elevating the status of the salad

Tag Archives: cucumber

Here’s a great way to get creative with your bumper crop of cucumbers, and it takes only 10 minutes from garden to plate. I used a mandolin for maximum beauty and because I like to live on the edge. Thanks to Karen Solomon and her book Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It for this and so many other fun kitchen ideas. 


1 large cucumber – sliced thin 

1 small red onion-sliced thin

2 teaspoons brown rice syrup (or sugar or your sweetener of preference)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar 

Mix all ingredients together and let sit for 30 minutes. It can be refrigerated for 2 days. 


It’s been a busy month of moving and starting the school year all over again. This weekend my knives and cutting boards miraculously emerged from boxes, and the internet is somehow up and running. Here is the first fresh from brooklyn post from my new home, also (conveniently so I would not have to rename this blog) in Brooklyn.

Tonight’s salad was served alongside greek burgers (let me know if you want that recipe, too), which are bursting with rich flavor. It is a light salad that freshens up a heavy meal. I love the balance of sweet watermelon with peppery radish. It also helps that this salad could not possibly be any easier. Although it is fall, this week’s CSA shipment included incredibly juicy yellow watermelon. No one is complaining…we are smiling as we to cling to the last flavors of summer as long as possible.

Both the greek burgers and this salad come from Cook’s Illustrated’s America’s Test Kitchen.


4 cups cubed, seeded watermelon

1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, and sliced

1 cup thinly sliced radishes (I used a mandoline)

1 tablespoon lime jice

1/4 cup chopped mint


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

After a week of enjoying the local cuisine of the Pacific Northwest, I’m back! It was fun to see the similarities and differences between the produce available on the west coast compared to what’s been growing here on the east coast. We loved the restaurant Local 360, located in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle. My husband and I shared a greek salad, and I was dreaming of making a similar one while on the red-eye back to NY. Lucky for me, my green-thumb-of-a-mom happened to  have a surplus of all the key ingredients on hand from her garden and CSA. If you mix in the beans and serve it with toasted pita, this salad turns into a satisfying meal. For my original greek salad post, otherwise known as the salad that started it all (which is quite different from this one) click here!


  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced with a mandoline
  • 3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 2-3 pounds of a variety of tomatoes–core and seed the bigger ones, slice the little guys in half
  • 2 green bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can small white beans (such as navy), strained and rinsed-optional
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 1 shallot,finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Prepare the dressing by mixing together the vinegar, shallots, garlic and oregano. Whisk the oil until combined and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix the onions in with the dressing and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.

2. Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, green pepper, and beans (if you are using them) in a large bowl.

3. Add onions and dressing mixture and combine. Adjust seasoning as necessary. If you are using beans, you probably want to add more salt.

4. Sprinkle with feta, and serve with toasted pita.

Some Highlights from Seattle’s Pike Place Market

This soup is so refreshing! It is also extremely easy to make. You should prepare this at least a few hours in advance and then allow the flavors to chill in the fridge before serving. The ingredient list is definitely flexible, so feel free to adapt according to taste. Let me know if you make any good adjustments. 



  • 4 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I used fage 2%)
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mint, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dill, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water (depending on how much you need to thin it out)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a large food processor, starting with only 1/4 cup water. Process until it is very smooth. If it is too thick, add more water until it is the consistency you want.

While you have the feta and mint ready, here is another summer salad. This one was adapted from Peter Berley’s class. He used farro (spelt) but I had quinoa on hand. Also, he used golden beets–so that the color would not bleed into the rest of the salad. I only had red beets, so I did just added the beets on top at the end, rather than mixing them in with the cucumbers and quinoa.



  • 3-4 beets, cooked, peeled, and diced

Beet Preparation Note (can be done ahead of time and stored in fridge) I roasted in an aluminum foil pouch for about an hour at 400 degrees, testing for done-ness when a fork glided easily through the beets. Depending on the size, it takes about an hour or more. Then, I allowed them to cool. Once cool, I used a paper towel to remove the skins from the beets, and diced.

Mint Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper


  1. Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, cucumbers and vinaigrette. Mix well. Top with beets. Refrigerate until cold.
  3. Add the feta, dill, and parsley to the salad. Season with extra lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Top with beets.

Do you ever have extra herbs that just rot in your fridge? Here’s one solution…drink them! These two herb-inspired cocktails are perfect for a summertime party.

Vodka Thyme Lemonade



  1. Remove thyme leaves from stems and place in glass. Add lemon and sugar. Muddle lightly to release essential oils of herbs and lemon rind, and juices from the pulp.
  2. Add ice, vodka, and enough club soda to fill glass.
  3. Toss to mix and serve in a chilled glass with a rim of sugar if desired. Garnish with thyme sprig and lemon slice. Enjoy!

Variations: If you want to get fancy, you  can infuse  a few thyme springs when you make the simple syrup, so you will have thyme-flavored simple syrup, and then you can skip the part about removing thyme from the stems and placing directly in the glass. This will avoid getting bits-o-thyme in your mouth while sipping the cocktail. You also can make as suggested in the original recipe , and strain prior to serving. 

Pimm’s Cup


  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) Pimm’s No. 1
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) ginger beer or ginger ale
  • 1 cucumber slice
  • 1 sprig fresh mint (5 to 6 leaves)


1. Fill  glass with ice.

2. Add Pimm’s, and then top with ginger beer.

3. Garnish with cucumber slice and mint sprig, and serve.

On a hot, hot day, nothing can cool you off quite like a cucumber.

1/2 cup peanuts

4 cucumbers, peeled, cut in half length-wise, seeded, and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

1 tablespoon salt

2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped (adjust according to your spice tolerance–I’m looking at you, El Diablo)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Set oven to 325 degrees. Place peanuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Chop peanuts (You can briefly pulse in a food processor).

2. Toss cucumbers with salt and let sit in colander for 30 minutes. Drain excess water, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry between clean kitchen towels.

3. Mix sugar and vinegar until sugar dissolves. Stir in cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeno, and peanuts.

This salad was a highlight of a Memorial Day weekend barbeque, which also included lamb chops on the grill and Near East red pepper quinoa and rice .

The Salad (serves 4-8, depending on how much salad people like…)

4 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced

2 small bunches of radishes, thinly sliced

several cups of  baby greens (I used a very full bag of greens from the market)

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons chopped mint

The Dressing

stir together:

Juice of one lemon

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and pepper

gradually whisk in:

1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil