Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Thirty-Three: Barefoot Contessa - How Easy Is That?

by Ina Garten

   Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

I enjoy watching Ina Garten on the Food Network for she makes everything look so effortless. And yes, her recipes are easy! I own seven of her books and am looking forward to cooking through the other six.

The rains are done (for now anyway) and the weather has warmed; which means salads and barbeque for dinner. We eat a lot of salads during the summer for they are easy, refreshing, healthy, and oh so good! And I really like salads that don't have lettuce in them; just a bowl full of the goods!! Greek salad is another favorite of mine. I'll make sure to share that one as well. As I may have mentioned before, I usually shy away from recipes calling for mint or leave it out all together. I like mint mind you; it just always seems odd to me to put it in dishes other than desserts. I'm going to be a brave soul and use the mint this time.

I was slightly disappointed with this dish, however with a few tweaks I think this would be really good. It certainly was easy!! Next time I would use way less salt, and I'm talking like half, and if at all possible home-grown tomatoes; as we all know how the store bought tomatoes taste; well that's just it, they have no taste. I also have the habit of adding just a bit more of something, and in this case it was garlic. It was a bit overpowering, so I'll stick with the amount suggested or maybe even a little less.

I'm rating this a three because I really do think it will be better with the few minor changes I mentioned above.

Success meter: (1-3): 3

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad
Serves 4 to 6

10 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded, cored, and ½ - inch diced
1 hot house cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and ½ - inch diced
1 can or jar (12-16 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
⅓ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
⅓ cup julienned fresh basil leaves
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
1 Tbl. minced garlic (3 cloves)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup good olive oil
8 oz good feta cheese, ½ - inch diced
Toasted pita bread, for serving

Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, mint, and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing gently to coat all the vegetables. Add the feta, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss gently. Serve the salad with the toasted pita bread.

Barefoot Contessa – How Easy Is That? / Ina Garten

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