Thursday, July 10, 2008

chopped vegetable, watermelon and feta salad

chopped salad with watermelon and feta

Wow, just wow. You sure know how to give a girl performance anxiety! I mean, how do I top a wedding cake? Am I going to have to mill my own flour? (Do you “mill” flour? Should getting the lexicon right be the first step?) Should I buy a cow so I can get the milk for free (oh, how I crack myself up…) and make butter and yogurt and mm, creme fraiche? How will a simple salad keep you interested now?

Pondering this the last couple days has gotten me back to a question I started kicking around last fall with the Pie Crust 101 instructional, but I confess got lost in the grind of holidays and the crushing business of work, work work.

chopped salad with watermelon and feta

Yet with my new, slightly-more-flexible schedule, I’m once again itching to ask you this burning question: What are you afraid to cook? I will not judge you. Here, I can start: Rice is not my forte. Oh, I can follow instructions and not-stir, not-stir and it’s manageable, possibly even edible, but I bet you would think that a girl who baked a wedding cake and enough bread to make Atkins roll over in his grave would have something like rice down pat.

But this isn’t about my myriad cooking woes–it’s all about you! No cooking fear is too small. No technique is too simple. Let’s all air this out and what I hope to do is have a sporadic series of posts in which I attempt to make it better. If I’ve posted about that food before, I’ll go back in more detail. If I haven’t, well then it is clearly time. And if I don’t know how to make it either, I might just call another guest into the smittenkitchen, if, like Torrie, they promise not to laugh at the grime we are–yes, still–in an undignified standoff with in front of the counter.

Sound good? Tell Doctor Deb your cooking fears in the comments below.

chopped salad with watermelon and feta

Meanwhile, although I won’t be winning any points for originality, here is a watermelon, vegetable and feta salad I made for dinner last night and it was mighty delicious. What I liked, and what differentiated it for me is that it had a lot of different ingredients going on, and had a really delicious dressing I’ll use again and again. This is the exact kind of summer cooking I can get behind: light and fresh, and as a bonus, great to pack away for the next picnic you’re attending.

This salad also managed to convince Alex that fruit and a savory salad could mix without terrible things happening, no small feat!

One year ago, plus a few we missed: Israeli Salad with Pita Chips, Roseanne Cash’s Potato Salad, Quick Potato Pierogi and Ratatouille’s Ratatouille

chopped salad with watermelon and feta

Watermelon and Feta Salad with Chopped Vegetables
Adapted from Bon Appetit

I’m so in love with the new Bon Appetit, I am forgiving the fact that they used the cringe-worthy word “veggies” in their initial title.

Serves at least four

1 pound Campari or plum tomatoes, diced, drained
1 1/2 cups diced seeded watermelon
1 large green bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1/2 large English hothouse cucumber, seeded, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1/2 cup very thinly sliced radishes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
10 ounces feta cheese, cut into small cubes (about 2 1/2 cups),
2 divided green onions, chopped, divided
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves, divided
1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Toss first five ingredients and two tablespoons oil in large bowl. Add half each of cheese, green onions, and mint. Mix remaining cheese, green onions, mint, and oil in processor; add yogurt and oregano. Process just to blend (do not over-mix or dressing will get thin). Season dressing with salt and pepper; mix into salad.


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