Summer salads and desserts

The farmers’ market is back! These tiny Persian cucumbers are perfect for tomato-cucumber salads – you don’t need to peel them, just wash and eat.

Radish-apple salad in bowl on left, tomato-cucumber salad in bowl on rightThe tomato-cucumber salad is on the right in the photo above, more colorful than usual because we got a mix of tomatoes instead of just red ones. I slice the tomatoes in half, mix with the sliced cucumber, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic, and finish with a grind or two of pepper and a generous sprinkle of salt. You could add some crumbled feta or chopped onions if you like; I also have a co-worker who uses white wine vinegar instead of balsamic.

The salad on the left in the photo above is just radishes (also from the farmers’ market), apple, mint (homegrown), and lemon juice; toss together and serve (or just eat directly out of the bowl).

These salads don’t indicate that there’s anything wrong with my sweet tooth. In fact, we made ice cream AND pie in the last 24 hours.

An ice cream container 3/4 full of Thin Mint ice creamSomehow (willpower? a hoarding mentality? a memory lapse?) we had most of a box of Thin Mints in the freezer from whenever the Girl Scouts were selling them last. I pulverized about 1 cup of them in the food processor to make Thin Mint ice cream, using Ben & Jerry’s Mint Oreo recipe as a base. We churned it in the stand mixer last night, it hardened overnight, and it is delicious.

Today, I espied some rhubarb in the grocery store. I have no willpower when it comes to rhubarb, I always have to get some when I see it; I got three stalks and a pound of strawberries and made strawberry-rhubarb pie, using a frozen pie shell and homemade crumble topping.

Strawberry-rhubarb pie with crumble toppingThis is incredibly easy to put together, especially if you aren’t making pie dough from scratch. (If I hadn’t had the pie shell in the freezer, I would have just put the fruit in a baking dish and put the crumble topping on top – the crust isn’t really necessary.) Preheat the oven to 350. Wash and chop the rhubarb and strawberries; this time I used 3 stalks of rhubarb and under a pound of berries, about 5 cups of fruit altogether, I think. Toss the chopped fruit in a bowl with 2 tsp lemon juice and less than half a cup of sugar, then stir it every few minutes while you get the topping ready.

The topping is simple: half a cup of sugar, 3/4 cup of flour (all-purpose or whole wheat), and a generous 1/8 or scant 1/4 tsp salt. Cut in 6 Tbsp of cold butter, using your fingers, knives, or one of those wire things. Put the fruit in the pie shell (or baking dish) and spread the crumble topping over it; bake for 40 minutes.

If you are using a pie shell, you don’t want it to get soggy, so spoon the fruit into it instead of pouring from the bowl. There will be a little juice left in the bottom of the bowl from the lemon juice, sugar, and strawberry juices; I suggest pouring this over an ice cube, adding a mint leaf, and drinking it (see: sweet tooth).

 

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