March blew by in a hurry. Spring is in full force in North Texas, where I reside. Wind, rain and weeds abound. It seems yard work has taken over in the few free moments I can find. I couldn’t, however let March and “green month” end without one final post. Today’s recipe is for refreshing honeydew melon drizzled with blackberry coulis. Coulis, although it sounds extraordinary is a simple purée of fruits or vegetables used as a sauce.
Melons are just starting to show up in my neighborhood grocery and while they aren’t grown locally I couldn’t pass up the chance to try this recipe. I have a couple of bags of blackberries in the freezer and it’s time to use them up as the blackberry vines are popping up like mad.
Before I move on to the recipe I’ll share with you that bee season is also upon us. This week alone I’ve gotten 3 bee calls. Bee swarms are already appearing and bees that have gone unnoticed over winter are being discovered hiding in walls, eaves, garden sheds and the like. For the first time in the 20+ years that my man Dan and I have lived on The Ridge we had a swarm in our yard. We were filling up our water bottles, ready to head out on a bee call when I glanced out the family room window to see what appeared to be little balls of lint blowing around, in a tornado fashion in front of a large live oak tree. I moved closer to the window and upon closer inspection recognized the balls of lint not to be balls of lint, but bees! “Ahhhhhhh, those are bees!”, I exclaimed. We walked outside for an even better view and sure enough it was a swarm. Not terribly large but a swarm just the same. The unfortunate part is that they were gathering very high up in this tree, so high even our tallest ladder wouldn’t reach them. After we got over the amazement of a swarm in our yard we decided to go to check out the bee call and discuss this dilemma on the way.
The bee call turned out to be a mess of a situation, with a floor needing to be pulled up in a shed, full of motorcycle parts, with weeds 3 feet tall-growing all around. These bees found a small crack in the siding and were happily living under the floor of this shed. The owner said, “no way are we tearing up that floor”, I said, “no way can I get those bees”. We headed home. Somehow I know my adoring hubby was secretly thinking the same thing I was about the swarm high up in our tree. We were both hoping that those bees were just regrouping and passing through on their way to another site. As soon as we got out of the truck we headed out back to check it out – a sigh of relief came over both of us, they were gone. Don’t misunderstand, I love bees and I want to protect and save as many as I can but there was no easy way we could have removed these girls from their perch atop a 40 foot high tree.
Moving on, this morning we did recover a swarm from underneath a trampoline. They were an easy recovery and are all set up in a colorful hive up the road with my Helmsley Hives. We named this queen, Iris, after the lady who called for the removal. These bees were calm and sweet. We didn’t actually see the queen but we know we captured her as all the bees followed the first bunch I’d scooped into the removal box, where she was concealed, on their own. It’s truly amazing to watch them march into the hive knowing their queen is there. After I set them up the few bees in the removal hive crawled right up the sides and over into their new home with in a few minutes. Ahhh…another success. I’ll post photos soon.
For now I’m going to jot down the recipe for you. This melon dish makes a delicious snack, a healthy breakfast or a nice side to dinner. It can also become a fairly healthy dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in place of the yogurt. It’s refreshing, juicy and sweet.
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
3 teaspoons apple jelly
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
Large honeydew melon
1 1/2 cups greek yogurt, vanilla yogurt or vanilla ice cream
fresh blackberries for garnish
Combine the berries and apple jelly in a small pan and bring to a simmer, stirring to help the jelly melt. After the mixture simmers for about 5 minutes, crush the berries with the back of a spoon. Allow the mixture to simmer slowly for about 5 more minutes until it thickens a bit. Remove the pan from the stove and using an immersion blender purée the mixture. Pour the mixture into a fine sieve and mash to release all the juices into a small bowl. Discard the seeds and pulp.
Slice melon and place one slice on a plate, place a scoop of yogurt or ice cream alongside the melon and drizzle with the coulis. Add a few fresh berries for garnish.