Can you believe it’s already the end of July? Summer is two months gone! The growing season here in CO has been slow this year because of the late spring and wet summer. I’m looking further and further away for my favorite summer ingredients: cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, zucchini and beans. I love the arugula, radish and peas that come on when it’s still cool in the early summer, but I am ready for those hot summer time standbys. When I found the first few hot house tomatoes and cucumbers at the fruit stand I bought them immediately. I also scored some late English peas, basil and tender young lettuce. That night and the following we ate salad!
The first night I used a few cherry tomatoes, some corn that had seduced me in the grocery store, the English peas, and cilantro from the garden. We had cooked a big batch of quinoa the night before so we used that as the base for the salad. It was delicious; the earthy grains and roasted corn next to sweet cherry tomatoes and English peas with added freshness from the cilantro were magical. The avocado and fresh goat cheese didn’t hurt either!
The following night we had a gorgeous piece of wild Alaskan salmon, which we, of course, grilled because our stove rarely gets used in the summer. I made a lovely marinated salad, a version of the one my mom makes every summer. I took the cucumbers, hot house tomatoes, and a red onion and marinated them all together in a little red wine vinegar and sugar. I garnished the whole thing with basil and the result was a refreshing quick pickle salad. What I love about this salad is that it works with grilled salmon or skirt steak.
These are the recipes for the two salads I created, which I urge you to follow as loosely as you like. Everyone’s individual tastes are different and there are endless combinations out there, so improvise and you can enjoy refreshing salads all summer long!
One Bowl Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups Quinoa, cooked and cooled
- 2 Cobs of Corn, roasted and removed from the cob
- 8 Cherry tomatoes, halved
- 10 English peas, shucked and blanched
- 4-6 Cilantro sprigs, chopped
- 1 Lemon, squeezed
- 1/4 cup Queso fresco, crumbled
- 1 Avocado, sliced
To assemble the salad:
- Toss the quinoa with lemon juice and season it with salt and pepper.
- Add the corn, tomatoes, peas, and cilantro.
- Finish the salad with avocado and queso fresco.
Yield: 2 entree servings or 4 sides
Refreshing Tomato & Cucumber Salad
- 2 large Tomatoes, wedged
- 1 medium Cucumber or 3 small cucumbers, sliced thin
- 1/2 Red Onion, sliced thin
- 6 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 4-6 large Basil leaves, torn
- Good Olive Oil
- In a glass or plastic container, toss the cucumber and onions with vinegar, sugar and salt so they are coated.
- Add the tomato and toss gently. Allow the vegetables to marinade for 15 minutes or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator, stir occasionally if there isn’t a lot of marinade.
- Tear the basil on top of the salad, drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Yield: 4 side servings