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things you must do

Recipe: watermelon frozen yogurt

Note on the raffle: I’m extending the deadline for entering the raffle for a fine art print to midnight MDT, Monday, August 29, 2011.

Jeremy and I generally avoid going to town (Boulder) on weekends because we like our mountain solitude and because we’re in Boulder during the week for work as it is. But my parents made last minute changes to their Yellowstone vacation due to Hurricane Irene and decided to head home to Virginia to check on their home rather than continue on to Portland. This put them in Boulder for the night at their condo. We decided to drive down to meet them for dinner at The Kitchen so they wouldn’t have to worry about cooking and cleaning up before having to leave for the airport in the morning.

first course: roast beef with heirlooms, rabbit sausage and cabbage

second course: local melons drizzled with oil, basil, hawai’ian volcanic black sea salt

second course: gnocchi, pesto, and local tomatoes

veal chops on mashed purple potatoes with sweet peppers

wild salmon on succotash with basil and fresh tomato purée

There was dessert too (Eaton mess and chocolate nemesis cake), but I was in too much of a food coma to grab a pic. That and they turn the lights waaaay down at sunset for some reason. On the drive home, I told Jeremy how delighted I was with the meal. And that got me thinking… There are some fantastic dining deals to be had in Boulder whether you’re a local or just visiting. Here are my favorites:

1) Community Night at The Kitchen: $35 per person (does not include beverages, tax, or tip) for dinner at a table of ~20. Maximum party size is 6 so you can get to know your community. Set menu (decided by the chef that day). Several courses, usually anywhere from 9-13 different plates served family style, locally sourced as much as possible, fresh, simply and perfectly prepared. Excellent staff. Great wines and cocktails. Monday nights. Call at least a few weeks ahead for reservations. AMAZING.

at the community night table

2) Wine Dinners at Frasca: $50 per person (does not include beverages, tax, or tip). Cuisine inspired by Friuli, Italy and impeccably executed. Set menu for four courses: antipasto, primo, secondo, and dolce, individually plated. You don’t come here to consume food, you come here to savor it. Modest servings are paced throughout the evening. Terrific wines. Flawless service. If you’re lucky, charming owner and master sommelier, Bobby Stuckey, will come by and say hello. Monday nights. Reservations recommended.

team food and light at frasca’s wine dinner

3) Family Dinner at The Kitchen: $47 per person (does not include beverages, tax, or tip). The set menu is decided by the chef that day and served family style for the entire party. Four courses consisting of two plates for each course: appetizers, salad and/or pasta, mains, and dessert. The same superb fare and service you come to expect from The Kitchen time and time again. Served any night. (They don’t take reservations for parties under 5).

4) Happy Hours around town are something else in Boulder. There are a lot of them and they not only serve discounted drinks, but truly delightful food. Some of my favorite happy hours include: Bacaro, Brasserie 1010, The Med, The Kitchen Upstairs, Jax Fish House and many many others.

diane loves happy hour oysters at brasserie 1010

If you’re a local, I’d love to hear about your favorite deals on other great eats!

Now here I have a summery recipe for you, to be sure. I walked into a relatively new frozen yogurt joint in Boulder one very very hot day this summer. Spooners lets you sample the dozen flavors they have on tap. I went around tasting the fruity flavors, because I’m all about fruity. But their watermelon fro yo stopped me in my tracks. It was real watermelon, not the fake Jolly Ranchers watermelon flavor. I was obsessed with it. This was a bad thing. Every time I drove down to Boulder I began to crave that yogurt. And then when I finally allowed myself to return a few weeks ago, I discovered that watermelon had rotated out. Dang! So I did what any self respecting food blogger would do…

organic, seeded, and oh so sweet watermelon

dice up two cups’ worth

I found a recipe on foodgawker and finally made the time this weekend to try it out. It is dangerously straightforward to make. It would probably be even easier had I puréed the watermelon in a blender and strained it like the recipe suggested, but I went for the food mill because I kinda like the graininess of the fruit. It yielded about one and one quarter cup of juice.

crank it through the food mill

watermelon juice, greek yogurt, lime, sugar, vodka

Then you just stir it all together until smooth. A whisk helps to break up the yogurt clumps. I recommend stirring the liquids into the yogurt rather than the yogurt into the liquids. You’ll see what I mean when you mix them up. Then churn it in your ice cream machine.

stir together

squeeze lime juice into the mix

pour into ice cream machine

I think the ratio of juice to yogurt is fairly high in this recipe which results in a clumpy slush rather than a smooth texture like ice cream. Bumping up the amount of yogurt will probably make it smoother. Also, using nonfat Greek yogurt gives that slightly chalky texture. I’m willing to bet if you used a full fat Greek yogurt it would have a creamier texture. I rather like the level of watermelon flavor in this recipe. I like fruity. Any more yogurt would be too yogurty for me. If you want a scoopable fro yo, then let it thaw for a few minutes after taking it out of the freezer before serving.

summer in a scoop (or two)

Watermelon Frozen Yogurt
[print recipe]
from Menu For Love

2 cups watermelon
1 cup greek yogurt (full fat for smoother texture)
1/3 cup sugar or honey
1/2 lime, juice of
1 tbsp vodka

The original recipe says to remove any seeds and purée the watermelon in a blender, then strain to remove the pulp. Instead, I removed the seeds (I prefer seeded watermelon – they’re generally sweeter in my opinion) and rammed them through my food mill. That way I still get a little bit of the fiber from the fruit. It’s good for you. For me, this resulted in just over a cup of watermelon juice (about 1 1/4 cups). Mix this in a large bowl with the yogurt, sugar (or honey), lime juice, and vodka (vodka to keep it from freezing into a solid mess). Churn in your ice cream machine for about 30 minutes then freeze. It will be grainy rather than smooth. If you want a smoother frozen yogurt, add more yogurt (but I prefer the fruitier flavor of this frozen yogurt). Makes a pint.

19 nibbles at “things you must do”

  1. Mrs Ergül says:

    I hope your parents’ place in Virginia isn’t affected by Hurricane Irene. I should make fro yo more!! healthy and more ass friendly! :D

  2. The Hungry Traveler says:

    Hello, just find your site a couple weeks ago and have been reading through – lovely! My parents have been to Boulder but I never have (only been to the state itself once on vacay). Now that I know there’s froyo there I’ll have to be sure to make a trip :) I’m addicted to the stuff, it’s everywhere in LA. Of course, those happy hours sound tempting too…

  3. Melissa | Dash of East says:

    I think if I lived near Boulder, I’d be driving into the town for meals as often as possible! Hehe :) That watermelon frozen yogurt looks amazing! Oh, and I just realized… I’m going to need someone to teach me how to take great shots of frozen yogurt, ice cream, etc. I don’t think I work fast enough and am not prepped for my shot and all of my pics have melted goop in them :)

    I hope your parents’ house in VA did okay through the storm, my little brother lives near DC and said that it was just a lot of rain where he was located.

  4. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Guess what I’m making this week? You’ve inspired me. To my shame, I haven’t used my ice cream maker all summer. That’s about to end.

  5. Maria says:

    Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now and just love the photography! My husband recently accepted a position in Boulder and so we moved here from Chicago – it’s amazing! We’re doing our fair share of exploring and getting to know the local restaurants. We’re going to give The Kitchen a try! Thanks for the recommendations!

  6. Janet says:

    Now if I could just find a watermelon that was as red as yours, I’d be in business!

    I am going to dig out the ice cream maker for this one — fabulous!

  7. Margie says:

    someone give me a spoon! ;)

    Seriously, this could be addicting…..

  8. jenjenk says:

    i just bought 3 watermelons [i was convinced that I’d found the perfect technique to picking a sweet ripe watermelon]…i was trying to figure out what I could do with them all! this is perfect!

  9. marla says:

    Hey Jen! Great to see fun times at The Kitchen. Love that place & glad I saw it for reals. Cool that you had a fun time with your folks and watermelon fro yo is the perfect way to enjoy a summer day.

  10. Bev Weidner says:

    good. heavens! I need that all up in my face, NOW.

  11. mis-cakes says:

    sounds so summery. YUM!!! i need an ice cream maker

  12. Patricia Scarpin says:

    It looks delicious, Jen (I’ll keep your notes in mind and use full fat yogurt when I make this next summer). Your photos always take my breath away!

  13. Tawnia says:

    I wish I could have some of that watermelon rind for making pickles. I don’t know what it is–but every watermelon I have picked this summer has little to no rind–and I adore watermelon rind pickles! I did manage to can a couple of pints, but would love more! This looks wonderful, by the way!

  14. melissa says:

    I love your pictures! I am going to have to make this recipe.

  15. kitty says:

    I discovered your site recently following a link from another blog. Stopped because I recognized a picture of the Kitchen and have been enjoying it ever since. Bacco has a good happy hour (amazing bread and basil olive oil, lots of small plates and many wines to choose from). Always love the Weds farmers market for dinner. Splitting a burger with my hubby and having a few delicious Belgian beers on tap at Reubens. The spicy Minuta de Pascado fr lunch at Cuba Cuba. And the soups at Salt are usually to die for (sill trying to reverse engineer a roasted poblano and potato soup I had there months ago).

  16. Patty says:

    This is brilliant! I have a small problem with frozen yogurt places too, I can’t stay out of them. This is also the second time I’ve heard about an Eton Mess. I’ll need to try that sometime. Thanks for the fabulous pictures, as usual.

  17. Dana says:

    Graham just asked me today if we could make watermelon cookies and I told him that you can’t really make dessert with watermelon – it is best just for eating. WRONG! Wow, this looks so refreshing. And a perfect excuse for me to buy a food mill! :) Happy weekend to you Jen!

  18. jenyu says:

    Mrs Ergül – thanks, they’re okay, but some water damage.

    The Hungry Traveler – oh yes, please do visit Boulder. I think you’ll really like it!

    Melissa – it totally took some wrangling to shoot these since the watermelon fro yo is kinda fall apart-y. I scoop it into the shape I want when it’s slightly soft and then freeze it on wax paper or a shallow bowl. Each scoop individually frozen. Then I set up my shot with a stand-in (one that doesn’t melt!) and when I’m all set, I put the scoops in straight from the freezer and shoot.

    TKW – I made tons of ice cream, but didn’t eat any (Jeremy did), but finally I can make something that I like and can eat!! :)

    Maria – I really hope you like The Kitchen. One of my favorites!! And welcome to Boulder :)

    Janet – this one was organic, local, from Whole Foods. Really super sweet and juicy.

    Patricia Scarpin – yes, I think I will have to use full fat or at least low-fat next time.

    Tawnia – I think the more recent watermelons are bred to have very little rind. The one I used was organic and locally grown – so probably not bred to have a thin rind :)

    kitty – thanks for your suggestions!

    Dana – he’s one smart kiddo! Oh, and you can probably skip the mill altogether if you want to just purée… but yeah – it’s fun having a food mill (especially when it comes to berries).

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