September 08, 2012

One Last Bite of Summer...

Labor Day has passed and thus marks the unofficial end of summer (moment of silence, please).

Once again, it is time to put away the bathing suits and sunscreen.  No more tousled beach hair, salty lips from the sea or digging your toes into the sand.  Summer fruits and vegetables are still here for a few more weeks and I try to get every last bite I can before they disappear until next year.

Tomatoes will soon be those pale pink, insipid, cellophane-wrapped globes trying to pass for the real thing and even though we know better, some of us will buy them anyway...  only to be thoroughly disappointed.

I usually make a last-ditch effort this time of year to get the last of the summer produce before I am limited to root veggies.  Fall produce is wonderful and I love it,  but there's nothing like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, corn, etc. during the summer months.

This salad makes wonderful use of what most people grow in their gardens, so if you are lucky enough to grow some of your own veggies, you may not have to go farther than your back yard to get your ingredients!

I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to the sunshine and long days just yet...

Israeli Salad
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 4 mini cucumbers
  • 1- 2 bell peppers
  • 2 scallions
  • 2 tbsp parsley, minced
  • 1/3 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 2 - 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

1. Seed and finely chop tomatoes, bell pepper and cucumbers.  Thinly slice scallions.  Combine in medium bowl.  The key to this salad is to cut everything very small.  It takes a little more time, but the payoff is worth the effort!
2. Whisk together remaining ingredients, add to vegetables and stir to combine.
3. Dig in!  Can be eaten as a side dish, pile it in a pita for a light lunch or scoop up with toasted pita chips for a snack.  Or my personal favorite: with a big spoon straight out of the bowl.

*If mini cucumbers are not in your market, buy the long, thin English cucumbers.  Avoid the "regular" cucumbers, their flavor and texture is not as good.

*Sumac is a ground spice which is considered essential in most Middle Eastern cooking.  It is deep brick red in color and adds a bright, lemony tartness to the dish.  If you are not near a specialty store or Middle Eastern grocery store, you can find it here.
*For a more colorful salad, use a combination of red & yellow tomatoes and choose a purple or orange bell pepper instead of/in addition to red


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