Summer also means lots of time away from home. We find ourselves heading out for happy hour after work, going out of town for the weekends and just taking advantage of the beautiful weather. Living in Wisconsin, you have to soak this up because it's gone before you can blink an eye!
For this weekend's experiment, I'm not focusing on a specific food, but rather a simple summer salad. A clean, crisp salad full of simple ingredients and whole foods. A dish that anyone can make....no cooking involved at all. A dish to cleanse the palate, and liven up your holiday picnic. This salad packs a good punch...the tangy vinegar gives it a robust flavor.
I was inspired by these sweet and sour cucumbers my grandma used to make in the summertime. She would soak them in sugar and vinegar overnight, and then serve them for dinner the next day. It's a dish that I remember fondly as a child, and it most likely began my obsession with vinegar (I used to drink it out of the bowl when we were done!). I revised the salad a little by adding more veggies, and removing the sugar all together. It might be a little too tangy for your liking, so just add a drop or two of agave nectar to balance it out if you need to (mix this directly to the vinegar before pouring on veggies, so you don't end up with sweet slices of vegetables). Play around with the ingredients, and truly make it your experiement!
Grandma's Simple Summer Salad
2 large carrots, peeled
2 large cucumbers, skins and seeds removed, then peeled (or peeled down until you get to the seeds)
1/4 red onion, peeled
salt & pepper to taste
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3-4T Champagne vinegar (depending on your taste)
Peel and de-seed the cucumbers. Then, with the vegetable peeler, peel lenthwise so you get long strips of cucumber. Place the cucumbers in a strainer, sprinkle with salt and place a plate or something heavy on them to drain some of the liquid. Meanwhile, do the same thing with your carrots, peeling them lenghthwise into long strips. Use your peeler to do the same thing to your red onion. You could also use a mandolin, if you have one. Place all of the strips of veggies into a bowl, sprinkle with more salt & pepper. Splash the EVOO and vinegar over them. Toss and let sit for 30 min before serving. Drain some of the liquid from the bottom if it seems like it's too much (depending on your cucumbers you may have a lot of water).
*For an extra special tip (from Emma) you could add delicious raw beets to this salad too*