Summer is salad season....at least for me. Fresh vegetables are less expensive in Summer and, since they are truely in season, they taste much better this time of year. I actually start to crave salads, and when the temperature hit 80º here in Colorado yesterday, it felt like Summer and I found myself thinking a salad would be perfect for lunch. One of my favorites is a Mozzarella Salad. Not only does it taste good, it can be made in minutes and easily be adjusted to use whatever different ingredients you have on hand.
Wifezilla's Mozzarella Salad
1 Large Diced Cucumber
Cubed Mozzarella Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Splenda to taste
You may have noticed the lack of measurements on all the items except the cucumber. That's because I never measure. I very seldom have the same amount of any of these ingredients available from one day to the next. Hubby is a tomato thief and my youngest son thinks the olive oil is his very own personal property. Plus my oldest stops by to help his father with projects and raids the refrigerator for cheesy goodness. Basically the only ingredient I can really count on having is the cucumber. So here is what I do....
Dice the cucumber and place in a large salad bowl. Rummage through the refrigerator and see if you can find any fresh tomato. I know you just bought a 5 lb container at Costco yesterday, but it has been 24 hours and your husband has been home. If so, great, if not, try using bits of the sun dried tomatoes you have hidden in a bag behind the box of baking soda.
Next, see if you have any cheese left. Are there signs your oldest son, who has his OWN APARTMENT and his OWN REFRIGERATOR last time you checked stopped by? Is the front door wide open? All your soda gone and the empty cans on the coffee table? Nevermind... just plan on buying cheese on your way home from work. While mozzarella works best, Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack are also good substitutes.
Then drizzle with olive oil IF your youngest hasn't take all the olive oil and used it to fry something. You will have no idea WHAT he fried, but look and see if there is a pot full of dirty oil and various pieces of goop stuck to the outside of the pot. If you see that, then look for the almond oil or sesame oil you hid behind the cookbooks because the olive oil is gone.
Next add the vinegar. If you are worried about the carbs in the balsamic vinegar, use red wine vinegar instead...you just may need a touch more Splenda if you go with the red wine. Then add the Italian seasoning. If you can get fresh herbs, those work great too. Mix well. Add salt, pepper and a little bit from one Splenda packet and mix again. Give it a taste. Add any extra spices as you feel you need. I sometimes add minced garlic or chives right from the garden. You can also add things like leftover grilled chicken, sunflower seeds, unsweetened dried cherries, or whatever tiny bits of food you find stuck on mostly empty tinfoil covered plates the ravaging horde left for you.
This salad is best eaten fresh. This in not one you want to make ahead of time. If it is destined for your lunch bag, keep the oil, vinegar and spices separate and mix with the cucumber and other items right before eating.
Summer is a time for fun, so have fun with this. See what local fresh produce you have available, what morsels of food you can hide from the family, and be creative.