Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Garlic Scented Lima Beans
Fennel, Feta, Mint, Oregano, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil

Cool-crisp Persian cucumbers and creamy-buttery lima beans make a delightful summer duo. Fennel adds a bright crunch with a sweet, nutty anise flavor.

The large limas by Lompoc Beans are sold at our local Torrance Farmers Market. They are also available online. Grown in Santa Barbara County, the beans cook up beautifully smooth and tender.

Soak 2 cups of beans in water for 4 1/2 hours then drain. Place beans in a pot and add fresh cold water to cover by 2 inches. Add 4 smashed garlic cloves. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer, cook uncovered, for one hour. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Cook al dente (soft but not mushy), taste a few beans for doneness. Drain. Set aside to serve at room temperature.

It’s a fun salad to compose. Put cucumber chunks in a roomy ziplock bag and smash with a mallet. Squeeze lemon juice and drizzle fruity olive oil into the bag. Add shaved fennel and toss the bag to coat the veggies with the dressing. Let marinate for 10 minutes.

Smashed Cucumber Salad Composition

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Refreshing Rice Noodle Salad, Ginger Lime Dressing

Refreshing Rice Noodle Salad, Lime Ginger Dressing

Refreshing Rice Noodle Salad

Thai Brown Rice Vermicelli, Butter Lettuce
Carrot, Cucumber, Red Bell Pepper, Serrano Chile, Fresh Herbs, Peanuts
Ginger Lime Dressing

Warmer weather is on its way and this salad is the perfect antidote for those sweltering days to come. It’s light, cool, fresh, refreshing, and zingy. The rice noodles come from my friends at Explore Cuisine – made in Thailand, organic, whole grain, gluten-free. Crisp strips of colorful vegetables, a fiery chile, and lots of rough chopped basil, cilantro, and mint are combined with roasted peanuts and a lively ginger lime dressing. This rice noodle salad is lightweight yet satisfying and it’s a wholesome recipe to help beat that heat.

Refreshing Rice Noodle Salad Recipe

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Unique Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Salad - Pomegranate Syrup, Feta, Cucumber, Red Onion, Borage, Cayenne, Olive Oil, Sprouted Watermelon Seeds, Basil

A Unique Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Brick, Pomegranate Syrup, Feta, Cucumber
Borage, Basil, Red Onion, Cayenne, Olive Oil, Sprouted Watermelon Seeds

Borage and Basil Centerpiece

 Welcome to My

BORAGE & BASIL
Bistro

The Borage & Basil Bistro is a bright sunny spot, a virtual place to enjoy summer’s bounty on a pretty plate. A relaxing place to sip a nice cool, crisp and melon-y Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh picked herbs and edible flowers dominate the menu.

Today’s salad special takes the ubiquitous combination of watermelon and feta and adds our eponymous borage & basil. Like bright stars falling from the summer sky…with it’s electric blue color and a faintly sweet flavor with hints of cucumber, borage makes the presentation pop! Pomegranate syrup adds sweet and tangy notes, while sprouted watermelon seeds add interest – they’re high in protein, with a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture. It’s a visually striking salad, light yet satisfying. And it just screams summer!

Watermelon Salad - Pomegranate Syrup, Feta, Cucumber, Red Onion, Borage, Cayenne, Olive Oil, Sprouted Watermelon Seeds, Basil

Unique Watermelon Salad Recipe

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Fennel and Cabbage Slaw with Bacon, Egg, Peas

Fennel and Cabbage Slaw with Bacon, Egg, Peas

Warm Fennel, Cabbage, and Celery Slaw
with
Bacon Lardons, Poached Egg, Peas, and Scallions
Garlic Whole Grain Croutons

I just blinked an eye and my fennel bush grew four feet. And those umbels of petite yellow florets seemed to suddenly appear too. I didn’t want to harvest the bulbs – the plant is so pretty in the garden with its bright feathery leaves – but I did want to use those fronds and flowers in a dish. It turns out that my friends at Food Network are featuring all kinds of SLAW this week,  so I started with fennel and cabbage (from the farmers market) as a base and built this delightful salad from there.

Unlike most slaws, it is served slightly warm. And there are many flavors and textures in the dish that harmonize with each other. It is flexible too – going low-carb or gluten-free? Just leave out the croutons. Vegetarians can omit the bacon. Everyone can still be happy. Guaranteed.

Fennel Cabbage Slaw Recipe

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Hello? Summer calling…

 summer salad, corn, tomato couscous, basil lemon dressing
Hello Summer Salad

Israeli Couscous, Corn, Heirloom Tomato, Zucchini, Jalapeño
Chunky Lemon Basil Dressing, Chervil

I forget how much I like Israeli couscous. It’s airy, toasty, and kind of fun. Perfect for summer. This roasted pasta is shaped like little balls and popular with kids in Israel where it’s called ptitim, we know it here as Israeli couscous. It makes a pasta salad that’s light and not too pasta-y. Vegetables are the star, but the couscous makes it into a meal. A beautiful colorful healthy meal for a hot summer day…

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What makes this the perfect garden party salad?

garden party shrimp salad, lemon basil shrimp salad
garden party shrimp salad

shrimp, navy bean, arugula, cucumber, olive, tomato, red onion
chunky lemon basil dressing

What makes this the perfect garden party salad? Breezy summery colors ~ pink, green, yellow, red. Contrasting textures from creamy beans to crunchy cucumber. It’s light enough to enjoy on a hot summer day, yet substantial enough to be a satisfying entrée. Ease of preparation, everything is made ahead and refrigerated in separate containers. The salad is composed just before serving ~ it’s casual and informal. The dressing is bright and pizazzy, whole lemon adds a bold note… As for the flavor, please be my guest and Taste With The Eyes!

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