Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tomato Watermelon Salad

Tomatoes and melon- surprisingly good together
I firmly believe that watermelon and tomatoes are two of the great gifts of summer. They almost make up for the heat. I had never thought of putting them together in a salad until Steven and I ate at the Mercantile. The Mercantile is a lovely spot for lunch in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. They have all kinds of Missouri wines and beers. If you are in Excelsior Springs for a visit (and you should be) stop by and have lunch. They have a great watermelon tomato salad. I should know. I had it as a side to my tuna melt.  It was light and refreshing which is a good thing because right now it is hot and dry in Missouri.

I decided I wanted this salad again (and a lot more than a side portion). That very next week, my incredible CSA haul included tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelon. (Yum!) I have lots of mint in the yard (the mint may be the only thing unaffected by the drought).  All I needed was feta. I found a nice peppercorn feta at the local market and I was set.
Fresh watermelon- Yum!
This is another one of those salads that you change to your tastes or what you have on hand. We experimented and tried it with different vinegars, a red wine, and plain. I liked them all. Steven like the balsamic vinegar best. 

Small tasting bowls-- the sacrifices I make to find the perfect combo

I chose not to add olive oil-- I thought it was not necessary and would just add fat and calories. I really wanted to focus on the fresh tastes of the salad. I think other melons would work great too. I can't wait to try them.

The best part-- pick and choose to your tastes and the number of people your are serving. I think that mozzarella, provolone,  or blue cheese would be great instead of the feta (with the appropriate mixing and matching of herbs). The recipe below was just enough to feed Seven and me -- add more to feed more-- I go by taste for this recipe.

Tomato Watermelon Salad

Large Slice of Watermelon, Diced
Large Tomato, Diced
Slice of Purple Onion, Diced
1/2 of a Cucumber, Peeled, Seeded and Diced
2 Ounces (55 g) of Feta Cheese, Diced or Crumbled
1-2 Tablespoons of Herbs, Diced
Salt and Pepper, To Taste
2-3 Tablespoons of Vinegar or Wine (Optional)

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and serve.
The finished salad

The bottom line: will I make this again? Yes-- love love love this. I think I am going to try honey drew or casaba melon next.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Black Bean Salsa

All that lovely avocado
I think this is the salsa version of the dump cake; everything gets dumped into a bowl and then eaten. It is so easy and so good. I rarely make it because I will sit and eat the entire bowl. It is embarrassing. As I was typing this up, Steven reminded me that I sat in front of this bowl and ate it.
Lovely fresh sweet corn

Black Bean Salsa
2 Cans (29 oz. 822 g) of Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained
5 Ears of Corn, Cut off the Cob
1 Bunch of Cilantro, Diced
2 Cups (455 g) of Tomatoes, Diced
1 Red or Green Pepper, Diced
3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1/4 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes or Hot Pepper, Diced
1/4 Tsp Chipotle Chile Pepper
1/2 Cup of Lime Juice
1/2 Tsp of Cumin
2 Avocados, Diced

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl (except for the avocado).
All of the ingredients except the avocado

Refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, mix in avocados.

The bottom line: will I make this again? Yes, I love this. I am now craving it again. I need a party to take it to.....

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

BLT Salad

BLT Salad
Tuesday is CSA bag pick-up day at work. CSA stands for community supported agriculture and our family has one share in the Good Natured Family Farms CSA. I love having a share and I look forward to every Tuesday. What can I say? I am a foodie. Also our CSA is amazing. We get everything from fruits and veggies to meat to dairy to honey. Each week is a surprise.
I don't look in the bag of goodies until I get home and then we go through the bag together. I know it sounds kinda dorky but we think it is fun. Katie is hoping for honey sticks or chocolate milk, Steven wants cheese and I want tomatoes. 
I love this lettuce!

This Tuesday I pulled Boston lettuce out of the bag and we all knew we were going to have a BLT salad. It might be my favorite salad but then I am crazy about BLTs. It is an amazingly easy salad to make. If you haven't tried it; trust me-- make it. I am on a healthy kick (my family hates it when I start counting calories) so I only used 4 slices of bacon. You can use more if you like (I have). I think 4 slices is the bare minimum. Also I make my own croutons out of stale bread. I had some stale bagels so I tossed them with some oil, pepper, and dried herbs and put them in the toaster oven. Voila! Croutons! I also use light mayonnaise and low fat milk. Sometimes I use a combination of mayonaise and sour cream. 

The lettuce stays fresh longer because the roots are still attached and have water

BLT Salad

3/4 Cup (180 g) of Mayonaise 
1/4 Cup (60 ml) of Milk
1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
Black Peper, To taste

1 Head of Lettuce, Torn into Bit-Sized Pieces
2 Tomatoes, Diced (or a container of cherry or grape tomatoes halved)
4 Slices of Bacon, Cooked, Cooled, and Crumbled
1 1/2 Cups (45 g) of Croutons

In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, milk, garlic, and pepper. In a large bowl combine lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, and croutons. Toss the salad with the dressing. Serve immediately.
Katie grabbing a crouton out of the salad

The bottom line: will I make this again? Yes. It is lovely. It is beautiful with different colored tomatoes.