Greek-Style Watermelon Salad

A new favorite! Perfect for summer picnics!

Quoting Mark Bittman, The New York Times/Cooking:

It’s not an immediately obvious combination – watermelon, cucumber, olives and feta – but one bite will leave you convinced that this savory-sweet summer salad is something truly special. The astringent punch of the olives and feta provides a sophisticated counterpoint to the watery mellowness of the melon and cucumber. With a hunk of bread, it’s a lovely light lunch; with practically any grilled meat or fish, it’s an ideal summer supper.

I served it with grilled wild salmon and grilled chicken breasts with Harissa.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cubed watermelon
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 small red onion
  • cup pitted kalamata olives
  • cup crumbled feta (I used goat cheese.)
  • Some chopped parsley and mint
  • Olive oil and red-wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl combine 3 cups cubed watermelon; 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped; 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped; 1 small red onion, sliced; 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives; 1/3 cup crumbled feta; and some chopped parsley and mint. Drizzle with olive oil and red-wine vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss and serve.

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Israeli Couscous, Bean and Tomato Salad

Simply delicious.

Quoting Martha Rose Shulman writing in The New York Times/Cooking:

Finely chopped tomatoes seasoned with garlic, balsamic vinegar and basil serve as both dressing and vegetable in this main dish salad.

I’ve been making tomato concassée all summer and using it as a sauce for pasta and fish. I decided to use it as a stand-in for salad dressing in this hearty salad, a simple combination of cooked Israeli couscous and beans. I used canned pinto beans, and they were just fine. Chickpeas would also work. Use lots of basil in the mix. The red onion contributes some crunch. You can add a little celery if you want more texture. Make sure to use sweet, ripe, juicy tomatoes. I love the finishing touch of the feta, but it is optional.

Ingredients

  • ¾ pound ripe, sweet tomatoes, finely chopped (about 1 1/3 cups chopped)
  • 1 plump garlic clove, puréepureed with a little salt or put through a press (I minced the garlic.)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (more to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans (or other beans of your choice) (if using canned beans, drain and rinse)
  • 2 cups cooked Israeli couscous
  • ½ to ⅔ cup chopped red onion
  • cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Romaine lettuce leaves for serving
  • Feta cheese for topping (about 1/2 cup, optional) 

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, combine finely chopped tomatoes, garlic, salt, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Add beans and Israeli couscous and toss together. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes (or longer).
  2. Meanwhile, place chopped onion in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Soak 5 minutes, drain and rinse. Drain on paper towels and add to couscous and bean mixture. Add basil, chives, and pepper, and toss together.
  3. Line plates or a platter with lettuce leaves. Top with salad. Sprinkle feta over the top and serve.

Tip

  • To cook Israeli couscous: Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the couscous. Toast the couscous, shaking the pan or stirring often, until it colors very lightly and smells aromatic and toasty, a bit like popcorn. Immediately add 2 quarts water and salt to taste (be generous, as if you are cooking pasta) and boil 10 minutes, until the couscous is al dente; it should not be mushy and there should still be plenty of water in the pot. Drain through a strainer and rinse with cold water. Tap the strainer against the sink to drain well, then return the couscous to the pot, cover the pot with a kitchen towel, and return the lid. Let sit for 10 minutes.

 

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Lemon Potato Salad with Mint

This is so simple to prepare and it is simply delicious!

Quoting food writer and cookbook author–and staff reporter for the New York Times Food section, Melissa Clark:

“This light and refreshing potato salad is the antithesis of the usual, creamy, mayonnaise-based recipes. The mint and scallion add a bright, herbal flavor while the sprinkle of chile lends a kick. Make this the morning you plan to serve it and let it marinate at room temperature all day long. Or refrigerate for longer storage but be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving. Other herbs like cilantro, parsley, tarragon and sage can be substituted for the mint; adjust the quantity to taste.”

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds small waxy white or yellow potatoes, roughly about the same size (I used the Dynamic Duo from The Little Potato Company.)
  • Juice of 1 lemon, more for serving
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts, more for serving
  • ¼ cup torn mint leaves, more for serving
  • ¼ teaspoon Turkish pepper, more for serving (I used red pepper flakes.)

Preparation

  1. Place whole unpeeled potatoes in a large pot with enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are just tender, 15 to 25 minutes depending upon size. Drain and cut potatoes into 1 1/2-inch chunks as soon as you can handle them. (I have always cut the potatoes before boiling.)
  2. In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, salt and olive oil.
  3. Transfer hot potatoes to a large bowl and toss with dressing, scallions, mint and Turkish pepper. Let cool to room temperature, or refrigerate until ready to use. Just before serving, top with additional lemon juice, scallions, mint and Turkish pepper.

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Watermelon Chaat

Cool salad for a hot summer’s day. So refreshing!

I found this recipe in the New York Times. The reporter writes:

“This recipe for watermelon chaat, a savory fruit salad dressed in toasted cumin and dried mango powder, comes from Malika Ameen, a cookbook author whose Pakistani-American family in Chicago makes infinite variations on fruit chaat in the summer. You could swap out the watermelon for a mix of what’s in season, whether it’s stone fruit, berries or cubed apple and pear. It’s an ideal dish to break the fast during Ramadan, full of flavor and hydrating, and quick to put together.”

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¾ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon amchur powder (dried green mango) (I didn’t use this.)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (a generous pinch if you like heat)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 orange, clementine or mandarin, juiced to make approximately 1/3 cup juice
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper
  • 3 to 4 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced (I used Chocolate mint.)
  • 1 small cucumber, halved, seeded, thinly sliced (My addition.)
  • 5 pieces of dried mango, thinly sliced (My addition.)

Preparation

  1. Place cubed watermelon in a wide platter with sides or in a large baking or serving dish and spread into a single layer.
  2. In a small pan, toast whole cumin seeds on medium heat for 3 minutes, until fragrant. Remove and coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle. (You can also grind in a spice grinder, but be sure not to grind to a fine powder as the coarse grains of the spice add a wonderful texture.)
  3. Transfer cumin to a small bowl and add all remaining spices and salt. Add citrus juice, jalapeño and mint and mix well. Pour dressing over cubed watermelon and mix to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 1 to 6 hours. Serve chilled the same day.

 

Roasted Beet, Pistachio and Pear Salad

Delicious!!!

Roasted Beet Salad

Ingredients

2 beets (about 3/4 pound)
1 cup diced Asian pear or ripe pear
1/4 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash of salt
Dash of ground red pepper
2 curly leaf lettuce leaves (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°.

Leave root and 1 inch of stem on beets; scrub with a brush. Place beets in a small baking dish. Bake at 425° for 50 minutes or until tender. Cool. Trim off beet roots; rub off skins. Dice beets.

Combine beets, pear, celery, and pistachios in a medium bowl.

Combine juice and next 5 ingredients (juice through red pepper), stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle over beet mixture, tossing gently to coat.

Serve at room temperature or chilled on lettuce leaves, if desired.

P.S. I stood in the pouring rain with an umbrella in one hand and spatula in the other as I grilled the steak!

Recipe from

Cooking Light