Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tomato cucumber salad on toasted baguette

Every Saturday I wake up late, walk to the farmers market on the corner of my street, and cook brunch for Chris and I before he heads out to work. Some of these brunches are pretty elaborate; I'd dare to call them gourmet. I've never really used a recipe except to learn how to cook certain things, like how to poach an egg or how long to cook a particular meat.

Take this morning's feast, for example. (I've put where I got the ingredients in parenthesis.)

Tomato cucumber salad on toasted baguette

One medium tomato, diced - about a cup (I used two small ones, primos from our garden)
One medium cucumber, diced (bought from farmers market this morning)
Half a cup of diced purple onion (bought last week from farmers market)
One large clove of garlic, diced (bought last week from farmers market)
Four large basil leaves, finely chopped (picked from our garden)
Six large parsley leaves, finely chopped (picked from our garden)
Half a sweet pepper (Here's where it gets tricky. Our peppers were mislabled when we bought them as seedlings, so what I thought were poblano peppers are a sweet variety, perhaps Italian sweet peppers, light green in color. These are the kind to use for this dish. What I thought were jalepeno plants have turned out to be poblanos. The banana peppers are, in fact, banana peppers.)
1 jalepeno pepper, finely chopped (bought from farmers market two weeks ago since we don't have jalepeno peppers in the garden)
1 tbsp on chili powder (I used Kashmiri chili powder that I bought from the spice stall at Union Market)
Lots of black pepper
Salt to taste
Somewhere around two ounces of distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp of olive oil

Mix the ingredients well, serve on a toasted baguette, and eat. I served it with fried eggs and shiitake mushrooms, fried in olive oil with a little basil, salt, and a minimal amount of flour. The only thing wrong with the meal was that I sliced my finger cutting the baguette, which screwed up my timing, so the mushrooms cooled and it was difficult to crack the eggs so I broke the yokes. I'm very bad at cracking eggs, anyway. I always get shells in them. Grrr.

Last weekend I made a guacamole dish I created from out of nowhere. It used 2 avocados, one primo tomato from our garden, three hardboiled eggs, fresh basil from our garden, the Kashmiri chili powder mentioned above, plenty of black pepper, salt, lime juice, and...I can't remember what else. Probably some onion and perhaps some garlic. And I think I may have used a jalepeno pepper. Served it on a toasted baguette.

I can't express enough how great it is to have so many tomatoes that I've grown myself, or fresh basil every day. I don't understand why fresh basil is so expensive in the store when it grows like mad on its own. Our plant is nearly as tall as I am. At the end of the season I'm going to dry the rest of it, as well as our oregano, and have my own dried basil and oregano for the winter. Because our tomatoes got the blight from too much rain this year, our yields haven't been as much as they were going to be when the plants started growing like mad, so we won't be canning any of them or making pasta sauce with them. But don't be mistaken, we have a lot of tomatoes! And the plants I thought were going to die are starting to grow new leaves and blossoms! Yay!

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