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Quick summer sides. August 22, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading, recipes, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s high summer. Finally, there’s tons of marvelous corn on the cob. There are fabulous ripe tomatoes. There are a wealth of bell peppers in every imaginable color. You’d like to enjoy this abundance while keeping the menu light and easy. What to do? Here are a bunch of summer sides that our friend Ben and I (and our Supper Club friends) just love. They’re quick, they’re easy, they’re delicious, and they go perfectly with corn on the cob and a platter of sliced vine-ripened tomatoes (preferably with fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil).

        Carrot Cabbage Confetti Slaw

Try this take on quick coleslaw and you’ll boost your immunity along with giving a big boost to your tastebuds!

1 package shredded carrots

2 packages shredded red cabbage

1 carton crumbled gorgonzola cheese (or curmbled feta or blue cheese if desired)

2 tablespoons fennel seeds (or 1/2 fennel bulb, diced fine, or 2 T caraway or cumin seeds)

1/4 to 1/2 cup sunflower kernels

1 diced sweet onion (Vidalia, WallaWalla, Candy, or 1015 type)

1/3 to 1/2 bottle Greek salad dressing, vinaigrette, or oil and vinegar

salt to taste (we like RealSalt)

Toss ingredients well to mix, then add the dressing, stirring gently but well to coat everything thoroughly. Leave out at room temp, covered, for at least an hour before serving so flavors have a chance to blend. (Needless to say, you can shred your own cabbage and grate your own carrots for an only slightly less quick version.)

               Egg Salad a la Silence

We actually love this simple but flavorful egg salad as a sandwich filling on multigrain bread with crunchy romaine lettuce and thick slices of tomato. But it’s also perfect as a salad on a bed of lettuce leaves, with arugula or watercress, as a filling for endive leaves or celery stalks, or on rounds of toast.

6 hard-boiled eggs

2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons mustard (we like Jim Beam or Jack Daniels) 

1 heaping tablespoon horseradish

salt to taste (we like RealSalt)

lemon pepper to taste

Peel and mince hardboiled eggs in a large bowl. Stir in all other ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.

         Silence’s Refrigerator Pickles

These are spicy, flavorful, and long-keeping, even in the fridge. Great as accompaniments with an egg salad sandwich, confetti salad, and sweet potato chips!

3-6 slender cukes, sliced

1 cup sugar

1 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon black mustardseed

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 tablespoon whole cloves

1 large sweet onion or more to taste, diced

dash hot sauce, like Pick-a-Peppa or Tabasco Chipotle

Combine sugar and vinegar and heat until sugar dissolves. Add salt, spices, and hot sauce. Layer sliced cukes and diced onion in alternate layers in a glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. When the brine has cooled to lukewarm, pour it over the cukes and onions, close the lid tightly, and refrigerate. You can begin eating the pickles in 3 to 5 days; the flavor gets stronger over time. The pickled onions are fabulous in salads and sandwiches.  

Of course, you can make your own homemade fresh salsa from yoru garden bounty, too.

           Simple Fresh Salsa

2 large or 5 paste tomatoes, diced

1 large green bell pepper, cored and diced

1 large sweet onion (Vidalia, WallaWalla, 1015, or Candy type), peeled and diced

3 scallions (green onions), minced

1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

1 lemon, seeded and squeezed

1 jalapeno pepper, cored and minced

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together and refrigerate overnight. You can subsitute lime, orange, or even grapefruit juice for the lemon juice if you’d like a different twist on an old favorite.

       Lentil Salad

The name may not be too enticing, but the dish is beyond fabulous. Serve it over lettuce leaves with diced tomatoes and plain yogurt on top. Serve this with hot corn on the cob and barbecued chicken or wings and you’ll be so addicted! Or tuck it in a hot pita with romaine, tomato, yogurt and paprika for a delicious lunch. Yum!!!

4 cups cooked lentils

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large sweet onion, diced

6 scallions (green onions), minced

1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cored and chopped

1 large yellow or orange tomato, diced

1 bunch fresh parsley, minced

1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced

1 bunch fresh mint, minced

juice of 1 lemon

extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Cook lentils until soft but still shapely (this shouldn’t take more than 1/2 hour, and you shouldn’t presoak them) and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in garlic, onion, scallions, pepper, tomato, parsley, cilantro, mint, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Hmmm, looks like it’s almost time for dinner. Guess I’d better go see which of these tempting sides I’ll make tonight!

           ‘Til next time,




1. Becca - August 22, 2009

mmm, mmmm, mmmm…those pickles sound deelicious! try that with the curried egg salad. I serve my curried egg salad with piccalilli and it’s simply wonderful!

Great idea, Becca, thanks!!!

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