Have you ever experienced one of those times when your whole life drastically changes with a single decision or day? Times like these don’t happen very often. Sometimes you are expecting the changes and working towards them for year. Other times a single, seemingly unimportant decision may change your life overnight.
I’m going through one of those moments–my whole family is. I can’t go into detail (maybe after the smoke clears), but I’m sharing this moment with you because, while I love blogging, it sure is difficult to keep up with it all right now.
To fulfill goal #1, we are eating lots of healthy salads; emphasizing fresh, local and seasonal fruits and veggies with every meal. Since I am VERY short on time; this works out well. I can throw together a meal in minutes and usually don’t have to cook. This saves me a lot of time cleaning up the kitchen because all I use is a knife and cutting board.
One of my favorite simple salads is this Japanese cucumber salad, also known as Sunomono. It takes minutes to prepare and has so much flavor. This cucumber salad is crunchy, tangy and slightly sweet—all good things when its summer time and you want to eat something yummy that won’t slow you down. You can add all sorts of extras to make this salad into more of a meal like rice noodles, Mandarin oranges, crab and shrimp.
I hope you enjoy this easy cucumber salad as much as we do. Stay tuned for a Vietnamese version that’s just as good but a bit spicier.
If you are using small cucumbers, slice them crosswise. For larger cucumbers, they need to be peeled, seeded and cut in half lengthwise, and them crosswise into half moon shapes.
Add the cucumbers to a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine salt, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. Mix well.
Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and stir. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Chill for 20 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from Food Network's Cucumber Salad
I’ve shared a lot of recipes so far on Love and Duck Fat, but I can’t believe it’s taken me THIS LONG to share this one. You see, my orzo salad recipe is legendary (in my small circle of friends and family). It has actually made an appearance once on my blog before in photos, but I never got around to posting the recipe. You can see it here at my son’s first birthday party.
Orzo salad is one of the recipes I make over and over. I serve it at parties, I pack it up for lunch, we eat it for dinner, late night snacks and even the occasional breakfast–and we never tire of it.
The inspiration for my orzo salad recipe first came from Whole Food’s orzo salad; which is good. When I lived in Boston, I regularly picked up a pint of it on my way to work. I decided to improve on their recipe, which is why this salad is so much better. I make sure that every bite has something fresh and yummy in it. The mix of tastes and textures make this orzo salad so much fun to eat. There’s feta cheese, toasted pine nuts, tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, baby spinach, artichokes, black olives, roasted peppers, balsamic vinegar and lots of good olive oil. I mix in fresh herbs like rosemary and mint and they really amp up the flavor.
Most of these ingredients are something I keep on hand in my pantry and refrigerator at all times, so it’s easy to make this salad whenever I want. It’s also easy to customize, adding or subtracting whatever you have on hand or desire.
Once made, this orzo salad keeps well too. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days and still be as good as when you first made it. Bring it to a pot luck or serve it at a barbecue this summer and see it disappear. Every time I make it, I get asked for the recipe, which is why I’m so happy to finally share it here with everyone on Love and Duck Fat.
If you do make this salad, I would love to hear how much you enjoyed it in the comment section below.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to the water. Add pasta and cook until al dente (about 7 minutes). Drain pasta and add it to a bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and toss. Allow to cool completely.
Using a small skillet toast the pine nuts over medium-high heat until they are slightly brown and fragrant.
Toss the orzo with the pine nuts, tomato, onion, herbs, artichokes, olives, feta cheese, cucumber and red pepper.
Add the spinach leaves and vinaigrette. Toss again. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
I have a habit of grabbing unusual ingredients when I see them in the market. Sometimes I come across jicama (pronounced hikama). This unusual little gem of an ingredient looks like a brown turnip. It requires no cooking, and is surprisingly sweet; with a texture similar to an apple.
Living in South Florida, we get a lot of steamy days. Adding fruit to a salad, like in this watermelon feta salad, is one of my favorite ways to cool down. The play of textures and sweet/salty/sour is addicting.
I made this salad from ingredients I had in my fridge at the time, and it was amazing. You’ll love the contrast of the crunchy jicama and the soft, juicy sweetness of the melon. The mint adds a refreshing touch; perfect for a hot summer day. The shades of green make a beautiful presentation, but feel free to substitute your favorite melon.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serving Size: 4
Prepare jicama by simply peeling or cutting off the outer skin. Cut into small pieces or julienne. Toss into a large bowl with green onion, melon, cucumber and mint.
Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Season well with salt and pepper.
Toss salad with dressing. Serve right away or chill in refrigerator for an hour.
This refreshing watermelon, tomato, feta and mint salad only takes a few minutes to make. It’s beautiful and addicting; the perfect salad on a hot summer day. If you plan to serve right away, I recommend chilling all of the ingredients first so your salad is nice and cold.
Combine all of the salad ingredients. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and season to taste. Dress the salad and you’re done. It will also keep in the refrigerator for about a day. Enjoy!