I've been a fan of zucchini noodles ever since a friend with a spiral vegetable slicer introduced them to me a couple summers ago. But this year I have a new obsession: raw, refreshing cucumber noodles!
Most of the year, open my kitchen pantry and you'll find stack upon stack of canned tomatoes. That's because I refuse to buy them fresh when they're out of season. Sure, lots of food suffers in its off season, shipped from afar or forced in less-than-ideal growing conditions. But I find the variation in tomatoes by far the most drastic: a supermarket tomato in February has nothing in common with a garden tomato in July.
There are moments when I'm truly taken aback and surprised by a new way to cook or use a common kitchen ingredient. This can come about with spices or sauces or farmers market vegetables. This week, while eating plain snap peas as a snack, I ran across a recipe for roasted snap peas. And everything changed.
On Monday I posted a retro recipe for cabbage and ramen slaw. Today I'm offering another throwback salad that also deserves its time in the sun. Three bean salad is a summer picnic and potluck favorite, and for very good reason.
We were out of town at the beginning of the month and spent a few days in New York City visiting my sister. Coming from Seattle, I'm not used to that kind of heat and humidity and we virtually melted — relying largely on salads for dinner because they didn't require an oven or a subway schlep. Even when I'm at home, I eat salads frequently and there are a few quick tasks I like to do on the weekend to make salads quick and simple for the week ahead.
The first time I discovered ramen noodle salad was a culinary revelation. (Yes, those 99-cent ramen noodles.) It was sweet, tangy, and crunchy all at the same time, and it was a far cry from the creamy Southern slaws of my youth. Needless to say, I was hooked.
July 4th was yesterday, but picnics will continue all through the weekend. And then there's the beach getaway, and the family reunion, and what all that adds up to, basically, are lots more opportunities to eat corn on the cob. We just learned the most interesting trick for cooking corn on the cob for a crowd — have you ever heard of "cooler corn"?
Nothing offends me like an unripe tomato. And I'm not referring to a green tomato, which can be transformed into a delicious, fried delight. The tomatoes that get me all worked up are pink, hard and usually served alongside an otherwise decent salad or burger. These pink travesties are particularly offensive in South Carolina in the summer. We grow tomatoes here like nobody's business, and there's no excuse for a bad one.
Last week my husband and I packed up the car and drove nearly 500 miles to Atlanta to celebrate my sister's wedding. I love a good road trip. It gives you time to think and to talk, and to watch the landscape of mountains and fields roll by.
While free of the discomforts of plane travel, car travel does carry its own pitfalls, like the lure of fast food and gas station Slurpees. My strategy is to be prepared with something delicious and easy, like this couscous salad — a refreshing lunch at any time, but especially on a long summer road trip.
This past weekend I roadtripped it from Ohio to Atlanta, where my sister got married in a country field in the sunshine, and where we swatted mosquitoes and drank beer out of Mason jars and had an altogether lovely time. For the trip down, I wanted to stay refreshed and stave off the munchies with something tasty but light. Thus I discovered my new favorite travel snack — the perfect little bundle of green.