foodie fridays: grilled tomatoes, cheddar cheese, & watermelon with basil-mint dressing

Summer has officially arrived.

Don’t you just love it?

Family vacations begin. The smell of freshly cut grass fills the air. Dining moves from the inside to the outside. Sunsets linger longer on the horizon. Pools are filled with kids splashing about while their parents lounge nearby sipping tea and reading a bestseller. Ice cream becomes our favored dessert. Evening thunderstorms make us scurry for cover. 
Summer has a delightful way of reminding us of the simple pleasures in life. Who doesn’t enjoy sitting outside on the porch watching a sunset and listening to the cicadas chirp? Summer ignites our senses and reconnects us to nature. 

Today, I will share a recipe that is simple and refreshing.When the weather starts to heat up and cooking in front of a hot stove makes you sweat just thinking about it, you need this recipe close at hand. 

Have you ever grilled cheese? I don’t mean a grilled cheese sandwich. Rather, I am referring to grilling slices of white cheddar cheese. Grilled white cheddar cheese quickly adds a smoky flavor to any recipe. I say “smoky” sort of tongue-in-cheek, as I almost burnt down our apartment when I was grilling some! The main purpose of grilling is to give the cheese texture and provide the palate with another level of flavor. 

But the flavor train doesn’t stop at the cheese, friends. 
Throw some grape vine tomatoes on the grill and char until the skin bursts. Cut up a big juicy watermelon into triangle squares. Mix together basil, mint, garlic, and olive oil for an easy dressing. Combine all of these ingredients and you have yourself a simple and refreshing snack or appetizer that highlights summer to a “t”. 
{insert: a High Five from Mother Nature.}
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a porch swing to sit on and some amazing thunderstorms to watch. 

Grilled Tomatoes, Cheddar Cheese, & Watermelon with Basil-Mint Dressing 
(recipe adapted from Bon Appetit)
Serves 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Ingredients:
for the dressing:
3/4cup fresh basil
4 tablespoons fresh mint (plus more for garnish)
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup olive oil 
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
for the tomatoes:
1 pound grape vine tomatoes 
for the watermelon:
1 small whole watermelon, rind removed, cut into slices (1/2 inch thick)
for the cheese:
1 8 ounce package white cheddar cheese, cut into slices (1/2 inch thick)
Directions: 
Heat a gas grill to high or griddle pan. 

for the dressing:
In a food processor, puree mint, basil, and garlic. Add olive oil and combine. Strain mixture over small bowl to weed out thick parts and season with salt and pepper.
for the tomatoes:
Brush tomatoes with olive oil. Grill tomatoes on each side for about 3 minutes until skin starts to burst. 
for the watermelon:
Place slices on serving platter.
for the cheese:
Grill cheese slices on each side for about 15 seconds. 
To serve: place watermelon on serving platter then cheese and scatter tomatoes around. Drizzle basil-mint dressing all over. Top with basil or mint if desired.