DIY DIVA
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In the Garden: 3 Summer Salads

September 3, 2014 | 8 Comments | Uncategorized
DIY diva

Since I got a bit sidetracked from my plan to buy lumber and build a chicken run over the long weekend, I decided to spend a little time on some other long-neglected work around the house. Or, rather, in the garden.

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Remember when it used to look like this three months ago?

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It’s a bit of a jungle and it needed some major weeding, tending, and harvesting.

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Most of my tomatoes are cherry or black krim, and unfortunately all of the plants in the garden have caught some kind of blight (I hear it’s making the rounds up here, and these heirloom versions are less resistant than others.)

I picked as much as I could to let it ripen in the house…

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There certainly isn’t a lack of produce in the house right now…

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The peppers, kale, eggplants, and cukes are still going strong, and one of the best things about this time of year is ALL OF THE FOOD. I’ve been mixing things up into a few different salads (okay, fine, with the help of my restaurant-owning dude who is way better at cooking than I am) here are a few ways I’ve been eating the harvest…

Kale Salad

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My bearded guy taught me the trick to making kale awesome is to massage it with olive oil and salt. (No joke, it works… the kale becomes much less bitter and tough.)

For this salad we added in green pepper, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a little garlic from the garden, along with sunflower seeds and some Parmesan cheese from my fridge.

The dressing was something he whipped up that had salt, pepper, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes in it. From what I can tell by observing him cook, you just toss as much of those ingredients as you want in the bowl and mix everything up. (Seemed to work, it was delicious.)

Cucumber & Chickpea Salad

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This is actually one of my own staple recipes, probably because it just combines ingredients I typically have on hand. Here’s what I usually use:

  • 1 cucumber (fresh from the garden)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup or so of cottage cheese (or sometimes a few tablespoons of hummus instead)
  • chives (also fresh from the garden)
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried dill to taste

Just dump everything in a bowl and mix it together. Sometimes I add sunflower seeds. Usually I end up eating the whole bowl (which is crazy, this makes a really, really large bowl.)

The Wurst Cucumber Salad

I really don’t eat much meat, so you would think I might be in a slightly better position to invent salads then a guy who runs a restaurant based around bratwurst. You would be wrong. A few weeks ago, I shipped an excess of cucumber off with my dude, and he made a cuke salad as one of their specials at the bar, and it was literally the most delicious thing that’s ever been done with cucumber.

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Pretty sure he’s already looking smug at that point.

From what I gather, the salad was pretty basic, just cucumbers, red onion, parsley, and macadamia nuts (yes, macadamia nuts… they are so delicious in this.) The dressing is the key though, and I have it on good authority these are the ingredients:

  • Olive oil (1 cup?)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • brown sugar
  • sesame oil
  • salt
  • pinch of chili pepper and lime zest

People who work in the restaurant industry clearly aren’t real good with “measurements” but I think you can just keep adding things to taste, and it usually turns out delicious.

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    Comments

  • Melissa


    Tomato blight seems to be a big problem this year everywhere. Here in MN almost everyone I know with a garden as had issues with blight or just poor tomato production. I may have to *gasp* but a case of tomatoes from the local food co-op in order to make salsa and pasta sauce this year.

  • Guerrina


    Missed blight here in CT, but the super cooler than normal temps have stunted plant growth a lot! Too funny about quantity of ingredients! Our Italian family is like that,too – makes it difficult to tell someone how to make something!

  • Virginia


    All sounds scrumptious! From farm to table, the only way!! Enjoy your harvest!

  • Linzy


    Sorry about the blight, dude. Advice that you didn’t ask for? Next year steer clear of the heirlooms and mulch in with a thick layer of cocoa mulch (smells amazing and breaks down so well for the next season) or a super-thick layer of straw. Maters love straw. So do slugs, though, so keep your other leafy edibles in a bed that isn’t right next door.
    Lookin’ good, though!

    • Kit


      Awesome advice! (My mom was kind of on an all-natural-organic-heirloom kick when she started all of these in spring, but it’s a good lesson that some of the newer varieties that are disease resistant are a better bet.)

  • Kel S


    Thanks for sharing these recipes. Really good – and really good to have something special to share with my guests..

  • Kristine


    Ohh your garden is so great that I have turned envious shade of green. I live in apartment and I have a Hydroponic herb garden. I am afraid to call it one after seeing yours. Keep up the good work and keep those photos coming

  • Emily F


    I finally got around to trying one of your salad recipes! I made the chickpea cucumber one and it took me so long because it required a trip to the store. Chickpeas aren’t something I normally have around because I didn’t have anything to really do with them. But now I do! That recipe? It. is. DELICIOUS! Love it! It’s my new favorite lunch. :)

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