Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Several summery salads

At the end of last week, I was feeling the pull of the farmers market. Crisp colorful vegetables, juicy sweet fruits, locally-made foods just waiting for me to take them home... After dropping The H and the little guy off in the morning, I meandered down there. Incidentally, I also needed an idea for dinner. As I wandered around, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of local food, inspiration struck: summer salads!

I was a little worried about offering a selection of salads to The H for dinner; as much as I love to graze on multiple dishes and don't mind not having meat on my plate, he is very much a "meat + veggie + starch = meal" kind of guy. He usually doesn't mind (too much) when I branch out, and he is starting to as well, but for some reason my mental lack of direction at the beginning of my trip made me wonder how this would be received.

The salads I came up with were tomato-mozzarella, quinoa with balsamic grilled vegetables (zucchini, mushrooms, onion), and cucumber-sweet onion. At the last minute I remembered an uncooked mushroom-swiss bratwurst from Ken's in the fridge, so that was added to the grill with the balsamic veggies.

When I was growing up, my mom would make a cucumber-onion salad similar to this. I could never get used to eating slices of raw onion... I *wanted* to like it, but I just never quite warmed up to it. Since then I've tried making it myself, playing with the types of onions and the dressings I put on them. This one was probably one of my favorites--half of a cucumber from my mom's garden, half of a local sweet onion, kosher salt and black pepper, a little bit of olive oil from the co-op, and a splash of white balsamic vinegar. I sweetened it up with a sprinkle of evaporated cane juice.

Here is what the table looked like when we sat down:

Know what?

There were no leftovers, aside from a single portion of plain quinoa. Summery salad success!

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