What I do while I figure out what to do next . . .

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Tomato, Cucumber and Feta Summer Salad

It is one of those too hot to eat days and this salad is just perfect for days like today.  I saw the picture this morning on Pinterest and I just had to whip it up.  I didn’t even need to go to the grocery store because the ingredients are all my favorites and I had them either in the house or growing in the garden.  It was just that easy!  Well, I did have to go outside into the smoldering heat and climb up a slight incline to said garden to pick the basil (which is thriving despite being planted WAY too close to a sprawling pumpkin vine).  FINE, my husband was right.  I over-planted again, but I just cannot bring myself to thin out plants that have sprung up from tiny seeds – it just seems too mean.   Anyway, back to the salad. . . I halved the recipe this time because it will not keep without getting mushy.  Also, I’m probably the only member of my family who could live on cucumbers and tomatoes. So plan accordingly.  You can make ahead, but do not add in the dressing until 1/2 before you want to eat.  You can eat right away (I did) but the flavors will keep developing if you give it a little time.

Adapted from a recipe from Local Kitchen


  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1/4 shredded basil
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.

Quarter cherry tomatoes and add to a large bowl

Dice cucumber and add to tomatoes

Yes, you are correct.  That is NOT  1/2 a red onion.  My house ATE my 1/2 a red onion.  Instead I found 1/2 a large shallot.  It worked.  It was fine. But you should use 1/2 a red onion instead.

Now add the 1/2 cup of crumbled Feta cheese.  I really like this picture.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s the heat and I’m just easily impressed.

Finally add the shredded basil and toss to combine.  I tried to have my son take a picture of me shredding basil, but he’s too short.  You just saw forearm.  See below.



So You will just have to use your imagination and know that I once I was done taking pictures with my right hand, I went back to two-handed shredding 🙂

To a small bowl add red wine vinegar, EVOO, sugar, sea salt and pepper and whisk until emulsified.

Drizzle dressing over salad.

Toss and you can either eat right away or  let it sit for 1/2 an hour for flavors to develop.

And I was wrong about this salad only appealing to me (in my family).  My short child proclaimed that not only did she like it.  She LOVED IT! But that may be because she doesn’t have a Prada backpack 🙂


Mixed Bean Salad

Ok – this was awesome!  I didn’t even wait for my family to try it before I decided to post about it.  And you know why? Sometimes as a Mom you just have to make something that is completely your style and just be happy about it.  This is the kind of food I could live all summer on.  Shockingly enough one 13 year old loved it – and took it for lunch to camp and the 7 year old wanted to make sure I would make it again before she finished her first serving.  So pretty successful.  My husband ate the green beans but he hates bean beans (and I do know that) – so pretty much as I expected.  The other 2 kids are my pickiest eaters and it was just not their style.  So thank you Everyday Food for another winner recipe!


  • 1/2 pound green beans halved.  (I used haricot verts – you want skinny and crunchy)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans (I used small – I think would “look better” with the dark red, but I like the small beans better – your call)
  • 1 shallot  sliced very thin (mine was very large so I started with 1/2 and added another quarter after tasting)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves finely chopped (2 grocery store were inexplicably sold out so I used 1 tsp. dried)
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
  • Coarse salt and pepper


Boil green beans for 2-3 minutes in salted water and plunge immediately into water bath to stop cooking and cool.  Drain and set aside.

Drain and rinse garbanzo beans and red kidney beans.

In large bowl whisk together cider vinegar, EVOO, sliced shallot, chopped oregano, and grainy mustard.

Add beans and stir to combine.

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Serves 6

220 calories, 8.5 g fat (1 g sat fat), 8.9 g protein, 27.1 g carb, 8.2 g fiber



Pacific Pork Kebabs with Pineapple Rice

I know I have made this before.  When I started the recipe I had that deja vu feeling all over again 🙂 But there were zero stains on the page in the magazine and we all know that just doesn’t happen in my world of cooking.  And it was from an Everyday Food Magazine from 2007 so pretty likely that it made it into the rotation sometime in the past.  Maybe it is just really, really similar to a recipe I know I like, but as it was quite popular with my kids especially – it will definitely be on the make again list.  Plus it looks gorgeous and is super simple to make.  For me, I think the kebabs need more oomph, and I’m not really sure why.  Maybe the pork was not that flavorful, but in my (admittedly cloudy) memory this was a very flavorful kebab – so do bare that in mind as you season – more is more . . . UPDATE: See below reviews for update – I have tweaked the recipe slightly (admittedly by accident) and it is just awesome and full of flavor 🙂


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice (I used Jasmati Rice)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 8oz. can pineapple chunks in juice
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pork tenderloin (1 lb)
  • 2 medium bells peppers
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 lime


Cook rice according to package directions.

Preheat grill to medium and lightly oil grates (I used Pam for grilling)

In a small bowl, whisk honey and 2 tablespoons pineapple juice together and season with salt and pepper.

Cut pork tenderloin and red bell peppers into 1 1/2 inch pieces and thread onto skewers.  I used 4 large metal skewers and removed onto serving dish for dinner.  You can alternatively use individual skewers.  If you use wooden, remember to soak 15 minutes before use so they don’t burn up on grill.

Season with salt and pepper and grill and baste frequently.  

While pork is cooking, coarsely chop pineapple chunks, slice scallions and grate ginger.

Add to rice and stir.

Grill until pork is completely cooked through 10-15 minutes and peppers are beginning to char.

Serve with lime wedges.

REVIEW:  As written this recipe should serve 4.  For my family of 6 I used 2lbs of pork and 1 1/2 cups of rice, but kept everything else the same.  It took the full 15 minutes for my pork to cook, but definitely keep an eye on it as you baste so it doesn’t dry out.  As I mentioned before, definitely feel free to be liberal with your seasonings because although the kids inhaled it, I think adults would have appreciated a bit more kick.  But, it is gorgeous to present and incredibly easy and I would feel good serving it to either family or guests.  Add a side salad and crusty bread to round out the meal and it just screams summer nights to me.


UPDATE:  I have now perfected this! Last time I was at the store I couldn’t remember exactly what I needed so came home with a fresh pineapple instead of canned (as the recipe is written) so I cut up the pineapple and because I had so much I threaded the fresh pineapple on the skewers along with the pork and red peppers and OH MY GOD IT WAS JUST AWESOME!!! I’m not kidding.  I’m never making it the other way again.  The sweet grilled pineapple is such a perfect accompaniment to the pork and red peppers.  Just loved it.



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