Writer, cooking teacher, television host, and author of an award-winning book, Amelia Saltsman is passionate about getting everyone into the kitchen.


Cooking Experiences at La Cocina Que Canta Cooking Class and Retreat Tecate, Mexico
May 9-15, 2015
Rancho La Puerta

How to Skin, Slice and Chop a Melon

cantaloupe-melon-weiser-family-farms It is officially melon season. Here’s the one trick you need to easily skin, slice, and dice your way through a summer’s worth of cantaloupe, honeydew, or any of the fabulous types available at farmers’ markets, such as Weiser Family Farms’ lovely French Cavaillons, above, and their Israeli Arava variety, below. This technique makes short work of cutting crescents to pair with prosciutto or chunks for a summer salad, like this refreshing and unusual Melon and Cucumber Salad with Mint. What’s that you say? Well, cukes and ‘loupes are kissing cousins and they marry well.

I learned …

Melon and Cucumber Salad with Mint

At first glance, melon and cucumber seem like an unlikely match. They are actually close cousins that go well together in this ultra-refreshing salty-sweet summer salad that is a play on the Israeli summer favorite made with watermelon.


I like to use two kinds of cucumbers in this salad–crisp flavorful Persian cukes and prickly, pale yellow lemon cucumbers, named for their looks, not their flavor. You can really see how closely related melons and cucumbers are in this lemon cucumber photo. The two types add color, flavor, and texture variety to this dish. Be sure to use a very sweet melon in this salad for good flavor contrast.

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What’s in Season in Israel?

olive-tree What’s in season in Israel? And more to the point, where and what should I eat? After a too-long 30 years, I’m heading back to the land where my parents grew up, met and married, and then left to study and settle in the U.S.

My desire to return to Israel was there, but blame the kids for the destination not staying in the number one slot. Three children going to college and grad schools in interesting places, then their jobs in interesting places we wanted to visit—Japan! Cambodia! Vietnam!—a couple of weddings, grandkids, family illnesses and passings here and in Israel. That’s how 30 years can pass in the blink of an eye.

Why now, finally? Well, time …

A Fresh New Side Dish for Passover


Passover Seder side dish inspiration: the Seder plate. Seriously. You’re buying all those herbs, alliums, and radishes anyway. Why not use the extras in a Passover Herb Salsa Verde to serve over steamed fennel, carrots, and radishes?

Yes, radishes. When steamed (or roasted), their sharpness mellows into a young turnip-like sweetness. That may sound oxymoronic, but if you’ve ever had truly young turnips, you know what I’m talking about.

Simply steam wedges of fennel, fat carrots–those round French ones are wonderful here–and French breakfast or pink Japanese Shunkyo radishes until they’re just tender. Shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.Use any combination of Passover herbs for the salsa—lots of parsley accented with mint, garlic or leek chives, or regular chives, and so on. Serve …

Out of the Box Collective Giveaway

Chicken with Kumquats I’m always intrigued by the ways in which entrepreneurial minds figure out how to get local foods to more people. A few years ago, Jennifer Piette started Out of the Box Collective, a Los Angeles-based home-to-kitchen grocery delivery service, that unites busy home cooks with great locally grown and produced seasonal ingredients. Busy is the operative word here; each box comes with a menu and recipes using the foods in the box. Last year Out of the Box asked me to put together a box based on my recipes, and this year they offered the same deal to their subscribers.

Here’s a great opportunity to win a box of locally grown ingredients and artisan-made provisions …