Summer. Warmth and BBQ smells envelop my neighborhood in muggy, mesquite hug. The tomatoes in the grocery stores go from mealy and bland to red savory fruits of the gods. Small Boy gets to run around free and diaperless, furtively stealing peas and beans from the vegetable garden and tinkling in the flower beds. Summer is also the season when I can look like a good cook with almost no effort because I have a few tricks up my (short) sleeve: want your salad to look artisan? Go find a few nasturtiums in your yard (the cheapest and easiest flower to grow) and throw them into the salad bowl. Artisan. Want your hamburgers to look and smell like they were made by hipster foodies who wear wool caps and beards in the summertime? Chop up a red onion and soak it in some apple cider vinegar for a few hours. Dump in the remnants of your sugar bowl and tell everyone that you used small batch turbinado (or whatever). Bam! Hipster burger condiment.
I’m feeling a little weary of hipsters these days.
This is the time of year when I make Cucumber, Mint, and Yogurt salad, because it must only be made when tomatoes and cucumbers are in season and at their peak flavor. I grew up eating this refreshing snack, and while I know that it is inexpensive and easy, to the uninitiated the flavors can be impressive.
Cucumber, Mint, and Yogurt Salad
1 medium cucumber, chopped into large pieces
2 roma tomatoes, diced and seeds removed
1 clove garlic, diced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
pinch kosher sea salt
1/2 cup plain, whole greek yogurt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Put the yogurt in a medium mixing bowl and add the salt, cumin, mint, and garlic. Mix until everything is incorporated, then add the cucumber and tomato. Stir gently and serve immediately. This salad doesn’t like to sit for long in the refrigerator, so it needs to be eaten within the hour. It can also be jazzed up with some chopped italian parsley or some finely diced preserved lemon.