Let’s get shakin!

Don’t get me wrong there are many things to enjoy about the south in the summer. Boating, lakes, beaches, pools. Obviously most involve water because let’s face it, it gets miserably HOT. In fact, we are having one of the worst summers we have seen in quite some time. 

Now to the best part, summer gardens, some grow from them, and some buy from farmers markets and some from the all too delightful road side stands. 

Growing up, mom always hard a garden, a tradition I have carried on since being forced to retire 6 years ago. Why the effort? Why the work? As a southerner that’s just what you do. I think that it’s answered best by “Ouiser” Boudreaux in the famous southern movie Steel Magnolias as she not so quaintly explained the Louisiana heat and gardening:

“I am old and Southern, and I am supposed to wear funny clothes, ugly hats, and dig in the dirt. I did not make the rules, this is hell, I have found it, I’m in it.”

I can’t say I disagree but what do they say about life giving you lemons? Well, how about fresh homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers. They are divine and here’s how I like to put them to use.

This recipe almost makes the heat worth it. Enjoy 

Marinated, onion, cucumber, and tomato summer salad.

1 cup of water 
½ cup distilled white vinegar
¼ cup vegetable oil 
¼ cup sugar 
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste 
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and Benwood’s seasoning to taste 
3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick 
3 tomatoes, cut into wedges 
1 onion, sliced and separated into rings (purple or sweet)

Whisk water, vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl until smooth; add cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion and stir to coat

Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

I also like to add a little feta cheese crumble, maybe even some sliced banana peppers. Play around with it for the perfect summer treat. 

Remember, “treat your kitchen, treat yourself”

Chef Hunter Lee 

Uniquely southern, surely the best.