Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Make-ahead Summer Salads

I think it's a big help to have something prepared ahead in the fridge and with our summer garden vegetables it's easy. A jar of cucumbers in vinegar or sweet-and-sour cucumbers and onions help make a sandwich into a meal. DS even likes to put the cucumbers ON his sandwich in lieu of a regular pickle. Fire-and-Ice Salad, the Hot Shoppes' Marinated Tomato and Green Pepper Salad, or Bean Zucchini Salad all can be prepared ahead of time and brought out to serve alongside a quick meal comprised of other garden produce or something from the grill.

Harvey House slaw and pickled beets are two other side dishes we always have on hand in the fridge over the summer. Even better than just being able to make these dishes in advance of a meal is that they will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and, in the case of the cucumbers a minimum of a week and the Harvey House slaw for at least a month tho ours is always long gone before that.

Cucumbers in Vinegar

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced
water to cover
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water

Place cucumbers in medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt and then pour over enough water to cover cucumbers, then lightly stir to disperse salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Drain and place cucumbers in bowl or jar for refrigerator storage. Pour vinegar and water over cucumbers. If necessary, add additional liquid at the same 1-to-1 ratio to completely cover cucumbers. Store in fridge till ready to serve.

Sweet-and-Sour Cucumbers and Onions

3 medium cucumbers, peeled and cubed, seeded if necessary
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Mix togther. Store in covered container in refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.

Fire-and-Ice Salad

4 tomatoes, cut into eight wedges each
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 small jalapeno, minced
1 onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1-1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1-1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish, optional
1 teaspoon salt
7 drops hot pepper sauce, optional
2 cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced

Combine tomatoes, peppers, and onion in a large bowl; set aside. Combine the next seven ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Pour over vegetables. Let stand until mixture returns to room temperature. Stir in cucumbers. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Drain before serving.

Marinated Tomato and Green Pepper Salad
(from Marriot Hot Shoppes Cookbook: Sixty years of American cookery)

4 medium tomatoes
1 green bell pepper, sliced into 1/4"-thick rings
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup salad oil

Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Remove core and cut each tomato half into three wedges. Cut green pepper rings in half. Mix tomatoes and green peppers together. Combine remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Beat with a wire whisk until well blended. Pour liquid over vegetables. Cover, refrigerate and allow to marinate for two hours or overnight before serving.

Bean Zucchini Salad

1-1/2 cups small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, cut in strips
1 cup cooked green beans, canned or fresh
15-ounce can red kidney beans or black beans, drained and rinsed
3 green onions or 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use sunflower)
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Combine vegetables. Combine other ingredients in small bowl and pour over vegetables. Stir well. Refrigerate in covered bowl for several hours, stirring occasionally. Toss lightly before serving. A small jalapeno pepper, minced, will add a nice touch of heat, too.

Check out Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at Tammysrecipes.com for lots more how-to information.

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