Cool as cucumber this summer
THANKS to the abundance of rain we've had recently, my tomato and cucumber plants are flourishing.
Lebanese cucumbers are sending flower-laden tendrils scurrying throughout my gardens, and the tomatoes are a tangle of leaves and vines covered with varying sizes and colors of cherry, Roma and beefsteak tomatoes.
With so many lovely vegies ripening every day, I've been pulling out all my favorite tomato and cucumber recipes to make the most of them.
One of my favorite salads from my Danish family is agurkesalat, cucumber salad.
It's made by tossing thinly sliced cucumbers with salt to draw out the liquid, squeezing them dry, then dressing them in a light, sweet vinegar dressing.
I especially like it tossed with a bit of fresh dill.
When I traveled through Croatia, I became smitten with sopovo salad, something similar to a Greek salad with chunks of tomato, green capsicum and feta cheese.
I like to add chunks of cucumber to mine as well.
My other favorite tomato and cucumber dish is gazpacho - it's so easy to make this quintessential chilled Spanish soup and it's an excellent way to use super ripe tomatoes that may be too soft for slicing.
Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor, puree until smooth and serve well-chilled.
Danish Cucumber Salad
3-4 Lebanese cucumbers
1/4 white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup water
fresh dill (optional)
Thinly slice cucumbers into medium size bowl, sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, mixing to distribute evenly.
Place a small plate on cucumbers, weight with a jar or another bowl, cover with a dish towel, and leave for an hour.
Remove towel, weight, and plate, squeeze cucumbers to drain liquid and place into a clean mixing bowl.
In smaller bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over cucumbers, stirring to combine.
Cover and place in refrigerator for a few hours or until ready to serve.
4-5 large ripe tomatoes, cored
1 red capsicum, cored and seeded
2-3 Lebanese cucumbers, ends trimmed
2 cloves garlic
1/4 red onion
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Salt to taste
Coarsely chop vegetables and add them to blender with remaining ingredients.
Blend until mixture is smooth, without any lumps.
Pour into serving bowl and chill through before serving.
Croatian Sopovo Salad
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
½ green chili, seeded and diced
1/2 green capsicum, seeded and chopped
½ Lebanese cucumber, quartered and sliced thickly
1 tbsp White wine vinegar
1 Garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp Olive oil
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Feta, cubed
Place tomatoes, chili, capsicum, and cucumbers in large bowl.
Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and garlic.
Pour over vegetables and toss gently to coat.
Stir in feta and parsley, and enjoy!