2015 National Night Out (Tomorrow!)

It’s already August (where did the past eight months go!?) and with that comes Election Day for those of us in Washington (make sure you vote!) and National Night Out. Both of which fall on the first Tuesday of August.

2015's National Night Out: TOMORROW! What are you bringing?

2015’s National Night Out: TOMORROW! What are you bringing?

What is National Night Out?

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live. Together, we are making that happen.

National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community and provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

Neighborhoods across the nation host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and other various community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel and exhibits.

Growing up I was the Block Watch Captain for our block, organizing the Night Out potluck celebration each year.

Our Megan’s Island neighborhood usually has a get together and this year is only a little different. Our neighbor Dave professionally smokes meats (ribs, brisket, etc. — it smells SO good on our street come football season!) and will be cooking up BBQ chicken and brats for our Night Out celebration.

(Interesting side note: We toyed with the idea of having Dave bring is smoker up to our house and having fresh pizzas and smoked meats, but we didn’t get out stuff together fast enough this year or last. We’re planning a separate neighborhood pizza party instead. Besides, two parties is better than one, right?)

The assignment for those attending our neighborhood potluck this year is to bring a side dish to share. I usually go with brownies, but since it’s been so hot and brownies are kind of boring, I’ve been scouring the internet for a new recipe and I think I’ve found the perfect dish to bring: a watermelon goat cheese salad. (Of course, any and all of these hot weather eats would be perfect for your Night Out celebration!)

I found this recipe in my new (library-issued) Food52 Cookbook, which happens to be our cookbook of the week this week. It’s perfect for the season and should be perfect for a large group of our neighbors. I plan on making a few (mostly lazy) changes, so I’ll include them here. If you want to see the official recipe, visit Food52.

Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad with a Mint-Basil Infused Vinaigrette
Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh mint basil 
  • teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 seedless watermelon
  • 1/2 pound fresh goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios
  • tablespoons red vine vinegar
  • teaspoon sea salt
  • dash fresh pepper
  1. Roughly chop the mint basil and add the olive oil and the coarse salt. Grind for about 10 minutes and let it sit for about 1 hour at room temperature. (The original calls for using a mortar and pestle, but we don’t have one of those. I’ll improvise.)
  2. Cut the watermelon into cubes and place in a salad bowl in the refrigerator.
  3. Place the pistachios in a pan and on low heat toast them for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the pistachios from the pan and chop them roughly. Set aside in a small bowl.
  5. Crumble the goat cheese.
  6. Take the olive oil and mint-basil mix and put it through a small mixer. When completely mixed add the vinegar. Mix again.
  7. Take the watermelon out of the fridge, add the goat cheese, drizzle the vinaigrette, sprinkle the pistachios and finish with sea salt and pepper. Mix and serve!

This is what it’s supposed to look like. Check my Instagram feed tonight to see how my version turns out!

Food52's watermelon goat cheese salad

Food52’s watermelon goat cheese salad

I hope you’re able to enjoy Neighborhood Night Out tomorrow and get to know your neighbors!