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Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Weekend-- Gluten Free Picnic Part II

Marinated veggie salad used to be my go-to dish for summer cookouts, potlucks, and barbeques, however, I always used a balsamic base and my husband doesn't care for balsamic (he thinks-- I cook with it all the time) and so I've gotten out of the habit of making it. But I mentioned it the other day and the girl's face lit up and said, "Yes, please!" so I must make it.  I simply can't resist when a child asks for veggies-- I always feel I must comply.  This is kindof a choose-your-own adventure dish.  The important thing is to use FRESH veggies, not canned or frozen, and to use a proper vinaigrette (i.e. one that doesn't seperate on you.) I like zucchini and yellow squash especially in this but they aren't in season quite yet.  Because of the vinegar potato salad, I also am working to make sure we aren't bowled over with sourness at our picnic.  This is this week's version:

Marinated Veggie Salad
1 ear of corn
1 large cucumber
1 bell pepper
10 baby carrots or maybe 2 large ones  (I almost never buy baby carrots but I like them for this)
1-2 cups of your favorite variety dried bean (I used garbanzo)
1/2 red onion
for the dressing:
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. rosemary

The night before: Soak your beans.  This is not a recipe you want to do a quick soak with. Trust me.  You can prep everything else the night before or not, it's up to you.  Boil your ear of corn.  I always boil mine still in the husk, to me it tastes MUCH sweeter if you do it this way.  To remove the husk and silk, I use barbecue tongs after cooking.  Once the corn is cooked, slice the kernels off of the husk.  Get a large bowl or container for your salad, throw the corn in it.  Julienne the cucumber, carrots, and bell pepper.  (I like baby carrots for this because you are really only cutting them in 4ths.  But if they have been in the fridge for a long time, they won't have any taste. So you want to use really fresh ones.) Slice the onion to be about the same size as your other veggies.  Throw all veggies in the bowl or large container.  Cook your beans and allow them to cool, then add to the salad.  I try to keep the ratio of everything about even, however, one veggie always overpopulates.. this time it was the cucumber. C'est la vie.  Anyhow, you can at this point stick it in the fridge, or go ahead and make your vinaigrette.  If you're in a big hurry, you can dress it with store bought, but I always think homemade tastes better. 

Watermelon Salad
1/2-1 Whole Watermelon (seedless if you can, otherwise you're gonna have to seed it)
1-2 cups feta cheese
black or white pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil

I don't remember where I first got the idea to serve pepper with watermelon and feta cheese, I think it was a trendy thing in magazines a couple of years ago.  This year I'm adding in fresh basil from my garden to round out the flavor.  This is a very simple dish to throw together. Simply chop up the watermelon into bite size pieces, slice the basil into thin slivers.  Toss that together with the feta cheese and sprinkle with the pepper.  Tada! A beautiful summery salad that makes you look like a creative culinary genius.  (One that didn't do any hard work, natch.)

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