Marge Perry Newsday columnist Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition. In her long-standing capacity as a Newsday columnist, Contributing Editor for Cooking Light, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, restaurant critic, recent columnist for several leading magazines (Better Homes & Gardens, Prevention); regular contributor to many magazines, (including Self, More, Coastal Living, and Relish) and frequent guest on television and radio, Perry is an accessible and authoritative guide for anyone who cooks, eats and travels.

In addition to Dinner Tonight, the cookbook based on her daily Newsday column, Ms. Perry has contributed recipes and text to nearly 20 other food and nutrition books. Her articles have been syndicated internationally in magazines and books, and her recipes have appeared on the Television Food Network and numerous television news segments.

Perry teaches cooking and food writing at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, food writing at mediabistro.com, and is a guest lecturer at the culinary management graduate school at New York University. Her extensive involvement with the food industry ranges from writing and reporting about cooking and nutrition, chefs, restaurants, growers, producers and manufacturers; restaurant reviewing; menu consulting; consumer trend analysis; and volunteering to bring food and cooking/nutrition know-how to those in need. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Libby Hillman Award for Culinary Excellence and the Food Writers’ Symposium scholarship and the Association of Food Journalists Award for Best Food Essay for an ode to her mother and strawberry-frosted cupcakes.

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GRILLED WATERMELON STEAK WITH ARUGULA-FETA TOPPING

1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

4 (1 1/2-inch thick) wedges watermelon

2 cups arugula or watercress

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1/4 cup crumbled feta

2 tablespoons pepita or sunflower seeds

1. Heat the grill for medium-high direct heat cooking (350 to 400 degrees).

2. Whisk the vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt and pepper together; set aside.

3. Brush the watermelon steaks with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and place on the grill. Cook until grill marks appear on the undersides, about 1 minute; turn and grill until the undersides are again well-marked, about 1 more minute. Remove from grill and place a slice on 4 plates.

4. Combine the dressing with the greens; place over each wedge and sprinkle with the feta and pepita. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 137 calories, 4 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 190 mg sodium

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WATERMELON BASIL-MINT AGUA FRESCA

1/2 cup sugar

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1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves

2 tablespoons chopped mint

8 cups cubed watermelon

3 tablespoons lime juice

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1. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small pot; reduce heat and boil gently until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the basil and mint and cool to room temperature. Pour through a strainer, pressing on the solids to extract flavor; discard solids.

2. Combine the syrup, watermelon and lime juice in a blender and puree. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight; stir before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 129 calories, 1 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 0 fat, 0 saturated fat, 3 mg sodium

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WATERMELON-PEACH-BLUEBERRY POPSICLES

2 1/2 cups cubed watermelon

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 peach, cut in thin slices

1/4 cup blueberries

1. Puree watermelon, honey and lime juice in a blender. Taste the mixture and add honey if needed.

2. Divide the mixture evenly among 8 popsicle molds; distribute the peaches and blueberries into the 8 molds. Insert the popsicle sticks and freeze overnight. Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 40 calories, 1 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 0 g fat, 1 mg sodium

TIP: Be sure to wash watermelon before slicing so you don't drag surface bacteria into the flesh with your knife.