Monday, August 27, 2012

Melon madness

One amusing question that I'm often asked about the first issue of sated is "What's the easiest recipe inside?" When developing the magazine, Anita and I talked extensively about making sure that we included a good range of recipes, from easy, super-simple dishes to more sophisticated, complex affairs. We wanted sated to be the kind of magazine that would inspire you to jump into the kitchen quickly and grow with over time. While the dark chocolate issue involves several more involved recipes--including Anita's multi-layered mocha praline opera cake masterpiece, its simplest recipes are truly incredibly simple (to the point of being nearly effortless) but also quite delicious. The easiest? Melon with roasted cacao nib, from our chocolate-filled breakfast in bed spread.

Melon with Roasted Cacao Nibs
1 - 2 Tbspn raw cacao nibs
1 cantaloupe or other orange-flesh melon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the cacao nibs on a baking sheet. Roast the nibs for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and crush the nibs. Slice the melon and sprinkle with the crushed roasted cacao nibs.
(from sated, v0.1: the dark chocolate issue) 

The initial inspiration for this recipe comes from a summertime treat that my family eats in Taiwan: thick, juicy slices of ice-cold watermelon sprinkled with dried plum powder. The dried plum powder is salty and sour, which makes the watermelon taste even sweeter and more refreshing. Roasted cacao nibs with melon is a chocolate spin on this idea, with the cacao nibs adding crunchy texture and a deep, rich nuttiness to the sweet, supple melon flesh. I like the cacao nibs best with orange-flesh melons that the markets are bursting with right now: cantaloupes, charentais, ambrosia... and the list goes on with all the heirloom varieties that are popping up these days.

Experimenting with the cacao nibs has opened up a whole new world of toppings-on-melons possibilities for me. In lieu of roasted cacao nibs, shards of shaved dark chocolate are also an excellent option, adding a touch of decadence to fruit so that you could serve this as the sweet end to a late summer/early fall dinner. For watermelon (red or yellow), a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt captures the salty allure of the Taiwanese dried plum powder--smoked sea salt is another interesting twist. When I don't have plum powder around, I've also taken to adding a pinch of cayenne pepper (with or without salt) on top of watermelon slices, for a surprising bit of spicy kick. And, if you want to try the original inspiration, dried plum powder should be available at Asian supermarkets (not to mention it also goes fabulously with cherry tomatoes!).

As for sated news, during the summer, we were featured in two interviews all about the creation of sated--catch up on them here and here. Right now, we are deep in the midst of working on our second issue, which will be packed full of awesome autumn and winter recipes and stories. Stay tuned for more news in the coming weeks, and don't forget to follow us on facebook and twitter to get of-the-moment updates!

x, Stephanie

(photos by Stephanie Shih)


Unknown said...

it looks delicious and super easy for sure :) looking forward to seeing the 2nd issue

Mela e Cannella said...

Love it!!! =)

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