I’m out of the country until the middle of August – all of these recipe posts were pre-written and schedule posted. If I have internet access, you may see some updates from my travels interspersed among food entries.
When it soars above 95 degrees for days in a row, and I finally breakdown and use the air conditioner in my apartment, I absolutely refuse to turn on anything that makes heat. I don’t have enough deodorant to fight NYC weather + kitchen hotness.
Somehow, the heat also makes me unwilling to eat anything hot. When the weather is trying to turn me into a raisin (even a humid one), I start craving lemon, vinegar, tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, cheeses – things with cool flavors. (I drink gallons of lemonade. Literally. I buy out the grocery store’s entire stock of seltzer water.)
I also get lazy. I don’t want to layer things or cut them to the right size or arrange them prettily. I just want everything dumped in a bowl so I can eat it with my fingers while lying on my bed in my underwear.
Enter these salads.
Notes: Both of these salads are very simple – feel free to dress them up however you like. Some red onion would be fantastic in the Greek salad and if you tossed a little cubed salumi with the caprese, it could become a one dish meal.
Chunky Caprese Salad
Makes enough for 6 sides. Allow at least 10 minutes.
2 pints cherry tomatoes*ngredients. #, measure, ingredient. Use lb, cup, etc.
1 lb mozzarella
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup basalmic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
ground black pepper, to taste
1) Cut the mozzarella into chunks and tear the basil leaves into bite size pieces.
2) Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and the oil and toss with the mozzarella and basil leaves. Add the tomatoes and toss to coat.
3) Season to taste with black pepper.
*You can use large tomatoes, in which case you should seed them and cut them into chunks. To seed, slice off the tops of the tomatoes so that you can see the seeds in the tomato segments. Using your fingers or a spoon, scoop the seeds out of the tomato.
Makes enough for six sides. Allow at least fifteen minutes.
2 large cucumbers
4 large tomatoes
1 cup kalmata olives
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/2 lb feta cheese
1) Peel the cucumber and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the majority of the seeds, then slice lengthwise again to quarter. Slice the cucumber crosswise into chunks.
2) Slice off the tops of the tomatoes so that you can see the seeds in the tomato segments. Using your fingers or a spoon, scoop the seeds out of the tomato. Cut the tomato in chunks.
3) Pit the olives, if you desire, and tear the basil into small pieces.
4) Cut the feta into chunks.* Juice the lemons.
5) Combine all ingredients and toss. This can be stored in the fridge for several days – just drain off some of the accumulated liquid.
*Block feta that you cut when you’re going to use it is cheaper, fresher and cleaner in your recipes than buying crumbled feta.