From our Food Goddess, TaMara:
It’s been over 100 degrees most of this week and when that happens, I want only two things: cold fruits and cold vegetables. Okay and maybe some ice cream, but we already did that post. So it seemed like a good time to revisit cold salads. Coleslaw and pasta were covered here and tonight will be about cucumbers and potato salads. I should think between all of those you’ll have plenty of choices for holiday cookouts this next week. Which reminds me, there will be no recipe exchange next week.
My dad is an avid gardener and until he catches on, I often plan my summer trip home in time to coincide with tomato, cucumber, and corn harvest. I always come home with a big bag of produce. My youngest brother is following in his footsteps, so my bag of goodies overfloweth. I’m not a bad gardener myself, but my current location has not proved productive. So I’ll take advantage where I can.
The abundance of cucumbers inspires my brother and his wife to makes jars and jars of pickles, but I’m not as ambitious. Instead, I like to make a variety of cucumber salads, three of which are tonight’s featured recipes.
To start off, let’s talk potato salads. I suspect there are as many recipes as their are families. My mom makes one I still cannot duplicate, but everyone wants her to bring to family gatherings. It’s got lots of mayo, onions and mustard in it. I make do with a different take on the salad with a lighter touch with my Italian Potato Salad (recipe here).
One of my favorite posts ever was when I asked everyone to send me their favorite Potato Salad Recipes and I received quite a few, those recipes are here. Talk about variety.
Moving into the cucumber section of the garden, JeffreyW makes Cucumber Kimchi (click here), not to be missed.
My family has a favorite (and pretty traditional) Cucumber and Tomato Salad (recipe here)
Now it’s your turn. What’s on your plate (figuratively and literally) for the mid-week holiday celebration? Cook-outs? Fireworks (a must for me)? Waterpark? What do you absolutely crave when the mercury rises to new heights? Hit the comments and share your recipes.
Now the featured recipes, three quick and easy cucumber salads:
Simple Cucumber Salad (pictured above)
I grabbed what looked good at the farmer’s market, you can change up the ingredients to your faves.
1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup wine vinegar
1 English cucumber, washed and sliced thin
2 cucumbers, washed* and sliced thin (I did a little decorative peeling before I sliced it)
1 sweet red pepper, washed, sliced thin (or substitute orange or yellow)
3 tomatoes, washed and sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
pinch of dill
salt and pepper to taste
opt: garlic, basil, rosemary – one or more of this depending on your tastes
Add sliced onion and vinegar to a bowl and marinate onion for at least 30 minutes. Prepare the rest of the vegetables and toss gently with the onion slices (reserve vinegar). Mix together 3 tbsp (or more if desired) of the vinegar and 1/2 cup olive oil and pour over vegetables. Add salt, pepper, dill and toss gently. Let rest for 5-10 minutes at room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to serve. This one is best if it’s served within an hour – the vegetables are still crisp and that enhances the fresh, light flavors of the dish.
*If it’s been waxed, you’ll probably want to peel it completely before slicing
Chipotle Lime Cucumber Salad
3 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup Chipolte Lime Dressing (bottle or recipe below)
1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
Mix together dressing and mayonnaise, add to sliced cucumber, toss and refrigerate. With this dish, the longer it has, the better the flavors blend. So at least an hour or more ahead of time. I made it for a bridal shower and actually made it the night before.
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tsp lime zest
2 tbsp agave syrup or honey
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, minced finely (start with one, add another as desired)
salt to taste
Mix ingredients together well. Goes great on salads, tacos and as a marinade, too.
Now for something completely different, these have a distinct Mediterranean feel.
2 English cucumbers, sliced or diced, don’t peel (no wax, thin skins)
2 mild red chilies, chopped
1 tsp dried mint, crushed (or 2 oz fresh leaves)
4 oz dates or figs, chopped
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 to 4 tsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste
feta cheese as optional garnish
Mix vinegar with sugar and toss with remaining ingredients, salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with feta