Summer Cucumber Salad

Do you have a food that causes your mouth to water at the mere passing thought? A food that you think of as you drift off to sleep and your taste buds start sending flavors to your brain? 

I do. It is this salad. I’m not sure when I first wanted this salad. I’d seen it around, but have never been a HUGE fresh tomato fan, so defying all logic one day I just knew that this salad and I could have a long term relationship if I would just take a chance…so I went for it. Like all good romances, it did not disappoint.

1 English cucumber (or 2 regular cucumbers, seeded), diced

3 tomatoes on the vine, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

2 cloves of pressed garlic

1 cup feta cheese

1 lemon, juiced (nearly 1/4 cup) 

2 t. olive oil

1 t. dried oregano (or 1 T. fresh oregano)

Salt 

Pepper

In a large bowl combined the diced cucumber, tomato, onion with the pressed garlic and Feta cheese. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, then sprinkle with oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss and coat well. Allow to chill for a bit in the fridge.

I like to eat this plain. It’s that good. It is also amazing tossed with chopped romaine lettuce, on fresh grilled fish, on juicy steaks, over baked chicken breasts, with cottage cheese…you really can’t go wrong with this cucumber salad. It’s crunchy, tangy, spicy, fresh; it’s summer on a fork.

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Tomato Basil Tapas

There are very few things in life more delightful than the tomato, basil, fresh mozarella combination. I came up with this simple little summer treat a few days ago, and I cannot stop thinking about how yummy it was. Next time I have an appetizer assignment, this is going to be the one.

1 package fresh mozarella
2 cloves fresh garlic
4 Roma tomatoes
4 T. Pesto
2 T. Balsamic vinegar
1 loaf Italian Pugliesse bread

Evenly slice the Italian bread and toast at 400 degrees in the over for about eight minutes. Set aside to cool.

Using an egg slicer, slice the fresh mozarella into small dices. This is simpler than it sounds. Quarter the fresh mozarella log into four chunks, then softly slice it into even slices with the egg slicer. Next turn the slices to slice into strips, then turn once again to slice into tiny cubes. Easy.

Next, slice the tops off of the tomatoes and squeeze the guts and seeds out. This will keep your topping from being overly runny. After you have gutted the tomatoes, finely dice them and toss them into the bowl with the fresh mozarella. Press the garlic cloves into the mixture, then sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Add the pesto and balsamic vinegar and gently toss it all together.

Scoop healthy spoonfuls onto the toasted bread and enjoy your light summer treat.


Steak Salad

1 steak, broiled and seasoned, then thinly sliced
1 head romaine lettuce, torn for a salad
1/2 onion diced
3/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 T. butter
1 tomato diced
Croutons
Blue cheese (or another steak friendly cheese, fresh mozarella, gogonzola)
A1 steak sauce
Ranch dressing

In a skillet, melt butter, then saute onion with mushroom until nice and soft and golden. Set aside.

Spread romaine lettuce on large platter. Top with steak slices, followed by onion and mushroom, topped with tomato, and cheese.

In small mixing bowl combine two parts A1 to one part ranch salad dressing and mix. Drizzle over salad and top off with croutons.

This is one of my all time favorite summer meals. It’s super flexible too, which is great. You can leave anything out, or substitute with what you have on hand, or simply throw a new bite into the mix. The secret is the “A1 Ranch” with the steak and greens. It’s amazing.