05 May


Salata

(Afghani Salad)

May: National Salad Month

As the weather begins to get warmer, we like to have a refreshing, cooling salad as a side dish to our main meal. This Afghani salata is simple and so quick to make with ingredients we frequently have on hand already: tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cilantro and lemon. It reminds us of a lighter tabbouleh and a milder pico de gallo. During National Salad Month, make this Afghani style salata.

Recipe

(Adapted from Yep Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • Handful of cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Diced the tomatoes. Peel and dice the cucumber. Chop the onions and cilantro leaves. Place in a bowl.

Squeeze the lemon juice over the bowl. Mix everything well. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or within 12 hours to retain its freshness. Refrigerate if desired.

Sallatë

(Albanian Salad)

May: National Salad Month

Islander and Entela C., her graduate school classmate from Albania, were only two of three students chosen by Dr. MN, their international mass communications professor, to participate in conferences and projects under her direction. It was an honor and a good experience to work together. We had never met anyone from Albania before, so it was a good opportunity to learn more about her country and culture.

Albania is located in the Balkan region of Southeastern Europe. Its geographic borders include Greece, Montenegro, Kosovo and North Macedonia.  Across the Adriatic Sea is Italy, its former protectorate. Italy and Greece have strong influences in Albanian culture and cuisine.

The Albanian meat pie (lakror) that we made before featured flaky phyllo dough layers—which are very popular in Greek and Mediterranean dishes. Since that was very time consuming to make for our Albanian dinner (especially since our ballokume cornmeal cookies were a Food Flop), we wanted a side dish that was simple—this sallatë. It was refreshing with the cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers, and the olives and feta cheese added flavor and texture as our toppings.

For an international flavor on National Salad Month, try this simple sallatë from Albania.

Recipe

(Adapted from Food.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ – ½ red onion, sliced
  • 3-4 tablespoons Kalamata/black olives, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions

Peel the cucumber and slice half inch thick then quarter them. Place in a bowl. Chop the tomatoes, dice the green bell pepper and chop the onions. Add them to the bowl.

Slice and olives. Add to the bowl. Mix in the olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Search for more salad recipes in our blog.

Sundried Tomato, Basil

and Feta Cheese Scones

May 30: National Scone Day

Most of the scones recipes we feature on our blog have been sweet ones. But we are slowly adding more savory scones recipes on our list, such as this one with sundried tomatoes, fresh chopped basil, crumbled feta cheese and black olives (optional). They look like tender American biscuits with a subtle Italian flavor—a testimony to the international impact of the humble Scottish scone! For National Scone Day, mix up something savory—make tomato, basil and feta cheese scones.

Recipe

(Adapted from RecipeLand)

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • ¼ cup very cold unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes, drained of oil and chopped finely
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup black pitted olives, drained and chopped (optional)

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and pepper.

Cut in the butter and mix until the flour resembles large peas. Stir in the buttermilk and gently mix until the dough is moistened. Avoid overmixing the dough or the scones will be hard instead of tender. Add the chopped sundried tomatoes.

Stir in the basil leaves and feta cheese. Mix well until the dough comes together. Add a little buttermilk if it is too dry; add a little flour if it is too wet.

Turn out the dough on a clean, floured surface. Roll out to 1-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds (or triangle shapes). Place on greased baking sheet lined with foil. Brush tops with a little buttermilk. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until browned on top. Remove from the oven. Serve warm with butter. Yield: Approximately 9 scones.

Notes

  • Islander is not fond of olives so she omitted them in this recipe. But Highlander likes them so she adds them to these savory scones on occasion.
  • Search our blog for more scones (both sweet and savory) recipes.

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