My friend Mat sent me a really interesting recipe a few weeks ago, for blistered cucumbers, and I just had to try it. It caught my attention because cucumbers are one of the vegetables that you rarely, if ever, see cooked. And this recipe involves cooking them in a really interesting way. Count me in! Read the rest of this entry »
You know by now that I love produce straight off the tree. Or vine. Or bush. Most recently, I scored some great lemons and oranges from my friend Robyn’s backyard and some limes from my friend Emily’s. Although they’ve told me about it, I had completely forgotten that this year, my sister Sarah and her husband Justin put in a little garden along the side of their house, and Justin and I raided it to help put together last night’s dinner.
Here’s the garden:
They’re growing tomatoes, and these two guys were ready to go:
Justin harvested four cucumbers from his cucumber plants (he says they can barely keep up with the cucumbers they’re growing):
There’s also green peppers that are coming along nicely:
And some strawberry plants that haven’t yielded much this year, but I did find this little green guy:
So what did we do with the tomatoes and cucumbers?
We made a salad, of course!
Both tomatoes and 2 of the cucumbers got chopped up. My 5-year-old nephew Sam helped – I did the chopping, he put them in the bowl. We added a few more store-bought veggies: baby arugula, mushrooms, and 1/2 an orange bell pepper. For dressing, we added a little olive oil, some vinegar, and salt and pepper. This may be one of the freshest salads I’ve ever eaten:
The rest of my dinner was two sliders (each burger was 2 ounces), with tomato (also from the garden), lettuce, pickles, and mustard. I split 1 bun between the two of them, and ate them open-faced. I also nabbed about 4 french fries off my nephew’s plate.
My back is doing much better. If you saw yesterday’s post about pools and high-dives and moving and skyscrapers, then you read about how I threw out my back. Ouch. I consulted the fitness professionals in my life today: Richard Simmons, among other things, suggested a massage (which is a great idea), and Craig laid out a plan for when I should get back to the gym, and what I should do. Over the course of the day, during which I occasionally did stretches, my back improved. It’s not 100% better, but it’s improved.
Tomorrow I hop on a plane and fly to Michigan. Hopefully, this travel day won’t be as long and arduous as my last flight!
Keep it up, David!
First things first. I stepped on the scale yesterday, and I’ll just let my weight loss chart tell the rest:
Yep. I stayed the same. I’m at 238 pounds (still), which is a weight loss of 164 pounds. I had a really good week – 6 workouts in the last 7 days, and pretty good eating… until Monday, when I ate way too much at a Memorial Day BBQ. I think that one excessive meal, one day before weigh-in, was the reason I didn’t lose anything – although I suppose I should be happy that I didn’t gain anything either.
I’m not done talkin’ about the Memorial Day BBQ just yet, though – because I brought with me a salad to share, and now I’m gonna share it with you! I’ve been on a roll with tasty salads lately, especially if you like asparagus (see my two recent asparagus salads here and here), and I’m happy to add this one to the repertoire. It’s perfect for summer, which is why I brought it along to a Memorial Day BBQ.
The two main ingredients are watermelon and cucumber. I’ve never made a watermelon salad before, but I’ve been really enjoying the mini-watermelons I’ve been buying lately. Have you seen them? They’re the size of cantaloupe – which is perfect for someone like me who lives by themselves. Sometimes they’re labeled at the store as “personal watermelons,” which I think is a funny (but appropriate) term. “Excuse me, I see you have personal watermelons, but I’m really looking for a public watermelon. Where can I find one of those?”
I vaguely remember what’s-her-face on the Food Network making a watermelon salad a few years ago. You know, that annoying woman. So I took to the interwebs and looked up a handful of watermelon salad recipes, and ended up combining elements from a couple of them to create this one.
It all begins with… a personal watermelon:
I like to de-rind my personal watermelon completely. To do that, I chop off the top and bottom, and the cut down the sides of it, separating the rind from the flesh. Here’s a picture mid-de-rinding:
You end up with this…
…which is really easy to cut up into cubes:
Yep, the entire watermelon went into the bowl.
Now, on to the cucumbers. I started with two cucumbers, which I peeled with my fantastic peeler. Then I cut them lengthwise, and using a spoon, scraped out the center section, which is mostly water and seeds. I did this because watermelon is also pretty watery (hence the name), and I wanted to limit the excess water in the dish.
Then I cut up the cucumbers into cubes about the same size as the watermelon, and added them to the bowl:
While I initially thought two cucumbers would be enough, I wanted the cucumber to watermelon ratio to be about equal, and to achieve that, I had to peel, de-seed, and chop up a third cucumber. Good thing I bought four when I was at the store!
Next, I added 1/2 of a red onion, which I sliced as thinly as possible. A little raw onion goes a long way:
Next, I made a simple dressing, starting with fresh herbs:
That’s mint on the left and cilantro on the right, about a handful of each. Here they are all chopped up:
Then I added some balsamic vinegar – I didn’t measure it out, but I’d say it was about 1/3 cup. I also had some Feta cheese I wanted to include. It’s a four-ounce container I picked up at Whole Foods:
I thought it might be fun for the cheese to take on some of the flavors of the herbs and balsamic, so I tossed it in the dressing bowl and mixed it all up. The end result wasn’t pretty, but it was tasty!
As I mixed it up, I started thinking that this looked looked gloppy and heavy – the antithesis of what I thought this summery, fresh salad should be… but once I poured it in the bowl and tossed it with the watermelon, cucumber, and onion, it looked absolutely terrific.
Wanna see the end result? Here it is, with some more whole cilantro and mint leaves as garnish:
It was a hit at the BBQ. It was a small little party – only 6 or 7 of us, and most of it was eaten with lots of compliments. The rest was part of my lunch the next day. Oh, and there was only 16 grams of fat in the entire bowl, and all of it came from the Feta.
I have another personal watermelon on my counter right now, awaiting its fate… what shall I do with that one?
Keep it up, David!