Having A Ball With Cantaloupe

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - July 23, 2008
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It isn’t often that Honolulu is blessed with so much “Tony” attention. Earlier this summer, our own Loretta Ables Sayres was nominated for a Tony Award for her amazing portrayal of Bloody Mary in South Pacific on Broadway.

Now, “adopted son” John Selya, Tony nominated for his work in Movin’ Out (known as the Billy Joel musical), returns to the Blaisdell Concert Hall stage as one of the stars of Ballet Hawaii’s Giselle.

Selya is a regular with Ballet Hawaii, having headlined its production of Coppelia a few years ago and delighting audiences with his Michael Jackson-like interpretation of the Soldier Doll in Nutcracker last Christmas season.

He is here teaching in the summer intensive program, which attracts not only Hawaii students but aspiring dancers from across the U.S. and Japan.

John was trained at the School of American Ballet; he joined the American Ballet Theatre in 1988 and Twyla Tharp Dance in 2000.

Don’t miss seeing Selya, plus Tiler Peck in the title role of Giselle and Joaquin De Luz as Albrecht, both from the prestigious New York City Ballet, when Ballet Hawaii presents the full-length ballet Aug.16 and 17 at Blaisdell Concert Hall.

Here’s a great summer recipe dedicated to them. This is also a super-easy, yet elegant choice to bring to a party!

Picking a ripe, sweet melon is no easy task, as they are almost always harvested before they are fully ripe. Gently press the stalk end of the melon; on ripe melons this part softens, so it should yield slightly to the touch. The end opposite should have a pleasant, delicate aroma. A ripe melon also will have a hollow sound when tapped lightly with the palm of the hand. Choose a melon that is heavy, free of bruises and with a skin that is mostly yellow in color.

The true cantaloupe derives its name from the papal villa of Cantalupo near Rome, where it was cultivated around 1700. True cantaloupes are rarely found in the United States; what we call cantaloupe is actually a variety of muskmelon.

When cutting the melon, slice into halves or quarters and scoop out the seeds. Leave the seeds in any unused portions to keep them from drying out. Wash melons in soapy water and rinse thoroughly to get rid of any contaminants on the skin that may stay on the knife and transfer to the flesh of the melon.

Melons are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, beta carotene and folic acid. Melons are said to be diuretic, laxative and stimulating to the appetite.

Despite their appearance, melons are quite perishable. If the melon is not ripe when purchased, leave it to ripen at room temperature until it has a delicate aroma. Do not keep it near other fruits and vegetables, as it produces a great deal of ethylene gas, which hastens ripening and alters the flavor of other foods. Keep ripe melons in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic to keep surrounding foods from absorbing their odor. Remove from the refrigerator about 10 minutes before serving for maximum flavor.


* 1 large, ripe cantaloupe
* 1/2 cup Port wine

Cut a cap off the stem end of melon and save the cap. Scoop out seeds with a spoon. With a melon baller, carefully extract the flesh and place in a bowl. Add wine and macerate in refrigerator for about two hours. Refrigerate the shell and cap to be used as serving container. To serve: Fill hollowed-out shell with melon and top with cap.

Makes about four servings.
Note: For adults only.
Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 55
Fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 15 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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