Simple Summer Salads

There are two salads that I love to make during the summer with veggies from my CSA. The first one is cucumber salad, which I had in the refrigerator for just about the entire month of July. (For a while there we were getting a lot of cucumbers.)

Lately there has been an abundance of tomatoes, which if you are not a canner can be overwhelming. I have been making a light and delicious tomato salad that is fresh tasting and works with lots of other dishes. It is also very colorful.

Cucumber Salad
3 cucumbers
1 small onion
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/8-1/4 cup white sugar

Put the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, peel the cucumbers and slice them in half lengthwise. Cut out the the seeds or remove with a spoon and slice the cucumbers thinly. (For a firmer crunch, toss sliced cucumbers with salt and place in a colander with a bowl underneath. Place a gallon-size bag of ice water on top of the cucumbers an let sit for an hour. The excess water will drain out of the cucumbers, and the slices will stay crunchy.)

Cut the onion into very thin slices. (I sometimes use diced red pepper also or in place of the onion.) Combine the cucumber and onion in a bowl and mix with the thickened vinegar. Chill and enjoy!

Tomato Basil Salad
Ripe tomatoes (preferably two or three different varieties)
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop or slice the tomatoes into pretty, bite-sized pieces. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with chopped fresh basil or whole Thai basil leaves. Yum!

—erin

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