Saturday, September 01, 2007

'Mater and Cuke Salad

It must be August, it’s so hot. No, wait, it’s September and still hot for northern California. Well, can’t argue with Momma Nature, so dinner will need to be something that doesn’t heat up the kitchen. It’s also a good evening to bring something to Lis and Ivonne’s La Festa al Fresco, the blog world’s biggest patio party. A party celebrating good, fresh, seasonal food with friends in the fresh air is perfect for warm and sultry evenings.

Now that the heirloom tomatoes have kicked in with plenty of ripe fruits, what better way to enjoy them than in a tomato and cucumber salad?

'Mater and Cucumber Salad
To a mixture of about 3 cups of chunks of a whole rainbow of colors of tomatoes, I added another 2 cups of chunks of seeded cucumber from my garden. I used two medium green cucumbers and 1 large lemon cucumber. Over those I poured ½ cup red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar and ¼ cup Meyer Lemon flavored olive oil (although unflavored olive oil would also work fine). ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper was sprinkled over the top and I folded the mixture together until well mixed. If you like you can add 1 – 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basic, and/or ¼ teaspoon minced garlic.

Tomatoes, to retain their best flavor, should not be refrigerated. Leave the bowl on the counter and stir it a couple of more times to make sure that everything has a chance to bathe in the marinade.

After marinating for a few hours, taste to see if the salad needs more pepper or an addition of salt. This salad is so pretty that you can just serve it in a nice bowl with a slotted serving spoon, or you can place mounds of it in lettuce cups for a fancier presentation.

The rest of dinner on this hot evening? We had grilled fresh zucchini, some of the last from the garden, I’m afraid. The poor zucchini plants have been producing faithfully since May, so they deserve to reduce production.

Sweetie also grilled some chicken thighs which he had seasoned with garlic salt and a nip of bourbon. Who needs barbeque sauce when you have bourbon? It gives grilled meats, poultry and fish a nice smoky taste.

“Tutti a tavola” which means “everyone to the table”. See you on the patio!


  1. wow - I could eat the tomatoes off this page! Looks like you're having a wonderful harvest. Looking forward to getting together next!

  2. Okay the only thing missing is the heel of a good crusty loaf of Italian bread to sop up the dressing and 'mater juices! YUM!

    I'll bring the bread!!

    Thank you so much for coming to the Festa, Elle.. you've made us happy gals! =)


  3. Anna, I'll be in touch real soon. Thanks for the kind is a good harvest at last.

    Lis, Yeah, that IS what was missing...what was I thinking of? Still have some in the bowl...need to go get some good bread today. Thanks! Wouldn't miss your patio party for the world.

  4. Anonymous3:54 PM

    what a refreshing salad! see you at the party!

  5. Pretty, yet screams emergency room for me.

  6. Anonymous6:23 AM

    hi, I am a new reader to your blog and wondered if you could please send some of that wonderful hot weather over to Geneva... they are announcing 11° tomorrow!
    Your tomatoes look great and make a lovely salad, I look forward to reading about your next creations

  7. Anonymous8:09 AM


    That's just gorgeous! And you get the award for best name for a dish!

    Thanks so much for bringing this to the party, my friend!

  8. beautiful heirloom tomatoes!

  9. I have tons of lemon cucumbers in my garden and haven't even tried them yet! I have to get on that one...

  10. Elle, this salad would make a wonderful lunch for me today - I have never seen lemon cucumbers, I'm curious!

  11. Lovely, colourful salad indeed:)

  12. Such beautiful tomatoes, how happy that'd make me!

  13. Such a pretty combination!

  14. That looks so refreshing and good!

  15. Veron, Sure will! Party on!

    Cynthia, Come to the party & you can 'virtually' have some :)

    Peabody, Wish I could wave a magic wand so you could eat tomatoes. Don not want to see you in the ER.

    Erica, Hope some warmer weather headed your could have mine :) Thanks for the nice words.

    Ivonne, Thanks for hosting the party...glad you like the name :)

    Connie, Thanks...knew these plants as mere seeds.

    Brilynn,Go for it...the lemon cukes are fun because when you slice them it sort of looks like lemon slices. They are nice and crisp too.

    Patricia,I got the seeds from Renee's Garden seeds...they are also an heirloom variety & easy to grow.


    Kelly-Jane,The color is more than half the fun!


    Helene, It is refreshing,m especially on a hot day.