Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Summer Salad

I love summer salad.  In fact, I can practically live on this stuff in the summer time!
For me, it's a dish that goes all the way back to my childhood.  We had a garden; and each year, no matter what else we planted, we always also grew our tomatoes and cucumbers.

Oh man!  Is there anything better than eating sun-ripened tomatoes fresh from the vine??!!!  I used to take a bucket of water, a towel and a knife . . . sit myself down in the middle of the tomato patch and have a feast!

I posted this very photo of fresh, marinating veggie goodness on my Facebook page the other day; I had just made a new batch of the salad and thought, "Hey!  That would make a great picture!"  The modesty is almost overwhelming.

Vicki, one of my FB friends, asked for the recipe; thus the reason for this post.

This recipe is simple and basic; and it is pretty-much how my dad used to make it, with one minor change (mentioned in notes below).

Enjoy, and thanks for reading!
Be blessed,

Summer Salad

I have never really measured the ingredients in this recipe (and neither did my dad), but I will try to recreate the quantities based on what I did the other night.

~ 4 large cucumbers, sliced vertically in quarters (cutting each vertical half in half, vertically) and then sliced in chunks (horizontally).
~ 6 roma tomatoes (sliced in the same manner as the cukes)*
~ 1 very large onion, chopped in medium-sized chunks
~ raw sugar **
~ apple cider vinegar **
~ canola oil
~ sea salt
~ pepper ***

Chop all the veggies into a large bowl; mix lightly.

Sprinkle the surface of the veggies with salt and pepper, according to your taste preference (although, I would suggest to not over-salt).

I usually use about about 1.5 more sugar / vinegar mixture than I do oil.  Again, this can be determined by your taste preference.  There should be enough sugar / vinegar and oil so that the veggies are almost covered.  This will allow them to thoroughly marinate. 

After adding the vinegar and oil, mix again (lightly).

Cover bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.  The longer the veggies marinate, the more flavorful the salad will be.  It is best to periodically lightly mix the veggies during the initial marinating.

* Roma or sun-ripened tomatoes work best for this recipe.  I'm not particularly wild about hot-house tomatoes (for anything, if I'm being completely honest).  Whichever tomato you choose for this recipe, make sure they are not under-ripe.

** My dad used white sugar and he would sprinkle it over the veggies in the same manner as the salt.
Nowadays, I try to avoid white sugar as much as possible, so I use raw sugar.  Raw sugar, however, doesn't dissolve as quickly as white sugar.  My solution to this is to dissolve the raw sugar directly in the apple cider vinegar.  Use a jar with a lid.  Add about 1/4 cup raw sugar to about 1.5 cups apple cider vinegar.  Shake vigorously and refrigerate at least 24 hours, or until the sugar is dissolve.  Shake again before adding to the veggies.  I keep a jar of cider vinegar & raw sugar in the fridge so that I always have some on hand when it's time to make more summer salad.  If more vinegar is needed for the salad, then I add it directly to the veggies (and make a new batch of sugar vinegar for the fridge). 

Some people like to use bottled Italian dressing in lieu of the vinegar and oil.  I'm generally not a bottled dressing kinda gal, but if that works for you, then pour away!  (Except, I will give y'all a gentle reminder to please read your ingredient labels to make sure there's no harmful or icky ingredients; soy and high fructose corn syrup come readily to mind; especially regarding bottled salad dressings.)

*** I don't always use pepper; it really depends upon my mood.  And, when I do use pepper, sometimes I use black pepper; sometimes I use white pepper.  Go wild!

**** The marinade "juice" can be "re-used" . . . more veggies can be added as needed.
I usually discard any remaining juice and start with a fresh batch after 5-6 days.

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