Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Minty Peach and Watermelon Salad with Feta Cheese

Watermelon Peach Feta Salad (0005) by Meeta K. Wolff 

My dad always says that I “steal time”. Steal time from a packed day to do things that relax me. I call them “islands” that I integrate throughout the day when doing chores or working on projects.

My islands can be anything from a quick walk down by the stream inhaling the fragrance of the flowers and fields, relaxing on the bench in the yard while listening to the chorus of birds or a long warm shower washing the weariness away. Meditation for my mind and soul, it just takes a few minutes, but it leaves me feeling rejuvenated and gives me the power to accomplish the next chore.

Watermelon Peach Feta Salad (0003) by Meeta K. Wolff

Working in the kitchen, preparing and chopping food provides me with ample opportunity to get lost on my wistful islands. It was Eihei Dogen who wrote in his document titled “Instructions to the Head Cook,” in 13th century Japan:

“When you prepare food, do not see with ordinary eyes and do not think with ordinary mind.”

This quote has inspired and motivated me many times throughout my training in the hotel kitchens. Now more than ever however, this quote has come to mean so much more. As a photographer working, preparing and styling food almost everyday I see food from a distinctive perspective and think about food in an unconventional way. When I am in the kitchen chopping and preparing food I steal this time to transport myself to one of my “islands”.

Watermelon Peach Feta Salad (0009) by Meeta K. Wolff 

Looking at food from the eyes of a stylist or a food photographer allows me to be creative and imaginative. Dogen actually says, in his instruction to the cook, that one should bring three minds to work in the kitchen: Joyful Mind, Grandmother Mind, and Big Mind.

I take these three minds one step further and bring them with me into my studio everyday.

Watermelon2011 (001) By Meeta K. Wolff

Joyful Mind brings some fun and enjoyment into the kitchen. I open a bottle of wine, put on the music and create a fun atmosphere. Soeren usually joins me and soon we are singing into whisks and wooden spoons while the pots and pans sizzle to life.

Big Mind says the mind should be wide open and accepting things as they are. It indicates an awareness of reality that transcends the merely personal, or wholly subjective. For me I translate that as being open minded and creative in the kitchen or in the studio without getting bound down to the routine.

Grandmother Mind is the mind of great compassion and of acceptance. For me personally this frame of mind goes hand-in-hand with food planning, cooking and enjoying home cooked meals with friends and family. We all know what a big pinch of love and affection our grandmothers put into their dishes. And don’t those dishes always taste downright delicious?

Watermelon Peach Feta Salad (0004) by Meeta K. Wolff

How did these three minds help in creating this salad?

My joyful mind was looking for a splash of color and a mélange of fruity flavors in a light dish.
My big mind accepted the fact that I came back from Plate to Page with one of two watermelons that we never got around to using. We could have cut it up and eaten it but using the big mind I looked into my fridge and accepted the contents as they were to create a slightly different summer salad.
My grandmother mind worked in two ways: I threw a small party and invited friends to share my creation and for my friends in the virtual life, I engaged them in my watermelon addiction by getting them to complete a Plate to Page photography assignment on the Plate to Page Facebook page.

Recipe: Minty Peach and Watermelon Salad with Feta Cheese

Printable version of recipe here

 Minty Watermelon and Peach Feta Salad by Meeta K. Wolff

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
For the salad

  • 100 g lambs lettuce
  • 200g watermelon, cut into cubes
  • 120g peaches, cut in half then sliced
  • 60g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • Black and Pink peppercorns, coarsely crushed
For the vinaigrette
  • 2-3 tablespoon clear honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. In a large mixing bowl place lambs lettuce, mint leaves, watermelon, peaches, tomatoes and crushed peppercorn in a bowl and toss gently.

  2. In a smaller bowl whisk together ingredients for vinaigrette until thick and creamy. Set aside

  3. Portion the salad onto plates, sprinkle the crumbled feta and drizzle some vinaigrette over the top.

Notes: Lambs lettuce wilts very quickly so be sure to serve the vinaigrette separately if you are making this ahead.

Verdict

Watermelon Peach Feta Salad (0007) by Meeta K. Wolff

This salad adds a burst of color to your day and a boost of exceptional flavors. Fruity and savory flavors are something I absolutely love combining with each other and this salad really gets those flavors mingling. Juicy and sweet ripe peach and delectable watermelon tossed together with a colorful array of tomatoes and some lambs lettuce and finally topped of with soft and crumbly feta cheese. A simple honey-mustard vinaigrette complements the flavor palette wonderfully.

Last weekend the fantastic Neel of Learn Food Photography got Jeanne, Jamie, Ilva and me together and interviewed us on food photography, writing and of course From Plate to Page. We warned him that it might take all he had to keep us in line – but he managed and we had a lot of fun. The panel interview can be heard on Neel’s interview page soon. Hope you enjoy it.

In the meantime I hope you all have a great week and a relaxing weekend. Soeren has a solo guitar performance this weekend at our local Irish Pub! So please cross your fingers for him. He’ll be playing his first a-ha song … I am so excited!   

You might like these fresh salad ideas from WFLH:

Creamy Red Peppercorn Coleslaw Roasted Aubergine Salad with Saffron Yogurt, Pine Nuts and Pomegranate Garlicky Marinated Halloumi Cheese with a Roasted Tomato Quinoa Salad


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2011 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

35 comments :

  1. I absolutely love watermelon and feta salad. Soo many lovely flavors packed into one bowl.

    Your pictures are just outstanding as usual.

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  2. I like those quotes, that philosophy I guess is something I tend to follow normally but I think being concious of it will really make a huge difference.

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  3. Beautiful - I love the idea of different "minds" entering the kitchen - using all three is sure to create a memorable fun and tasty experience :) The salad looks gorgeous, will def. have to try that combination of peaches, watermelons, tomatoes and feta!

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  4. Nice flavors going there Meeta...have never tried peaches in a salad must give it a shot. I agree with the diff minds.I think it results in beautiful food!

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  5. I love the idea of different minds Meeta.. :) Not sure what my mind was thinking when I made my watermelon dish but still... I totally love your salad and ofcourse your styling. I'm practicing just about every day with some styling-assignment that I set myself (it was breakfast this morning) but I still struggle with it! But your tips are certainly helping me a lot.. Good luck to Soeren on his A-ha performance! Wish I could listen in!

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  6. A delightfully summery salad! Different minds, how interesting. I believe everybody's personality is far from being homogenous...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  7. I can see where you are heading with this recipe Meeta...the peaches sound divine with the melon.

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  8. We just made something very similar -- I love the combination of watermelon and feta. When the peaches are in season here, I'll try this variation.

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  9. That is a beautiful looking salade and i am sure they taste yumm too.
    I love that you take time for youself even in your hectice shedule.

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  10. Ahh! The beautiful colors of summer! This sounds so refreshing!

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  11. Watermelon and feta are already a favorite...but I love the addition of more fruits and lettuces and creating a bonafide salad. A beautiful salad I might add!

    Finding that time for ourselves is hard; good for you for making it an important part of your routine.

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  12. Hey Meeta,

    'Stealing time to create islands' is a concept I'm resonating to. Loving the idea of different minds too. I'm very inspired by your approach towards life, thanks for being you and sharing your mind with us.

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  13. Mmm so fresh. I need to pick up some watermelon. First ones of the season ironically were delicious then I fell on some lemons. A great fresh salad for the summer!!

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  14. My island is the kitchen!! Just making something simple there relaxes me after a long day at work - it's like catching myself a breath of air! And I ALWAYS have the CD player going, singing along as I cook - so I guess my cooking mind is the joyful mind ;o) Love the different colours and flavours in this salad - too gorgeous and summery!

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  15. Love this salad. This entire post washed over me. It read beautifully and the colours are vibrant and fresh and exactly what's needed with some of the dreary days we face. Brilliant images, as is usually the case!

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  16. Beautiful and summery. I love your zen mindset in the kitchen.

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  17. Thank you for the lovely quote, I will most certainly use it in future. Thank you also for the lovely salad idea, beautiful!

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  18. I love that you create your own "islands", and what a beautiful way to describe it. I think we all need to incorporate these types of moments into our daily lives to appreciate life more fully.

    And good luck to Soeren!

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  19. Wow - his first A-Ha song in an Irish pub. I am sure it will be brilliant. and for his encore he should sing a little number from Abba, no?

    I had no idea you worked in the hotel/restaurant biz.....we need to drink more together.
    I love all your 'minds' Meeta. You are a world of inspiration and so generous
    to share it all with us.
    Móna xx

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  20. Thank you all so much for all your exceptional comments. Also glad to hear your thoughts and ideas on this philosophy and thank you for sharing your "islands" with me.

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  21. What a refreshing perspective! Thanks for sharing all your "islands" :)

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  22. I love this 'steal time' thing!! And your salad of course looks amazing!!

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  23. Your photography is so gorgeous it makes me smile :) happy friday dear

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  24. Love a watermelon salad it always says summer to me. I love the idea of stealing little moments in the day. I suppose I do it too but never thought about it before....hmm now you've made me think about my 'islands':-)

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  25. Love the flavours and the colours! Beautiful dish!

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  26. Cooking is an 'island' for me too. When I'm at my most busy I'll find time to make something extra in the kitchen. This dish is perfect for Dubai right now.
    Good luck to Soeren.

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  27. What a beautiful salad. Can't wait to make it.

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  28. Hola chica...stolen time is the most fruitful, always! How was the little mans A-Ha? Am sure he was brilliant...much like his Mama of 3 minds. Loved the post Meeta, and loved the quote too! Made for excellent reading. xo

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  29. Thanks for this recipe for a minty peach and watermelon salad with feta cheese. It sounds like it could be a perfect salad for the Summer.

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  30. The colour is absloutely gorgeous! And the write up so inspirational!

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  31. This is exactly what my tastes buds were looking for when I set off looking for a salad using watermelon.

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  32. The feta cheese in this recipe really gave it a punch. I loved it! Watermelon and peaches? what's not to love.

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  33. Thanks for this recipe for a minty peach and watermelon salad with feta cheese. It sounds like it could be a perfect salad for the Summer

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta