6.17.2012

Refresh

I will often go to any given website repeatedly for information - business hours, product research or to see what's new. But, for the most part, I forget to click the 'refresh' button and end up with the same old information. Sometimes I miss out on some new and exciting stuff.

I tend to do that with my recipes, too. I find one I like and make it over and over. I generally don't get bored - I just don't branch out. This is most obvious in the salad department.


My first inclination is to get out the Bibb lettuce, wash it, tear it, add chunks of perfectly ripe avocado and halved grape tomatoes, and then dress it simply with my favorite vinaigrette. It is, to me, the perfect salad. I rarely make any salad BUT that one. Thus, it is time to click the refresh button!

At the farmers market, Leo and Forrest had (in addition to purple asparagus, squash blossoms and lemon cucumbers) 'Zephyr' summer squash. It is straight-necked summer variety that is a beautiful pale yellow at the stem end, with a wide, spring green stripe at the blossom end. We got it last year, too, and it grilled beautifully - sweet and tender, remaining firm and toothsome. I got them again today to grill.

But, instead of grilling, I clicked my refresh button. WWJD? (What Would Julia Do?) I recalled a side dish/salad that our friend Barbara made with zucchini, goat cheese and mint. Something to that effect would be perfect! (I guess I should have asked WWBD?)

Instead of using the mandoline to cut it into coins, I opted for the vegetable peeler to make wide, paper-thin strips. I was afraid I wouldn't see the beautiful stripes but, as you can see from the photos, they are visible.

I mixed the squash with some mint from Connie's garden, extra virgin olive oil, the zest of a lemon, its juice and some fresh feta cheese from Chiva Risa farms in Vail, Arizona - I tossed it like pappardelle and we had one beautiful and tasty salad.

Why don't I do try new things more often? Who knows... I am just glad I refreshed today.

Happy Summer!

~ David

Summer Squash, Feta and Mint Salad

1 pound Zephyr squash (small zucchini, yellow squash or a combination work, too)
6 ounces best-quality feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (oregano or basil work, too)
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Slice the squash into paper-thin strips using a vegetable peeler. Alternatively, use a mandoline and slice the squash into paper-thin coins.

Place squash in a large salad bowl and top with crumbled feta, chopped mint and lemon zest. Drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice and toss well to coat the vegetables and cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

9 comments:

  1. Now that's a beautiful summer salad! I've never seen little two-tone squash (or zucchini as we call them) like those before. This is a salad I'd happily tuck into just on its own. A very nice break from your usual lettuce, tomato and avocado salad as well!

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  2. This just LOOKS so pretty! That it sounds delicious is a bonus;-) love feta and mint (my fav summer salad is that and watermelon over arugula with moroccan olives), and while not a big summer squash fan, definitely going to "refresh" that idea for this salad.

    Another wonderful post David!

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  3. I believe feta cheese can upgrade any salad or pasta. And fresh zucchini with mint is absolutely wonderful! There´s an interesting article by Amanda Hesser (http://food52.com/blog/3195_advice_for_future_food_writers) about becoming a food writer that, among many other things, suggests never eating the same meal twice as a way of getting to be more knowledgeable about food. It´s a bit of a stretch but it´s a great idea. I wonder WWJD with that!

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  4. What an unusual courgette! I have never seen it before. I'm going to look for it though.
    Your salad looks delicious, David. I get tired of making the same salads myself but I always seem to find something new, especially when I visit a friends' blogs. ;)

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  5. I am certainly glad you clicked the refresh button David! It is rare to see yellow zucchini and these two tone ones are just gorgeous! I feel as if I need to grow them...
    I have bookmarked this one for summer :)

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  6. John - this is one salad we often eat for a meal by itself although I admit to adding extra feta and lemon! I don't know if these Zephyr squash have made it Down Under yet - but they are sweet and tasty!

    Karin - Mark doesn't like summer squashes either yet he loves this salad - hope you do, too!

    Paula - thanks for that link to Amanda Hesser's site! I do agree that it is good to make different things all the time - it is how we, as foodies, grow! We never (unless requested) serve the same thing twice to guests. We even had a detailed Excel spreadsheet searchable by guest and menu items!

    Thanks, Magda - I know I end up trying a lot of new things thanks to you! Let me know if you find the Zephyr squashes in The Netherlands!

    Anna - I thought of you all below the equator when I made this! Next post was inspired by John of He Needs Food and is definitely winter comfort food!

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  7. Hi David,
    I am on the look out for Zephyr squash now. I will check out the local farmers' markets and, of course, Golden Harvest. They are lovely and the salad looks like the perfect meal for a hot summer day...or, actually, ANY day! Thanks for trying new things...and sharing your discoveries!
    Cheers!

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  8. Susan - I know the zephyr seeds are readily available in the U.S., so I wouldn't be surprised if you found them in the market there. I wonder if adding nuts (walnuts, perhaps) would be good in this salad?

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  9. This is one of my favourite dishes. Recently I had it with toasted almond flakes, it was georgous. Living in the south of France make me yearn for zingy salads. Perhaps I should include some receipes <a href="http://www.celialindsell.com/category.php?cid=7”>here</a>

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Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

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