon-Baller category:
Sweet-Tart Melon Salad, by Boomer Bob: Mixing cold melons with the complexity of honey, vinegar and spices, this salad is an unexpected and delicious way to refresh your table.
In the Sweet and Salty category:
Watermelon Salad with Feta, Mint and Lime, by Lschmoopie: This salad really can hardly be simpler, but with four ingredients, it hits the sweet, the salty, the juicy, the tart, and the herbal. Can you want more than that?
In the Light Lunch category:
Chilled Tomato-Watermelon Soup with Shrimp, by Lisa Kuebler: From seed-spitting as a child to getting drunk on vodkamelons in college to eating her weight in them when pregnant, Lisa and watermelon have been friends forever. Here, she pairs them with summer vegetables and shrimp for a satisfying and refreshing lunch.
PLUS, ALSO, TOO: THE EXCELLENT HONORABLE MENTIONS
Watermelon Beets Up Your Salad, by Cyndi Baker: In addition to the finest title of the week, Cyndi works up a salad of watermelon, beets, oranges and spicy nuts that's refreshing and earthy at once.
Watermelon and Seared Halloumi Cheese, by Fusun Atalay: Playing on the pleasures of sweet and salty, Fusun offers several variations on the fruit with salty, satisfying cheeses, plus a charming Turkish folk tale about what happens when you challenge the divine on the size of watermelons.
Watermelon Pico de Gallo, by Grace Hwang Lynch: Taking a cue from Mexican vendors in her neighborhood, Grace suggests cutting your watermelon into bite-size cubes and dressing them liberally with lime juice and cayenne pepper for a kick and a burn to complement the cool sweetness of the fruit.
Tomato-Watermelon Gazpacho, by Coogansbluf: Adding the melon to the tomatoes rather than substituting them, Coogansbluf comes up with a more savory take on the fruit soup.
Mexican Watermelon-Tamarind Cooler (Agua Fresca), by Paul Hinrichs: Taking inspiration from traditional Mexican aguas frescas — drinks made from diluted fruit juices, sparked up with lime — Paul combines watermelon juice with the inexorable sweet-sour flavor of tamarind.
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AND NOW FOR THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE:
I had fantastic chilled pea soup for lunch the other day, served with a nice little scoop of lemony frozen yogurt (really!), a respite from the post-thunderstorm steam outside. And with multiple watermelon gazpacho entries this week, record-breaking heat all over the world (did you know 2010 is on track to be the hottest year on record?), and summer produce in full swing, signs point to more chilled soups.
So this week, share with us your favorite, most refreshing, most unusual cold soups.
Be sure to tag your posts: SKC cold soup (Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all the words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. Adaptations of existing recipes are fine, but please let us know where the original comes from. And if you'd like to participate but not have your post considered for republication on Salon, please note it in the post itself. Thanks!)
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, execution, and strong avoidance of the word "chillax."