Likely your garden, and certainly the farmer's market, is starting to reveal its seasonal bounty. This is the time off year that gives me immense pleasure. Seeing anything blossom and bloom is truly exciting, and as a planter of things both pretty and edible there is a level of satisfaction that comes with knowing that you can deposit a seed in the soul and facilitate something of beauty growing from it.
My garden has been producing greens for quite some time, which I start to take for granted when I'm eating them at every meal, but the real excitement of the last few days were my first cucumbers and tomatoes. In a month I will feel the same way about them as I do the greens now, but for now I will continue to check my plants morning and night to assess the growth and color change so I can be sure to harvest and consume as soon as possible.
I have a few berry bushes which generally go to the birds long before I have enough to do anything with, so I really appreciate when fruit from local farms come on the scene. Last weekend I found amazing peaches from southern Illinois at the farmer's market and have been coveting every last one until I'm there again on Saturday.
While the first few of everything to ripen I just end up popping in my mouth, or in the case of my five-year-old there were many strawberries and our first few tomatoes that were eaten before they were “technically” ripe. I do appreciate when everything is coming in in such a volume that they don’t seem so scarce and I can actually make entire dishes from things what I'm growing. Two of my most poignant summer food memories are that of cucumber and onion salad and mayo and tomato sandwiches. Always a fan of a good mash-up, I love this salad that combines the two, a creamy cucumber, tomato and onion salad, that has both piquant flavors and creamy subtleties and really makes me FEEL summer. Enjoy this recipe, either eating it straight out of the bowl or as an accompaniment to any good summer meal.
Creamy Cucumber & Tomato Salad
2 cups diced tomatoes, any variety as long as they are super ripe
2 cup diced cucumbers, I prefer the English variety or any that are long, slender and don't have many mushy seeds on the inside, and keep the skin on as long as they aren't bitter!
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup Island Life Ranch Dressing
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup whole fat plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch black pepper
1. In a large bowl, toss tomatoes and cucumber together.
2. If using Island Life Ranch Dressing: add to vegetables and toss to coat.
3. If making dressing: in a small bowl combine all ingredients thoroughly. Add to vegetables and toss to coat.
4. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Enjoy this season and the amazing abundance, at least we can now see there was some good to come out of all that rain!
Happy growing & eating!