Peach and Tomato Salad

20140818_193059August is my favorite month to eat. Summer produce at its peak means cooking is barely necessary (which is especially great because it leaves more energy for canning projects). This dinner was almost no effort, but admittedly after a long day back at work after vacation no canning projects were even attempted. Inspiration came from the list of 101 simple salads published by Mark Bittman in the New York Times 5 whole years ago(!). The combinations are awesome and overwhelming, and I love how he says in a few cucumber recipes: ‘if they’re fat and old, peel and seed them first” (poor old fat cukes!). Putting peaches and tomatoes together is just genius, and it is dinner served with bread topped with mashed avocado, salt, and pepper (the rest of that loaf is destined for panzanella once it is nice and stale).

Peach and Tomato Salad

Dinner sized salads for 2, side salads for 4

  • 2 peaches or nectarines
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of thinly sliced red onion (I used 1/4 of a large one)
  • juice of 1 lime or half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (optional, but awesome)
  • Salt and pepper

Pit the stone fruit and slice into thin wedges. Slice the tomatoes into wedges of the same thickness. Put them both in a bowl with the red onion, then dress with the citrus juice, olive oil, herbs, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.

Marinated Green Beans

Marinated Green BeansThe quintessential recipe collection in my house growing up was kept in a dark grey, transparent plastic box. The content was mostly clipped from Bon Appétit and other magazines, with a few entirely handwritten ones as well. The clipped recipes were all taped to index cards, some as crisp as the day they were found, and others splattered and faded. Marinated Green Beans came from Batter Homes and Gardens a very long time ago, and has been a summer staple for decades. The recipe we use has morphed considerably from the original, which very questionably calls for the beans to be boiled in salted water for 20-30 minutes “or till crisp tender.” Don’t be alarmed by the amount of raw onion, the marinade essentially pickles them so they aren’t overwhelming. It is one of the dishes I often bring to barbecues and picnics to provide some vegetal relief a midst the burgers and dogs, that isn’t as fussy and wilty as a salad.

Marinated Green Beans - Vegetal Matters

Marinated Green Beans

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, stem ends removed and cut in half
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed (the former is far better though)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Blanch the beans for 1 minute, then drain and run under cold water (or put in an ice bath, if you are super motivated).

Mix together the oil, white wine vinegar, dill, garlic, dry mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a large bowl (or, the container you’re going to store the beans in for minimal dish doing).  Add in the beans and sliced onions, and stir to coat. Cover and chill several hours or overnight.

Updated 7/12/2015: In the photo above I used half wax beans to make an equally delicious but twice as pretty salad.

Trends: Salmon and Ricotta

As an avid reader of food blogs, sometimes I notice a lot of writers focusing on the same ingredients. Much of the time it is because something is in season, and we all want to use all of the berries or squash or tomatoes or apples of whatever else is busting out of the garden. Other times the mutual point of inspiration is harder to identify, but I would love some added insight to figure it out. Or maybe I’m just crazy and seeing trends where they don’t exist. Anyway. Of late I’ve seen tons of salmon recipes, which I suppose makes sense because it is salmon season, but it is interesting to me as salmon are only local to a few specific regions. The other is ricotta, my best explanation for that being summer is a good time for fresh cheeses and it pairs well with vegetables, but its frequency still seems high. (And as an ice cream ingredient?! Whoa.)

Salmon

Hunter Angler Gardner Cook – Salmon Burgers

Delightfully Tacky – Salmon with Peach Salsa

Sprouted Kitchen – Cordova, AK

Dinner: A Love Story – Gravlax (This is the highest on my Salmon: To Make list)

Ricotta

Naturally Ella – Einkorn Ricotta Gnocchi with Roasted Tomato Sauce

David Leibovitz – Ricotta Ice Cream

Food 52 – Orecchiette with Zucchini, Tomato, and Ricotta (This was inspiration for one of my dinners this week, except I just roasted halved cherry tomatoes, chopped zucchini and a few cloves of garlic, then stirred it in with the orecchiette, ricotta, salt, pepper, and tons of basil)

Also, this is more of a current event but still worth noting the increase in coverage: a soda tax! I know this probably won’t come quickly or easily, but we’re headed in the right direction (less subsidies that make corn syrup so cheap to produce would be great, too).

Policy Wonka – Soda taxes are just great

Mark Bittman – Introducing the National Soda Tax

Further Reading (updated 8/20/2014): A Sweet Spoonful – Homemade Ricotta: The Food of Summer. I have to agree, homemade ricotta is an entirely different food from what you can usually buy packaged and so delightful. I haven’t tried out this recipe, though I’ve made the version in The Homemade Pantry many times over with great success.