Awesomely Simple Summer Salad

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Spring has sprung and my thoughts turn to easy summer food. Minnesota winters are so depressingly long and brutal, that when the trees bloom, the sun shines and the grass greens, all I want to do is enjoy the outdoors. That means meals that are quick, easy and yet tasty. And since this is the state of bi-polar weather, I look for dishes that are light and refreshing to weather thru the blast furnace of our summers. (Where else can it be -20 degrees in January and just six months later be 90+ degrees in July? I rest my case, Bi-polar.)

I stumbled upon this years ago and it is now a summertime favorite ‘go-to’ salad for me. The combination may see odd, but trust me, the flavors merry perfectly together and as long as your watermelon is ripe and flavorful, this will not disappoint. It takes advantage of summertime produce, and it’s beautiful to boot.

In fairly equal proportions:

Watermelon – cubed
Cucumber – seeded, peeled and cubed
Jicama – peeled and cubed

Rough chop equal parts of:
Basil
Mint
Cilantro

Then generously squeeze fresh lime juice over the top and mix well. .

I am not including measurements because you can make as much or as little as you want. As you can see in my photo, I like mine full of herbs. But you can use less if you want. This is the beauty of this salad. Its so customizable. Make as much, or as little as you like. This salad travels perfectly in a cooler for a picnic or poolside, and is beautiful on a buffet table. Try it and leave me your feedback!


Tomato Salad, with a Twist

Tomato Salad, with a Twist

It is, oh, so hot here right now. Minnesota, land of extremes. Given it is ‘freeze the snot in your nose’ cold in the winter, and winter lasts for what seems like FOREVER, you’d think I’d have nothing to complain about when summer finally rolls around. But, being the bi-polar state it is, if it’s not -20 and so dry your skin turns to shoe leather, it is blistering hot, humid and buggy. We get a smattering of lovely days, but it’s not till fall that the bugs die off (vicious, biting, carry your baby off, nasty bugs) and it becomes a ‘pleasant’ place to be. By then, the days are short and the nights longer.

I can’t bear to think ahead to that LONG, COLD winter, so instead I’ll muddle through this heat, taking advantage of the locally grown produce, and make a refreshing salad. This one is a twist on a traditional Caprese Salad. Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Salad with a Twist

Heirloom Tomatoes
Goat Cheese
Fresh Mint & Basil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
1 clove garlic minced or put through a press
Salt & Pepper

Whisk the oil & vinegar together, add the garlic, season to taste.
Chiffonade (slice in to thin ribbons) the mint and basil, and add to the dressing.

Pour over thick sliced tomatoes, sprinkle with goat cheese.

Enjoy as a light lunch or as a side with grilled meat for dinner. Heck, this is so good, I’d eat it for breakfast…and I have!


Grilled Eggplant & Goat Cheese Salad

Grilled Eggplant & Goat Cheese Salad

Can I say: you HAVE TO MAKE THIS?!
If you like eggplant or even if you think you don’t like eggplant: MAKE. THIS. NOW!

Farmers market is bursting with fresh, tender eggplants, especially japanese eggplant, which are sweet, silky and mild.
So DEE-lish!

This recipe was a genius inspiration by Giada De Laurentiis.

Slice japanese eggplants on the bias, lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Grill on a medium-hot grill until tender, approximately 8-10 minutes, turning half way through.
Let cool to room temperature then sprinkle fresh goat cheese and toasted pine nuts over the top.
Drizzle with a dressing made with equal parts Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive oil, whisked with freshly chopped Mint and Basil.

This is so good, be sure to make more than you think you’ll eat, cause you’ll eat more than you think you will!
Make this. You WILL thank me, trust me, it’s really THAT good!

(Serve alone for lunch or with a freshly grilled salmon or shrimp. Heck, I’d have this for breakfast!)