Farmers’ Market Salad

Featured Article, In Season, Summer
on July 3, 2011
iStock Photo

I test-drove my new iPad in the kitchen this past weekend. Cooking from my laptop in the kitchen is a relatively new phenomenon for me. I’m usually cooking from a magazine page or a book (or nothing at all), but lately I’ve been cooking from the Relish website. Having my laptop open on the kitchen table is pretty handy, but using the iPad in the kitchen is even better. There’s no keyboard to worry about, it’s more compact, and it comes with a handy cover that folds into a nifty stand. I can also magnify the recipe to a readable 16-point font, so no more squinting. It also eliminates the chances of the recipe bursting into flames on the burner or falling into the sauce.

This doesn’t come without a certain amount of sadness though. I used to be an editor for a food magazine with a large test kitchen. I loved it when I got a testing sheet from Leigh Fran, one of our testers. I knew hers not from her initials penned meticulously in the upper right hand corner (per the official test kitchen manual) but from the translucent oil splatters, red tomato sauce and brown burn marks that accompanied it. And I loved that about her—she cooked with total abandon. Her recipes told a story. I love that about cooking—the uncertainty, the moodiness, and the love—all reflected in notes scribbled on a page. Computers can’t tell the same story. Flipping through my binder of recipes with notes jotted throughout will certainly bring my kids better memories than typed notations in a word doc (recipe box file).

All of this deep thought was done while making our Cucumbers with Oregano, Feta and Pine Nuts. I actually had lemon cucumbers that I found at the Chattanooga Farmers Market that I couldn’t wait to try. Of course I supplemented them with a standard English cucumber as well. I also happened to have some sweet cherry tomatoes—which turned out to be a perfect complement to the vinegary salad.

I also tossed in some parsley along with the oregano and skipped the pine nuts as I didn’t have any. I used local goat feta cheese I bought at the farmers market, which was fabulous. Oh yeah, and an heirloom red onion (also from the Chattanooga Farmers Market) in place of the shallot…minor changes of course, that I’ll write in the margin when I print the recipe out. So much for progress.

Here's the original recipe as it first appeared in the pages of Relish.

—By Jill Melton, Relish Editor