I like to cook. I love to cook! But the combination of summer (spending lots of time outside instead of inside cooking, not wanting to turn on the stove, not in our usual routine, etc.) and being in my crabby-pregnant phase, has me kind of dreading dinner each night. As much as I love trolling the farmers’ markets each week, the idea of cooking elaborate meals with my finds just isn’t thrilling me at the moment. Have I mentioned that it’s hot? Or that I’m pregnant and crabby?
Instead of feeling bad about that, I’ve decided to embrace it this summer and just keep things as simple as possible. It means we’re eating a lot of salads, lots of big slices of bread topped with random things, and lots of pasta tossed with whatever veggies looked good at the farmers’ market. In my past life of a few months ago, I’d almost always make some kind of main dish, then a side or two, and some kind of green salad. Now that that’s not happening, I’m realizing that we’re all perfectly fine with that, there have been no complaints. So even as I start to get back to normal in the fall, I think maybe my dinner rhythm will stay a bit more relaxed, a bit more casual.
This salad is one of our staples, with variations and adaptations. I made it for the first time a couple of summers ago, and it’s basically my version of the way Germans make all kinds of salad (cucumber, radish, potato, etc). The gist is: cut up veg, season with salt and pepper, splash with oil and vinegar. Done. It’s perfect for when the vegetables are so good that you don’t want to ruin them by cooking them, and I find it more satisfying and flavorful than a green salad. It’s a side and salad in one, and with some grilled meat or crusty bread, it’s a meal. I love it with little cubes of cheese in it, which seems weird, but it really works. I also love it without. It sounds too simple to be so good, but give it a try and you’ll be a convert.