RECIPES & STORIES
"It's the Simple things in Life"
Serves: 6 sides
When I was a kid, during the summer school break I would travel from my home in Magadan, Siberia to go visit my grandparents who were living in Southern Russia, where the climate is very similar to that of California. I spent a big chunk of my time with my paternal grandmother, Babushka Galia, helping her out in her garden and soaking up warm summer rays my body desperately needed after a brutally long and cold winter in Siberia. Babushaka had the most excqusite garden and I would watch her lovingly work with her plants all day long. She had everything growing in this little half an acre sized lot; walnut, hazelnut, peach and golden cherry trees, as well as many different herbs, berries and of course cucumbers and tomatoes, the must have essentials of any Russian picnic basket.
When it was time to break for lunch, my Babushka and I would venture into the garden to pick sun kissed tomatoes, red peppers and cucumbers to prepare this classic Russian summer salad.
There is only a handful of ingredients, the stars being cucumbers and tomatoes, which are at the peak of their freshness during the summer. In fact the ingredients in this salad are very similar to those that make up a classic Greek Salad, but what makes it authentically Russian is the sunflower oil and the dill used as garnish.
This salad is typically served with boiled or pan fried potatoes (which are also dressed with sunflower oil and sprinkled with dill) and “Shashlik”, a pork or beef chunks marinated in a myriad of spices, vinegar and raw onions and cooked outside over hot coals.
Whatever you choose to pair this salad with, I hope you enjoy discovering it this summer (or rediscovering it if you are Russian and haven’t made it for a while!) as much as I enjoyed sharing it with my family and connecting to my heritage.
3 large ripe heirloom tomatoes
3 small cucumbers (ones you readily find at any local farmers market)
1 green onion chopped into small thin rings
1 red bell pepper
2 small radishes, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons of fresh dill, chopped
3 Tbsp organic sunflower oil
sea salt to taste
Enjoy cucumbers, red peppers and tomatoes in the summer, when they are in season and taste heavenly.
Dressing this salad with Sunflower Oil makes it taste authentically Russian.
Check out these yearly calendars for inspiration to eat in season. Cook Smart 2017 Wall Calendar and Farm Fresh 2017 Wall Calendar. Each calendar lists in it’s own unique way what is selling at the farmers market and hence is at the peak of it’s freshness for you to enjoy.
And this article from “Real Mom Daily” blog post that gives us very compelling reasons to shop for produce at our local farmers market.