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.
This Japanese-inspired dressing is good on top of most fresh vegetables. If you use less water, it can make a great dip, too. I used this recipe on Epicurious, and only adjusted the amounts of each ingredient. Also, rather than use both a food processor and a blender, I put all the ingredients in the Vitamix at the same time and blended for about a minute until smooth.
- 4 medium carrots, peeled
- 1/3 cup fresh ginger
- 2 shallots
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup water (or more to thin out as necessary)
It will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or so. The salad in the picture has lettuce, roma beans, cherry tomatoes, sprouts, and thinly sliced cucumbers. I actually think a great appetizer would be thicker cucumber slices with a dollop of this orange gold on top.
This post features a bunch of recipes. Not only is there the salad and dressing, but I also want to share this simple way to make baked chips. I served it with leftover vegan cashew avocado “cream” from these incredible tofu tacos I discovered on Love and Lemons.
To make the salad (I measured nothing):
Put some chopped romaine lettuce in a bowl.
Top with the following: I chose to do it cobb-salad style, but you can toss it all together, too. Go loco.
- cherry tomatoes
- grilled corn (Soak it first for about a half an hour. Grill on medium-high for about 10 minutes, rotating a few times. Then, let it cool and cut it off the cob)
- shredded carrots
- chopped red bell peppers
- thinly sliced red onions
- drained black beans
- optional: shredded cheddar cheese
- You can also do: avocado, jicama, etc.
Basic cilantro-lime dressing:
Blend the following until smooth:
- 2 handfuls of cilantro
- juice of 2 limes
- a little bit of honey (or agave or sweetener of your choice)
- a few tablespoons of olive oil
- water to thin out as needed
For the chips:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Prepare oil: Mix together a few tablespoons of olive oil with spices of your choice. I did a few shakes of cumin and paprika, and then a few pinches of salt.
- Put a stack of corn tortillas on a cutting board and cut them into sixths (first cut in half and then cut each half into thirds)
- Arrange tortilla triangles in a single layer on a cookie sheet (no overlapping) and brush both sides with the oil mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly brown and crispy.
- Serve with salad and dip of choice.
This recipe came from Cooking Light magazine. It’s a perfect addition to a fall meal. It brightens up the plate and has a great flavor.
All of the herbs came from my garden. However, the cilantro was special. A few months ago in the heat of summer, I was frustrated that my cilantro kept bolting. I decided to let it flower and turn to seed so I could make my very own coriander seed. Once the plants got to the right point (for us, the right point was when we were sick of the constant swarm of bees who adored our cilantro flowers), I cut and then dried the plants in a paper bag. Then, I hung the bag inside for a few weeks. After a few weeks, I gave the bag a few shakes. Amazingly, there were some coriander seeds at the bottom of my bag. However, the yield was less than I hoped for: just a few tablespoons. I think I should have waited a bit longer to chop down the flowering cilantro before letting it dry.
Rather than save the coriander, I continued on with my experiment. I planted the coriander a few inches deep in the empty pot that used to house the cilantro. A few week later….little baby cilantro plants started popping up. I watered them gently at first. A few weeks later than that…carrot salad with a hit of heat features my very own “circle of life” cilantro. I know this is basic stuff to some people, but I was amazed that this process actually works.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
- 4 cups coarsely grated carrot (about 1 pound)
- 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives (optional)
- Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add carrot and salt; toss to coat. Let stand 30 minutes. Just before serving, add cilantro, mint, and chives, if desired; toss to combine.
Here’s another version of the classic Caprese salad. This one takes a little bit more prep work than the original post, and it’s a welcome variation because you can eat this one without a knife. Sometimes, the fewer utensils the better, especially when having to carry everything up and down a spiral staircase. This is a delicious side dish for a summer BBQ. To make it a hearty main dish, you can add couscous or quinoa and some toasted pine nuts.
The cherry tomatoes and basil came from my garden in the sky. I was pretty excited that I grew enough tomatoes to make a salad that fed 5 people!
Thanks to The Curvy Carrot for this fantastic recipe.
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 medium shallot, minced (about three tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 and 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, torn
- 8 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped into bite-size pieces
- Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
1. Toss the tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the sugar in a medium bowl. Set it aside and let stand on its own for 30 minutes.
2. Transfer the tomatoes to a salad spinner and spin them for a few seconds to remove the seeds and extra juice. Make sure you conserve the juice.
3. Put the spun tomato juice/seeds through a fine strainer to reserve the juice and discard the seeds.
4. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat on the stove.
5. Add 1/2 cup of the tomato liquid, the shallot, and vinegar to a simmer. Let simmer until the mixture is reduced to about 3 tablespoons. (I didn;t have that much tomato liquid so I just let it simmer for a while and then decided it was done when I felt like it)
6. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and cool to room temperature.
7. Whisk in the oil and salt and pepper to taste.
8. Add the basil and the mozzarella to the tomatoes. Toss gently to combine.
- 6 ears of sweet corn, boiled for 5 minutes in salted water, cooled
- ½ Vidalia Onion chopped
- ½ Red or Orange sweet pepper chopped
- 24 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined cooked for 2 minutes in boiling
- water (preparing shrimp in advance: boil, cool put in sealed plastic bag with a little
- lemon juice and olive oil)
- 1/3 cup Tarragon Vinegar
- ¼ cup Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 large bunch of tarragon. Remove leaves from tough stems, chop finely,
- should be around ¼ cup
- Combine salt vinegar and mustard, add tarragon, whisk in olive oil.
- Add onion and pepper, toss. Cut corn off the cob and add to salad.
- Toss, add shrimp. Store in fridge, and serve cool or room temperature.
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
Corn and tomatoes play the starring roles in this simple salad, as the scallions and balsamic win best supporting ingredients. They all work together to create an interesting combination of flavors: an end-of-the-summer party in your mouth.
- 4 ears of fresh corn, cut off from the cob
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup scallion, coarsely chopped, greens only
- Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Saute corn and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir occasionally for about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
- Add the vinegar and cook, until mostly evaporated, about 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes and cook, stirring gently, 1 minute.
- Lower the heat and add the scallions, stirring to combine. Remove skillet from heat and transfer vegetables to a serving plate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I guess it was inevitable: A Brooklyn blogger writes about pizza. In my opinion, a slice of pizza and a green salad is the perfect meal. Why not pile the greens on top of the pizza? For the dough, you can use store-bought or make your own. Our bread maker has a pizza dough setting which makes dough better than I ever could. I recommend using a pizza stone. Put it in the oven when you start preheating it.
Note: Don’t confuse this “salad pizza” with a “pizza salad”, which I hope to experiment with one day soon!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 summer squash, sliced thin (I used a mandoline)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/8 tsp dried oregano
- 1/8 tsp dried basil
- 1/8 tsp dried thyme
- pizza dough of your choice
- 4-8 ounces quality mozzarella cheese, shredded (how cheesy do you like your pizza?)
- pizza sauce of your choice
- 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 leaves of fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place pizza stone in the oven.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a skillet. Saute squash, onions, garlic, oregano, basil, and thyme for 8-10 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare your dough, depending on the type you have. Sprinkle half of the cheese on the dough. Spread the tomato sauce on top, and then layer the squash mixture. Add the second layer of cheese. Place pizza in oven, and cook for 12-15 minutes.
- While the pizza cooks, whisk together tsp red wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until combined. Toss with the lettuce and tomatoes. (You can add some fresh mild cheese here as well)
- Take pizza out of the oven when the cheese starts to turn light brown in a few places. Add chopped fresh basil on top, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Pile the greens on top of the salad…Slice, and enjoy!
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.
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked (click here for cooking instructions-see steps 1 and 2)
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 lemon
- 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
- Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, cucumbers and vinaigrette. Mix well. Top with beets. Refrigerate until cold.
- Add the feta, dill, and parsley to the salad. Season with extra lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Top with beets.