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One good thing about rain

RecipeSwap: Garden Fresh Potato Salad, Cheese Baked Zucchini, Cucumber Cream Soup, and more!

Was your garden slow to start this spring? Mine limped along too. Then we had that little sprinkle over the July long weekend.

Outside inspecting it the first dry evening afterward, I found masses of squeaky pea vines, huge frilly lettuces, bouquets of basil and parsley, zucchini plants that may take over the planet, dill everywhere, and soon-to-be tomatoes and cucumbers galore. Weeds too, naturally, but lamb’s quarters can taste pretty good.

You can get too much of a good thing, like rain that won’t stop, but this flush of flavour, colour and scent when it finally does isn’t one of them. The garden is now a great big walk-in salad.

Garden Fresh Potato Salad

No two potato salads are alike. Dijon mustard really adds depth of flavour to potato salad.

  • 1-1/2 lb. small red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 c. plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise

In a large pot of boiling water, cook potatoes for 18 minutes. Add carrots and cook until vegetables are tender; drain well. Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Add warm potatoes and carrots and toss well to coat.

Add radishes, onions, pepper and celery and toss to combine. Add yogurt and mayonnaise; stir gently to combine and serve.

Serves 4

Spinach Super Salad

Cool weather and rain produce abundant lettuce and spinach. Here’s a way to make a salad meal with it.

  • 4 c. torn spinach leaves
  • 1/2 head leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 c. alfalfa sprouts
  • 1/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, cut in chunks
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, peeled and coarsely chopped

Buttermilk herb dressing

  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 2/3 c. plain yogurt
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Pepper
  • 1/3 c. fresh parsley, chopped

In a large salad bowl, toss spinach, lettuce and alfalfa sprouts. Sprinkle with mushrooms, tomato, green onions, feta cheese and egg.

Buttermilk herb dressing: In a mixing bowl; combine all ingredients. Using whisk, mix well. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week.

Pour desired amount of dressing over salad.

Serves 4

Cheese Baked Zucchini

This recipe is high-summer Italian eating — simple, delicious, light. It’s a perfect side dish or even a very light supper on the hottest days.

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 tsp. fresh oregano or basil, chopped

Slice zucchini lengthwise into 4 strips each. Brush with oil and place on cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 400 F oven for 10 minutes without letting them get too floppy.

Remove zucchini from oven. Arrange slices of cheese on top and sprinkle with diced tomatoes and herbs. Return to oven for five minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven and transfer to serving plate.

Serves 4

Chickpea and Cucumber Salad

This makes a wonderful light supper and you can change it up as you like. A can of chickpeas is a quick substitute for dried called for in this recipe.

  • 1-1/2 c. dried chickpeas
  • 1 small English cucumber
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 c. pitted black olives
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. honey

Place chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak overnight. Drain; place in pan, cover with fresh water and cook for 25 minutes or until just tender. Drain and allow to cool. Slice cucumber. Cut tomatoes into cubes and finely chop onion.

Combine chickpeas, cucumber, tomato, onion, parsley and olives in a serving bowl. Place lemon juice, oil, garlic and honey in a small screw-top jar and shake well. Pour dressing over salad and toss lightly to combine.

Serves 6

Cucumber Cream Soup

I love to grow lots of cucumber every summer, but often lack recipes to use it. This is one of my favourite summer soups, delicious for a hot July lunch.

  • 3 medium cucumbers, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • 3 tbsp. each parsley and onion, chopped
  • 1 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 c. plain yogurt
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a blender; combine cucumbers, garlic, parsley, onion, broth and vinegar; whirl until well blended. Pour about half the mixture into a small container; set aside.

Add about half the yogurt and half the sour cream to cucumber mixture remaining in blender. Whirl until smooth; pour into a small bowl. Repeat with reserved cucumber mixture and remaining yogurt and sour cream. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until next day. Stir well, then pour into small serving bowls.

Serves 6

All recipes above courtesy of Peak of the Market

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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