After spending a good chunk of the last month traveling, it feels so good to be home. The calendar has a big red circle at the end of August, a looming reminder that a new school year is just around the corner. But for today, I’m pushing that all aside and soaking up every bit of summer magic.
Besides, we have a few more summer bucket list items to mark off. A float down the Yakima River is top priority, with extra credit if fishing is involved. We haven’t biked the Greenway Path from Yakima out to Naches yet. Have you checked out Huck and Bean Ice Cream yet? It’s a summer must-do, and is frequently set up at Bron Yr Aur Brewing Co. in Naches.
We did see an epic summer storm over the weekend and attempted to wrangle the weeds taking over our garden. Dinners are eaten on the patio, and while I can barely be bothered to turn on the barbecue, anything from Jones Fruit Stand, my garden or the Downtown Yakima Farmers Market is fair game.
Which brings me to this salad: It’s summer in a bite. I know I’ve already said that in at least one other column the last few weeks, but trust me when I tell you, you need this salad. Sweet melon (I used watermelon and cantaloupe) and cool cucumber are the stars of the show. A little tangy cheese, a few herbs and a hit of lime juice bring it all together. You could pile this salad on a bed of arugula to stretch it for a crowd or eat it for breakfast with some Greek yogurt.
I actually managed to grow a few watermelons this summer, and now I know exactly what to do with them. Even better, this is the perfect dish to get your kids (or grandkids) involved in. A cookie scoop works perfectly to make melon balls, and it’s an easy and fun job.
Melon and Cucumber Salad
- 4-5 cups cubed or balled melon (assorted watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew)
- 1 English cucumber, sliced into rounds
- 1 medium avocado, pitted and cubed
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (Feta cheese is a nice option, too)
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- Juice of 1 lime
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- Pinch of Tajin (optional)
In a large bowl combine melon and cucumber. Top with goat cheese and avocado. Sprinkle with minced basil and parsley and, using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently combine the ingredients. Finally, squeeze the lime liberally over the entire salad and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.
For additional flavor, add a sprinkle of Tajin over the salad just before serving. (Tajin is a seasoning powder made from chili peppers, lime and salt.)
Serves 6-8 people.
• Andrea McCoy writes the column Kitchen Captivated for Yakima Magazine and at The Salt and Stone, a home cooking blog. The Salt and Stone is a nod not just to the essence of cooking, but also to the Yakima Valley. Read more at www.thesaltandstone.com.