Tomatoes! Cucumbers! Green Beans! Basil! CSA riches of summer…

This post was published in Bob’s Fresh and Local newsletter 8/23/2017 under a different title. 

“The breakfast of champions is not cereal, it’s the opposition” …Nick Seitz

Hopefully you’ve had fun with “greenies” (smoothies with loads of greens) over the summer with all that gorgeous kale coming from Farmer Bob.

Here’s another way to think out of the box about breakfast. Put away that boxed cereal, and learn to make an Israeli-style breakfast! This is the perfect time of year to give it a try, when the cucumbers and tomatoes weigh down the vines and fill our CSA boxes.

Israeli breakfasts feature a salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onion and perhaps cilantro or avocado, dressed with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Other typical components of the meal are soft cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, smoked fish, pickles, olives, bread and even hummus (a chickpea “dip” — I shared that recipe a few weeks back).

I love to make Israeli Salad. It’s “vegetative,” that is, a meditative exercise involving beautiful vegetables:

ISRAELI SALAD

Ingredients
Plum (or other small) tomatoes, 6 ripe but firm
Pickling cucumbers, 2-4, depending on size
Red onion, 1/4-1/2, to taste
Red bell peppers, 1
Avocado (opt.), 1 ripe but firm
Cilantro (opt.)
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper

Directions
Although not necessary if the salad is eaten immediately, deseeding tomatoes extends the time the salad will last without drowning in its own juices. To deseed, quarter the tomatoes, scoop out the seeds and pulp (set aside). Cut the tomato flesh, cucumbers, pepper and opt. avocado into a uniform 1/4″ dice. Chop the onions and cilantro. Add extra virgin olive oil, the juice of a lemon and salt and pepper to taste.

VIDEO #1: For a demo of the dice, see the fun video my son created of himself preparing Israeli Salad in my cafe (mandolin optional – I do it by hand): http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bzEcBa9bzu0.

TOMATO & SQUASH PULP SOUP

Hold onto that tomato pulp! I combined it with the pulp that I scooped out of the summer squash when I stuffed them and made this beautiful soup by cooking the pulp in a pot with a cut up onion, peeled ginger root, salt and hot paprika. When the veggies were soft, I pureed them in my VitaMix and at the last pulsed in some of that beautiful basil we received in our boxes (and which we’ll enjoy again this week. This is a variation of one of our favorite soups!!

Last but not least for this week, my favorite way to eat snap beans, Moroccan-style Beans, also using the tomatoes arriving to us straight from the fields of Farmer Bob. I shared this recipe last year but simplified it a little this year.

MOROCCAN-STYLE GREEN BEANS

Prepare a quart of beans by washing and cutting into 2″ pieces. Add extra virgin olive oil to a pot with a cover, and saute minced garlic — lots if you love it, scapes if you have any left. Add at least 1/2 minced onion and saute. Add prepared beans and 1-2 good size tomatoes, petite diced. Bring to simmer, turn down heat, cover and let cook until beans are tender. Check occasionally to be certain there is enough liquid in the pan from the tomatoes to cook the beans, adding a little water if necessary. Toward the end of cooking time, stir in 1-2 rounded TB tomato paste, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cumin and 1/4-1/2 tsp. hot paprika. Cover again and simmer a while longer until flavors blend. When finished, squeeze in fresh lemon juice if you like. Enjoy!

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

2 thoughts on “Tomatoes! Cucumbers! Green Beans! Basil! CSA riches of summer…”

    1. Wasn’t the video fun? I wish I could claim credit, but that was my son cutting the salad that day. He gave me the video as a surprise. It’s so funny the way he sped it up and set it to The Bumblebee — although he is much faster and more expert at dicing than I. The still pictures in the bowl are my work, but trust me, it always took me a while. I’m a long way from an expert dicer. A chef watching my lack of cutting skills would probably have a heart attack. I’m reasonably quick but only because I made the salad every morning for ten or fifteen years of my life and then the larger version every day in the cafe for six years. At home it was meditative. In the cafe not so much because there were always fifteen other things happening, and I’m not much of a multi-tasker.

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