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Watermelon Chia Fresca

It’s not nearly summer (hell, it’s less than 48 hours into spring), but spending the last week in North Carolina for Rachel’s wedding made us ready mid-July.

Chia Frescas are like bubble tea, but better. Instead of filling you up with fistfulls of tapioca, like our favorite Strawberry-Lychee milkshakes, Chia Frescas are light and refreshing enough to drink with dinner. They don’t have the same sugar-sweetness, and that means you can drink more without sacrificing precious stomach real estate destined for churros, pulled pork sandwiches, or asparagus covered in egg yolks and cheese.

You can certainly make this glass of summer in your juicer and skip straining, but we found our blender gave us a way better yield. Like, as in, two times the juice! So you do you to the fullest, but prepare to adjust the amount of lime if you go your own way.

Watermelon Chia Fresca

  • 1 medium Watermelon
  • 2 Limes, juiced
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2-3 cups Water
  • 4 tbsp Chia Seeds

Scoop the pink flesh out of the Watermelon and drop it in your blender. Whir it together with the Lime, Honey, and Salt until all that’s left is a pulpy liquid, with no chunks (about 45 seconds). Strain this mixture through a fine mesh strainer, coffee filter, cheese cloth, or anything else that’s on hand and will get the job done.

Place the Chia seeds in a glass or jar, and cover with 2-3 inches of the strained Watermelon juice. Let this sit on the counter for an hour (or in the fridge overnight) stirring occasionally, until the weirdly delicious gel forms on the outside of the seeds. You could do this ahead of time in plain water, too, but why miss an opportunity to add extra flavor?

In a large pitcher, mason jar, or whatever, mix together the rest of your ingredients, tasting as you add the water (some melons are waterier than others). Serve over ice, or just in frosty glasses, and day dream of kiddie pools, grilled meats, and suntans.

Churros

We’re not quite sure how we got this far in life without realizing you can make churros at home. All it takes is a little dough, a lot of chocolate, and a few inches of oil, and it’s like you’re at the fair.

Our dough of choice for Churros is a Pate a Choux. This tender, flaky, versatile pastry is responsible for most of our favorite French desserts, like Eclair and Profiterole. It works here because it crunches up like a dream, while staying tender and chewy in the middle.

Even though Pate a Choux isn’t at all hard to make, we always fuck it up but, with Churros, flubs don’t really matter. The sizzling hot oil and inherently delicious crispy brown carbs cover all of your sins. Deep frying is a goddamned miracle. So, if you encounter some catastrophe, just get the dough into uniform sticks by whatever means necessary (real talk: we ended up rolling and cutting these motherfuckers), fry it, and stick it in chocolate/your face.

Churros

  • One batch of Mark Bittman’s Pate a Choux
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • 4 tbsp Cinnamon
  • a pinch of Salt
  • 1 cup Cornmeal, on a plate
  • 4 inches of fresh Frying Oil— we go halfsies with Peanut and Coconut
  • 1 ½ cups Heavy Cream
  • 3/4 cups (or one 4oz bar) Chocolate Chips— we go for hella dark chocolate, but Milk and White are great choices, too another pinch of Salt

You will also need:

  • Big heavy pan
  • Frying Thermometer
  • Metal tongs or another sane getting-shit-out-of-hot-oil utensil

Make the Pate a Choux according to Mark’s obviously perfect directions, and place the dough into a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip (Wilton’s 1M is perfect). Mix together the Sugars, Cinnamon, and Salt in a shallow baking dish.

Place the Oils into a sturdy pan (think: cast iron skillet or dutch oven, not Ikea saucepan from college, ok?) and, using your best common fucking sense, heat the Oil to 360°.

While the Oil heats, pipe the Pate a Choux into 4-6 inch lengths on the plate of Corn Meal. Give each Churro a gentle toss so it’s very lightly coated.

After the Oil reaches temperature, drop in 3-4 Churros at a time. Fry them for about 2 minutes, or until they are crispy and puffy and brown and perfect. Carefully fish them out of the hot oil, give them a little shake, and drop them into the Cinnamon Sugar. Lather, rinse, repeat.

When your last batch of Churros are bubbling away, heat the cream in a small saucepan. Once it’s just steaming, add the Chocolate and stir. The Chocolate should melt pretty quickly and, in just a few seconds, you’ll have sauce.

Serve the Churros with sauce on the side (or drizzled on top, whatever, we’re no chocolate fascists), with a cup of milky coffee.

Beet-za

We made this pizza for the pun, not even sure that it would work, and it ended up being one of our favorite recipes yet. The garlicky crust, stained magenta with earthy and sweet slices of beets, is the perfect foil to funky, salty Sheep’s milk cheese and bright, astringent beet greens.

Beet-za

  • 1 batch Pizza Crust
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Beets, with Greens
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • a few ounces of a hard, funky Sheep’s Milk Cheese like Ricotta Salata or, on our case, Pecorino Romano- Shaved

Preheat your oven to 450°

Get your Pizza Crust ready— or just buy some dough from the store. Roll it out to 1/2in thickness on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with Olive Oil

Peel and thinly slice the Beet Root and arrange on the Pizza Dough. We recommend using a mandolin if you’ve got one. Stick it in the oven and bake until the crust is golden on the edges, about 18 minutes.

While the Pizza bakes, thoroughly wash the Beet Greens and tear into bite size pieces.

Once the Pizza is done, rub the crust with the clove of Garlic. Top with the Beet Greens, a drizzle of good Balsamic, and Cheese.