This summer, has been or perhaps was a bountiful harvest season for me. The truth is I don’t want to let this summer go. I don’t care that Memorial Day, came and went because the calendar still says summer, which means I can continue to enjoy whatever perks of the season are remaining including eating fresh vegetables from home gardens.
Between picking leafy vegetables from the pots on my balcony which were planted by my Mother and receiving produce from coworker’s and friend’s gardens, I had to start becoming more creative with what I did with the bountifulness because I do not like to waste any food.
One day my sister came back home with two beautiful long green cucumbers and some bright red round tomatoes from her generous coworker. And then a few days later, my friendly neighbor knocked at my door, she presented me with freshly picked herbs which included mint and Basil from her garden. I was very grateful and quickly realized I had to get creative. A few days before I had managed to take care of some of the cucumbers and tomatoes in my fridge by making some Gazpacho, but we still had a lot of cucumbers remaining despite snacking on them by slicing them thin and sprinkling them with salt.
Rather than feeling overwhelmed about the abundance of vegetables, my creative juices started flowing and then I started searching for ideas and voila! I stumbled upon the recipe, Tunisian Salad, from the book, “The North African Kitchen,” by Fiona Dunlop. It was perfect for what I had on hand, calling for cucumber and tomatoes as some of the main ingredients.
This recipe had variations in ingredients across North Africa, but 3 ingredients are consistently called for from country to country; Cucumbers, tomatoes and mint. With a few more ingredients plus some salt and pepper you have a generic, North African Cucumber Salad.
Notes: Adapted from, Tunisian Salad, “The North African Kitchen,” by Fiona Dunlop, 2008
Ingredients Serves 4 (as a side)
1 large cucumber (12”)
½ yellow onion
2 round tomatoes
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 green onions
1 ½ tablespoon of freshly chopped mint
1 ½ tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley
To taste; ½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of Fresh ground black pepper
Wash cucumber and peel. Dice into a bowl.
Peel onion and wash with the remainder of the vegetables. Dice onion, tomatoes and chop green onions and add to the bowl.
Mince mint and parsley (if not already minced) and add to the bowl.
Squeeze in lemon juice. Add olive oil and sprinkle salt and black pepper. Mix all ingredients.
Chill for half hour before serving. Or serve immediately as a side or main dish.