It’s so easy to get spoiled during the summer, as produce is plentiful, and needs little help from us to shine. This salad is a perfect example. Ripe, juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and vibrant fresh-picked mint from the garden come together for a simple, but incredibly satisfying no-cook side dish.
As we often say when talking about Dress It Up Dressing, ingredients this good shouldn’t be disguised—dressing should enhance them, highlighting their innate deliciousness. All this trio of cucumbers, tomatoes, and mint needs is a bit of our Red Wine Vinaigrette, a grating of fresh lemon zest, and some salt to make your taste buds go “whoa”. That was my reaction when I first made. I truly wasn’t expecting such a humble salad to stop me in my tracks, and yet it did. Even with all my decades spent in the kitchen (I started young!), there are still plenty of surprises yet to be discovered.
Here’s the recipe.
It’s easy to take the garden for granted when it’s showing off in the summer, especially my sage which has more gusto this year than any sage plant I’ve ever owned. My weekly weeding sessions keep the herbs in tip top shape, and yield more trimmings than I can manage to use. This is where a little foresight comes in handy.
In a few short months, we’ll be wearing overcoats again, and our gardens will be memories of another summer in the books. It’s possible to keep some mementos, though, ones you can put to good use in soups, stews, and the like. I know crazy to think about those meals when all we want to do is fire up the grill, and eat lots of juicy, ripe, fresh picked tomatoes.
Read more here to see how to dry your own fresh herbs.
Watermelon is the quintessential summer fruit. A thick, cold slice on a hot day is the perfect antidote. This year we’re bumping watermelon up from dessert, and serving it as an appetizer—on a stick! Best part? These are great when entertaining—no utensils or dishes needed. They’re so easy to prepare, you can even enlist the kids for some help in the kitchen.
Our Blackberry Vinaigrette adds some acidity to balance the cool sweetness of the watermelon, while the feta cheese adds a salty kick. You can prep the skewers a day in advance. Just wait until you’re ready to serve them to add the cheese, mint, and dressing. The recipe we’re sharing is more a suggestion than a hard set of rules. You’ll notice we don’t even list specific ingredient amounts. Make as many, or as few as you want, and use mini skewers or standard size ones—all depends on the occasion at which you’re serving them.
Here’s how to make them in your own kitchen.
I have to thank my colleague Jennifer for introducing me to this brilliant way of preparing zucchini. Sometimes you just need to chop that same old vegetable in a new way to add a new ingredient to your repertoire….
Jennifer was staring at an abundance of zucchini in her kitchen, having been somewhat over zealous at the farmers market. “How was I possibly going to eat all the zucchini I bought without getting squash fatigue?”
While muffins and quick breads are certainly an option, this time she was craving something healthier that appreciated zucchini for its own merits.
This is her spin on a vegan tartare, made with finely chopped zucchini. It supports our belief that vegetables can be as interesting to prepare as meat.
Best part about this recipe is you only need five ingredients to make it—six if you count the salt. Seven if you include knife skills! They are the key to making this tartare. You want to finely dice the zucchini. If you’re looking for a shortcut, shredding it on a grater would work, although you’re veering more into slaw territory with the presentation.
That said, we’re talking about a vegan appetizer inspired by a meat-based dish, so why start following the rules now?
Here’s the recipe.
Pizza is a year-round regular at our house. Once the temps heat up, I swap in my BBQ for the oven, and take my pizza-making habits outdoors. This Grilled Mediterranean Pizza is hearty, filling, and perfect for hosting a crowd, but also comes together quickly for a fast weeknight dinner.
Get the recipe here.