Greek Salad

'Tis the Season for Greek Salad

A recent tweet from Eating Well magazine asked, "What's your best trick to beat the summer heat in your kitchen?" Eating out was nixed, so that left (1) salads; (2) the grill; and (3) the Crock-Pot. Given our long, blessed burst of decent weather, I offer you an option for each, with most ingredients available at our Thursday or Saturday Markets.

2nd from the bottom

You know I'm a fan of chef/author Deborah Madison. Her Greek Salad from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is a proven favorite even with supermarket ingredients. With seasonal Market ingredients, it's superlative. Non-Market ingredients are italicized.

Deborah Madison's Greek Salad

2 cups mixed salad greens, torn in pieces
4 ripe tomatoes, cut in wedges
1 lg cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced in rings
1 small mild onion, thinly sliced
8 peperoncini
2 Tbsp capers
12 Kalamata olives
4 ozs feta (Tieton's is delicious)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/3 c chopped parsley
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, cut in wedges

Line a platter with the greens. Arrange the other vegetables over the platter. Sprinkle the peperoncini and other goodies throughout. Scatter herbs over. Grind some salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with lemon wedges.

Add a loaf of Market bread and a hunk of Market cheese, and you have a summer meal people will rave about. 

Plumping up nicely at Skagit River Ranch

"East-West Barbecued Chicken" 
(modified from an ancient Bon Appetit)

1 2-1/2 to 3-pound chicken, cut into 4 pieces, wings removed (check this post, if you need blurry pics)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 c orange juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper

2 Tbsp favorite Market jam (I used apricot)
1/4 c hoisin sauce
Squirt of ketchup or tomato sauce

Place chicken in baking pan and season with salt and pepper. Whisk mustard through red pepper together and pour over. Let marinate in fridge while coals get hot. Mix jam through ketchup in a small bowl.

Grill chicken until just cooked through, about 10 minutes per side. Brush one side with jam mixture and grill until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Brush second side with sauce and grill until beginning to brown.

My son declared this "the best grilled chicken" he ever had(!).

And lastly, for the crock-pot, summer is the season for baked beans. I made these for the pool potluck, the 4th of July barbecue, and they're coming to the Swim Team banquet this Sunday.

The Alvarez Farms Selection (Th, Sat)

Baked Beans

1 lb Mayacoba beans from Alvarez Farms (you can also substitute navy beans or Great Northern from the store, but the cooking times will be longer)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 15-ozs can tomato sauce
1/2 c brown sugar
2 c water (or fill and empty the tomato sauce can 2x)
2 tsp dry mustard
2 Tbsp molasses
1/4 lb bacon, chopped

(If using storebought beans, pre-soak overnight in a big kettle with more than enough water to cover.)
Dump all ingredients in slow cooker. Mix. Cover. Cook on High 4-10 hours. (Why the huge time variation? Depends on your beans! Fresh beans will take much less time. Storebought Great Northerns will require the overnight soak and the 10 hours. Navy beans fall somewhere in the middle. Depending on what kind you started with, just crack the cover and slip out a spoonful to sample.) If the beans don't seem to have enough "sauce" after hours of cooking, you can always add more water, 1/2 cup at a time.

Enjoy the sunshine and keep your kitchen cool!