I have not done any interesting work lately, so I want to talk about summer food.
To me, summer is tomatoes. Summer does not bring tomatoes, it IS tomatoes. I generally do not have the heart to do anything with beautiful heirloom tomatoes other than eat them in wonderful salads.
When I was twenty I studied abroad in Athens (Greece) and fell in love with Greek salads. In Greece, these are called horiatiki (χωριάτικη σαλάτα) or village salad. There are basically 6 ingredients in a traditional Greek salad. Lettuce is not ever incorporated. In Greece, if you want lettuce in your salad you must order a lettuce salad.
As I believe that more Americans need to try a real Greek salad, I am going to give you directions here. Please note, feta and olives on a lettuce salad from your pizza place does not make it Greek.
Village Salad (χωριάτικη σαλάτα)
Tomatoes (only use really tasty ones)
Cucumber (preferably, European seedless)
Green Peppers (optional)
Feta (preferably sheep's milk packed in brine)
Red Wine Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (get the really good tasting stuff)
Oregano (dried or fresh)
1. Slice the tomatoes into wedges (bite sized pieces).
2. Slice the cucumbers into thin disks. They should not need to be peeled.
3. Cut the red onion in half and thinly slice the onion (you only need about 1/2 a cup of this, or to taste).
4. Cut up the green pepper into bite sized pieces.
5. Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, green pepper, and olives in a large salad bowl. Cover the salad with feta. It can be crumbled on top or you can just put a slice of feta on top of the vegetables (this is how they do it in Greece).
6. Sprinkle the top with oregano and a dash of vinegar. Liberally coat the salad with olive oil.
7. It is now ready to be eaten immediately. Tossing is not necessary, just use salad tongs to serve out the vegetables and break apart servings of feta.