Category Archives: Vegetables

Lemon Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Ms. ChinaNob was generous recently and brought home a bounty from the Old Oakland Farmer’s Market.  One of her finds was this weird but cute vegetable/fruit looking thing called a Lemon Cucumber.  (I suspect the cuteness aspect is why she bought them – she’ll kill me for saying that.)  Apparently, its a variety of heirloom cucumber that dates to 1894.  Its a bright yellow in color and round – hence the “lemon”.  However, cut it open and the insides look like a cucumber.   The skin was thinner than a regular cucumber and can apparently be eaten early in the season if the skin is pale yellow.   I am not a huge fan of cucumbers and generally only eat them muddled at the bottom of a Pimm’s cup.  However, the lemon cucumber was really sweet and mild – if you don’t like regular cukes, I highly recommend it.  I gobbled mine down.

Lemon Cucumber Salad

1 lemon cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 heirloom tomato, sliced
handful of fresh basil, chiffonade
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1-2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
cracked pepper to taste

Arrange lemon cucumber and tomato slices on plate.  Sprinkle basil on top.  Drizzle oil and vinegar.  Crumble feta cheese.

Beet, Chard and Barley Salad

We sure  like to get our farmer’s market on.   Summer has the best of everything, especially out here in California: stone fruits galore (peaches, cherries, plums, nectarines, pluots, apricots), berries of all kinds, fresh figs, sweet beets, chard, fennel, corn.  One of the (many) nice things about  Californy is that the growing seasons are so long – which means summer produce sticks around long enough to really go hog wild.   It makes it extremely easy to get spoiled – which is good because we like being spoiled.   Ms. ChinaNob agrees.

Chopping chard

This salad is a perfect summer salad for fresh finds from the farmer’s market – light, sweet, tangy and with enough salty savoriness to make you feel full on a salad alone.   Which is what you want for summer – a meal that won’t weigh you down.  For the feta cheese, we used a Bulgarian sheep feta that was on sale for a really affordable price – it was quite tangy and briny – a perfect match to the sweetness of the roasted golden beets and the tang of the lemon dressing.

Beet and Barley Salad

1 cup dry pearl barley
4 medium beets, tops removed
1 bunch white or rainbow chard, washed
3 Tbs. lemon juice, divided
1/2 large red onion (about 1 cup), minced & soaked in cold water 30 min.
4 oz. feta, crumbled
4-5 scallions, sliced into fine rounds
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
extra sliced scallions for garnish

Heat the oven to 450F.

Boil 3 cups water.  Add the barley and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until barley is al dente, about 30 minutes.  Drain, return to pan, & cover with dish towel.

Wrap beets in tin foil and roast in the oven until fork tender–30 – 45 minutes. Peel and dice the beets into 1-inch cubes.

While beets roast, strip leaves from chard and chiffonade into long ribbons. Cut the stems into bite-sized pieces.

Heat 1 tsp. of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté  chard stems until translucent around the edges. Add chard leaves, half of the lemon juice (1 1/2 Tbs), and a healthy pinch of salt. Cover and cook the chard until bright green and wilted, stirring occasionally (about 8 minutes).  If pan gets dry, add some water to keep it steaming.

Drain the red onion. Combine barley, beets, chard, red onion, feta, and scallions in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together remaining lemon juice and 2 Tbs olive oil.  Drizzle over the salad and stir to coat.    Salt & pepper to taste.  Garnish with scallions.

Courtesy of Apartment Therapy.