Tuesday, August 10, 2010


It could be argued that there would be no Dash and Bella blog without my Bella. But last month she read through the past ten posts and realized I had been cooking so much more with Dash. You could see that she was upset. So as of two weeks ago, she came back into the kitchen with a few changes. She has embraced vegetarianism AND Taylor Swift. Now we sing while we cook:

"But she wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts, she's cheer captain, and I'm on the bleachers. Dreaming about the day when you wake up and find that what you're looking for has been here all the time."

Dash is so sick of the song that it makes him cry. Tears gush down his face and he screams, "I hate Taylor Swift!"

Poor little Dash. He's also sick of Bella's Watermelon Salad with Ricotta Salata, Almonds, and Herbs. I am not.  I think it would be a super refreshing dish for those of you on the East Coast who are actually experiencing a summer. Have I mentioned the Berkeley fog?
 Bella busted out some phenomenal knife skills. I think she has been practicing behind my back.
 She got a little spacey while grating the cheese.  Taylor Swift does that to her.
But she snapped out of it when Dash tried to drink the salad dressing. She told him to BACK OFF.
Here's a version of Bella's salad that I made with lots of pickled onions, red and yellow watermelon, and extra herbs.

Here are a few other variations:
1. Use pine nuts instead of almonds.
2. Use feta or goat cheese instead of ricotta salata. Crumble the cheese over the top so it doesn't melt too much into the salad.
3. Add peeled and sliced peaches.
4. Add avocado and white beans.
5. Add garlic and mustard to the dressing.
6. Add peeled and sliced cucumber.
7. Replace lemon and herbs with cilantro, and chilies (like a salsa).

See variations above. I loved this salad with cucumber.
Very important: Don't make this salad ahead of time because you won't believe how much juice comes out of the watermelon. Serve right away. Use a slotted spoon if you're putting it on a plate with something else. Or, serve it in a bowl with all the juice. Dip buttered bread into the juice after you finish the salad.

1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine or champagne vinegar
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced or diced
about 4 cups cubed, de-seeded watermelon
about 1/2 cup ricotta salata (feta is a good alternative)
1/2 cup chopped herbs (any combination of parsley, mint, or basil)
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted and lightly browned

Combine lemon juice, vinegar, and salt. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Taste. Make sure it's nice and tart because the watermelon require lots of tang. Place onions in the dressing, mix to coat well, and set aside for 10 minutes. Place watermelon in a large bowl. Using a fork, remove onions from the dressing and combine them with the watermelon. Gently mix. Slowly drizzle over some dressing and most of the herbs. Gently mix. Taste for seasoning. Add more dressing if needed. Use a fork to crumble the ricotta salata over the top. Sprinkle on the almonds. Add some more herbs. Serve immediately.


  1. I love this! Your blog makes me look forward to the day where I'll have kids and teach them how to cook. I love the addition of onion--I bet it makes it nice and spicy.

  2. I love watermelon salads, so yummy and summery :)
    another beautiful dedication :)

  3. The photographs you capture are truly amazing! I love the light contrast, and the memories you are preserving on film of your children! =+)
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Your kids are fabulous. I love that they are so ingratiated in your kitchen routine. I hope that when I have children they will be as adventurous as yours!

  5. i agree that sometimes too much of something is not a good thing but, i love finding new dishes to try with that food that has been a little too plentiful. this sounds wonderful. thanks bella!

  6. HA! I love that Dash literally wept when Taylor Swift sang. These two posts about Dash and Bella have been particularly sweet. Happy anniversary, Phyllis!

  7. I love Taylor Swift and watermelon. Bella and I could be friends. Great post!!

  8. Congratulations on such a wonderful feast of the soul! But before Bella gets too enchanted with being a vegetarian, wrap something in some yummy bacon or have her read the Vegetarian Myth! From what I know of her, she could do it...

  9. thank you adrianna, monika, stephanie, carter, jackie, sarah, erin, pam, saltandserenity, and deborah. so nice to hear from all of you. and thanks for all the kind words. i've seen your names pop up so much over the past year with comments. i'm so grateful for your support!

  10. Stunning post. The salad is beautiful!

  11. Oh man this looks delicious! And your photographs are beautiful! Everything here looks great!
    I recently launched my own blog, I'd love for you to check it out and let me know what you think! :) Thanks!

  12. I am hoping the same best effort from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing skills has inspired me.
    mourn memories