Monday, September 5, 2011

Greek-Inspired Cucumber & Tomato Salad

It was Memorial Day yesterday.  I swear it was.  Now it's Labor Day?  It's amazing how quickly this summer has flown by, and how many hello's and goodbye's (although actually most are only "goodbye-for-now") one season can hold.  This summer has been heavily weighted toward "bye-for-now":  My youngest brother joined the middle brother at Texas Tech this fall, while my parents have finally made the Dallas-area home after a lengthy transition from New Hampshire.  My father-in-law was given a wonderful job opportunity in Fairbanks, Alaska; and just last weekend, my mother-in-law successfully relocated to West Virginia to be nearer to family.  And my friend Tom and his lovely wife Tatiana have left Vermont for Ohio to advance their careers.

So, with all of the eventfulness that one summer has brought, I have to admit that I'm excited to welcome fall in the coming weeks - and hopefully along with fall will come the sense of continuity that this summer seemed to lack.  I know for certain that fall will mean busier days at work in my "day job" of human resources, so I'm trying to plan packed lunches that will energize me and prevent the brown-bag-blahs.  (Brown-Bag-Blahs:  The sense of déjà vu when you begin eating a turkey sandwich on wheat for the umpteenth day in a row.)

I love this cucumber and tomato salad because I can make a big batch on Sunday evening and then pack it in my lunch for the workweek ahead.  The garlicky vinaigrette only infuses more flavor over the course of the week, while the briny flavors of the olives and feta mellow blend.  Either on its own as a salad, or topping smear of hummus on a sandwich or pita, it's pretty addictive.

I used a mix of colorful local tomatoes (I usually use Romas), which added a nice touch - the mellow crunch of Green Zebras, the sweet acidity of a Limmony, and classic tomato flavor of a Brandywine added a new twist.

I can say without hesitation that I'm really looking forward to lunch this week.  Do you have any brown-bag favorites?

Greek-Inspired Cucumber and Tomato Salad
Click here for printable recipe

1 large English (seedless) cucumber, quartered and slice 1/4" thick
3/4 lb. tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 c. very thinly sliced red onion
1/2 c. pitted black olives, roughly chopped
1/3 c. crumbled feta cheese
2 T. fresh oregano, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
1/2. t dijon mustard

Make the salad:  combine cucumber, tomato, red onion, olives, feta, and oregano.  TIP:  For a milder onion flavor, soak the red onion slices in iced water for 15 minutes, then drain and add to the salad.

Combine the garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar, and dijon mustard in a glass jar with a seal-tight lid.  Shake well.

Dress the salad with as much or as little of the dressing as you like, and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.  Any leftover dressing is delicious brushed over warmed pitas.

1 comment:

  1. This salad looks yummy!! I may have to give this a try soon.

    I'm sorry this summer was so full of good-byes! We really miss you and Keenan, and can't wait to see you this fall!!