Mediterranean Vegetable Salad – chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta tossed with a light lemon garlic dressing with lots of fresh herbs!

Mediterranean Vegetable Salad - chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta tossed with a light lemon garlic dressing with lots of fresh herbs!

Last week I realized that our air conditioner wasn’t working. It took me almost a month to realize this. And then another week to accept the fact that I had to call our housing office and whine. I had many conversations with myself that went “Well, 88 degrees isn’t that hot” and “I guess I can go without turning the oven on and drying clothes…”

Well I finally broke this past weekend. I completely flipped out because I WAS SWEATING WHILE WEARING A DRESS AND SITTING ON MY BUTT. And, of course, since it was the weekend so the housing office was closed.

Monday I got ahold of them and the guy came out to look at it. He called me out to the backyard where this super clear exchange took place:

Him: “Look at this.” *points to block of ice in the a/c*
Me: “Mmmkay.”
Him: “You need to change the filter every 30 days.”
Me: “But you keep it locked.”
Him: “We change it for you.”
Me: “But… you didn’t…?”
Him: “Yeah, you need to change it every 30 days.”
Me: “?!?!?!?!”
Him: “I’ll be back later.”

And then he never came back.

The good news is that the a/c is now working. The bad news is it’s looking like we’ll be going through this exact scenario next summer since I’m still not clear who the heck is supposed to change the filter.

Mediterranean Vegetable Salad

I made this salad that day because the air had to be completely turned off and I didn’t want to heat up the kitchen.

This fit the bill and was super refreshing.

It’s chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta cheese in a light lemon garlic dressing with a ton of fresh herbs. So basically all of my favorite things!

I just finished up the leftovers yesterday and I’m pretty sad about it. I see myself making this again and again through the summer.

(My anxiety over calling housing is not limited to a/c issues – earlier this year I went 3 months without light in my kitchen.)

5 from 1 vote
Mediterranean Vegetable Salad

Ingredients
  • cups cherry tomatoes quartered
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 10 scallions white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 hothouse cucumber halved lengthwise, seeded, and ½-inch diced
  • 1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs minced garlic
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 ounces feta cheese broken into chunks if necessary
Instructions
  1. Place the quartered tomatoes in a mesh strainer and gently toss with ½ teaspoon of salt. Allow to drain 20-30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic 1½ teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil.
  3. Spin the tomatoes in a salad spinner several times to remove seeds and moisture. (or rinse and drain well). Toss the tomatoes with the scallions, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, mint, and basil in a large bowl. Give the dressing one more whisk before pouring over salad. Toss gently to coat. Add the feta and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve cold or at room temperature.
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I have a mile long list of things that I want/need to accomplish during this deployment and at the top of my list is “BAKE MORE OFTEN”. And to go along with that: “blog more often”.

So here we go. 9 months of baking!

Bread has always been my favorite thing to bake, y’all know that. But it’s even more important to me these days because yeast doesn’t disappoint me at our crazy high elevation like baking powder or soda does. I’ve been saving this recipe for yummy tomatoes but I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to make it.

Focaccia is probably my favorite bread because of it’s crisp exterior and almost airy inside. I just love it! But putting tomatoes and cheese on top of that focaccia crust that I love so much just sent it over the edge. It was definitely one of my favorites.

The day after I made it, I sliced a piece in half and turned the tomato half upside down to make a sandwich (does that make sense?) and then grilled it on the panini press. Best sandwich of my life.

Three years ago: Rye Pecan Rolls

Tomato Herb Focaccia
adapted from Taste of Home
Ingredients
  • 1 package 1/4 ounce active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 teaspoon each dried oregano thyme and rosemary, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 to 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large tomato thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, sugar, garlic, dried herbs, pepper and 1-1/2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft, sticky dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 400F.
  4. Punch dough down. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into a 13-in. x 9-in. rectangle; place on parchment paper covered baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Drizzle the remaining oil over the dough; use your fingertips to press dimples into the dough while spreading the oil around. Top with tomatoes and cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

This post submitted to YeastSpotting.

 

15

If yesterdays post was last minute 4th of July ideas, here’s a last last minute idea.

My boys bought their daddy a grill for Father’s Day and he’ss been obsessed with it ever since. He’s so serious about it that he’s been going to the grocery store by himself to pick out what he wants to grill. It’s been the usual for the most part (burgers, sausage, chicken) but one day he shocked me with some corn. It was so delicious right off the grill and I knew immediately that I wanted to make this salad with it.

The sweet corn with the tart lime dressing is such a weird combination but so good! And anything with avocado is good in my book! Husband doesn’t like avocado or cilantro but even he liked this. I’m definitely making this again the next time we have some extra grilled corn.

I do recommend using cherry tomatoes. I used the larger grape tomatoes and I felt like they were too big compared to the rest of the ingredients. If you love tomatoes (I don’t) you might not have an issue with it though.

Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ears of fresh sweet corn
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 ripe avocado diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Remove husks from corn and grill over medium heat for 10 minutes. The corn should have some brown spots and be tender and not mushy. Let cool slightly before cutting the corn off the cob. Add tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro.
  2. To make the dressing, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, honey, garlic, and salt and pepper. Pour over the corn mixture and gently toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least 10 – 15 minutes before
12

My husband and I talk about food a lot. What he wants me to make. What I want to blog. What we wish we were eating right this second. Our last few conversations have centered around tomatoes and how they’re usually too mushy for us. So this past Friday night when I was grocery shopping (too much excitement for you, right?) I sent him a text saying I picked up some green tomatoes and his response was… well, not appropriate for a family friendly blog such as this. ;) Let’s just say he was scared.

As soon as I saw the tomatoes I knew what I wanted to do with them. BLTs are one of our favorite meals and I thought a fried green tomato would kind of shake things up a little bit without adding much work to the simple meal. And they did exactly that. They added a whole new texture with the crispy cornmeal crust that just really put the sandwich over the top. I’m not sure we’ll be able to go back to eating regular BLTs after this!

Fried Green Tomato BLT
Ingredients
For the tomatoes:
  • 2 large green tomatoes sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • about 3/4 cup canola oil for frying
For the sandwiches:
  • Kaiser rolls
  • mayo mustard, any other condiments
  • bacon sliced in half and cooked
  • iceberg lettuce
Instructions
  1. Pour oil in a heavy-bottomed pan; heat over medium-high heat.
  2. Whisk egg and milk together in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  3. On a plate, stir together flour, cornmeal, Panko, salt, and pepper.
  4. Once oil is heated, dip tomato slices one by one in egg and then flour. Make sure tomato is coated in flour mixture and then place in oil. Fry 3 or 4 at a time, making sure not to crowd the tomatoes. Fry for about 3 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown; flip and cook other side until golden. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Assemble sandwiches and enjoy!


6

A few weeks back I confessed my love of the movie Julie and Julia and almost immediately started getting comments, emails, and even tweets telling me that I just had to try the bruschetta that Julie prepares makes at one point during the movie. If you’ve seen the movie, there’s no way you didn’t notice this bruschetta. Julie fries the bread and chops up these big, plump tomatoes, then she and her husband talk about how amazing it is. And holy geez, did it look amazing.

So when my mom gave me a huge bag of fresh tomatoes this past weekend, I knew some were destined to become the J&J bruschetta. There are many recipes out there claiming to be the one but the general idea of all of them is tomatoes, basil, and the fried bread.

I don’t like tomatoes. I don’t think the texture matches the taste and it just throws me off. But for some reason I really enjoyed this. I think it was the crunchy bread with the tomato texture that did it for me. It was great. And shockingly enough, my husband loved it too. I worried he would say it was “chick food” but he definitely had more than 1 piece of bread.

I did have one issue. I tried to fry the bread. I tried in olive oil, in butter, in a dry hot pan. I eventually resorted to the toaster oven but if you can get yours that perfect shade of gold in a frying pan, do it! Do it and enjoy it and feel no guilt about the oil or the butter because as Julie says in the movie, “You can never have too much butter.

5 from 1 vote
Bruschetta a la Julie and Julia
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ripe tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 loaf crusty French bread sliced 3/4 inch thick
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and sliced in half
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup olive oil or butter
Instructions
  1. Mix tomatoes and basil together and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter in frying pan and fry bread until golden brown on both side. Remove and drain on paper towel. Rub one side with garlic clove.
  3. Drain the tomato-basil mixture of excess liquid and spoon on to each slice of bread.
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