Tuesday, July 31, 2012

halloumi, cucumber, watermelon, and fennel seed salad

By Julie

I'm done! I'm done I'm done I'm done! No more 60 hours/week at my desk job plus the many other hours I put into Gathered! That really took it out of me. I felt like I was back in school, what with all of the 5 hour/night sleeps. Bleh, I do NOT do well with that. Some people seem to. I suppose there's a bit of variation among people, but I'm betting that they are just used to subsisting on a general level of Suck. So when level Suck is elevated to Suck Less after they get 6 hours of sleep, they think "hm, this is nice". Whereas me, I'm at level Awesome for most days and level Suck Less feels like level Total and Complete Shit.
Despite being a mega crab, I still made this lovely salad. Just for you. And me, because I ate lots. And because I needed another excuse to put more watermelon into my life. It's not even good this time of year. Not stopping me. One day, possibly this summer, I will make it my goal to eat an entire watermelon. The only hindrance to completing that goal is self respect. Bah. Halloumi , as I've mentioned before is wonderful. So, so wonderful. In general, I'm rather cheese indifferent. I don't not like it, but like, cubes of cheese on a cheese tray don't do much for me. I'll eat all of the grapes in the middle, but yeah. Browned cheese, on the other hand. OH HELLO. It's the best. Then, if the cheese happens to be deliciously salty, then HELLO AGAIN! I LOVE YOU! A deliciously salty, browned, sheep's milk cheese? YES PLEASE!
I switched gyms. I didn't want to switch, I just couldn't hack the long drive anymore. Initially I lived closer to the gym's original location, but then I moved east and then they moved west, and then my new job isn't convenient to it at all. And I just hate driving so much; I want to bike. So, bleh. It felt like moving to a new school, or how I imagine moving to a new school would have felt like back in grade school. Sad. So now I go to mega gym. It's real fancy. And one of the owners just won the Southwest CrossFit Regionals (the other came in 6th). So, we'll see. So far I really miss my old gym and all my friends. This one's much more serious. I'm not sure they appreciate my hilarity and antics. Then again, perhaps I'll benefit from some strictness.
Although I really like the simplicity of this salad, you could get creative. Sub cumin seeds for the fennel seeds, mint for the tarragon, use blackberries for the watermelon, add tomatoes, red onions, etc. Definitely try it as is, because it's really awesome, but just sayin'. The halloumi is worth it. I mean, I guess you could do feta. And not pan fry it. And make me cry. That's fine. The proportions of each ingredient are kind of up to you. I like more watermelon and cucumber to cheese, but Joe would have preferred a salad composed of nearly entirely cheese. Fancy that.
halloumi, watermelon, and cucumber salad
adapted from Ripe, by Cheryl Sternman Rule

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
8 ounces halloumi, sliced lengthwise into 1/3 inch slices
2 cucumbers
1/4 - 1/2 watermelon, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh tarragon

1. Whisk the vinegar, oil, and garlic together in a medium serving bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. In a small, dry skillet, toast the fennel seeds over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking around a bit, until fragrant. Put into the dressing bowl.

3. With the same skillet, heat to medium high. Add the halloumi and brown for about two minutes per side. Set aside.

4. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, scrape the seeds out. The slice them widthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices and add to the serving bowl.

5. Add the watermelon cubes and tarragon to the serving bowl. Tear the cheese into pieces, add to the bowl, and toss everything to coat.

Adjust any seasonings to taste and serve! Or eat right out of the bowl...
This was originally posted at my blog, the crankin' kitchen!

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