So it’s kind of baby-fest around here lately.
Remember Ben? You know, my younger brother, who used to sleep in his Ninja Turtle jammies in the bottom bunk of our shared bedroom?
Yeah. Well, he’s a dad.
This past weekend, Ben and his beautiful wife Vicki had their first baby – Luke Timothy – and we couldn’t be happier for them!
Tomorrow, Owen and I are boarding a plane to go and meet this little guy! I’m so glad I get to go home while this baby is still so new, but a day before this trip, and I’m starting to question my judgment.
I know! How ’bout I take me, my extra pounds of baby girl, my shortness of breath and achy, varicosey legs and chase a 23-pound one-year-old through the airport? Then, how ’bout said one-year-old, baby girl bump, and I get on the one plane seat that we’re sharing and I try to keep him from doing laps up and down the aisle? Even better – how about I pack, for the TWO of us, in one lonely carry-on to avoid any kind of baggage fee?
Needless to say, I really thought this through.
I’ve flown with Owen twice now on my own. Both short trips, and both have gone surprisingly well. The airport is kind of like a transportation paradise for him, so that part of the day is no issue. But that time, on the actual plane,when all he ever wants to do with his every waking moment is move! move! as much as he can. Well, yeah. I’m a little nervous.
I will be packing plenty of heat this time. I’ve got new library books, enough snacks to get us through the apocalypse, and two full sippy-cups’ worth of undiluted juice on the ready. So hopefully we get no more than like six angry glances.
But, really, an entire planeful of glares couldn’t keep me from snuggling this little guy’s face off.
None of this has anything to do with this salad. I’m not going to be packing this for the plane or anything. The last thing I need is to take the chance of further angering my fellow passengers with a zesty Greek salad chock full of onions and a vinegar-centric dressing. But I’ll be real here. We’re eating Greek food like three nights a week at this point. Falafels, gyros, cucumber sauce – this is the stuff of this pregnancy’s dreams.
So a week or so ago, I made this – one of my very favorite salads. I look forward to the arrival of bell peppers all year long, basically so I can make this salad. It’s an oldie but a goodie from the ever-trust-worthy Smitten Kitchen; we make it all pepper-season long, so I felt it was high time to share my love affair with it publicly.
It’s the perfect way to enjoy those last-of-the-season tomatoes and peppers, all crunchy and mixed together with slightly pickled onions, cucumber, and generous amounts of crumbled feta. It’s dressed simply with red wine vinegar, kosher salt, sugar, olive oil, and freshly ground pepper. We recently ate this as a side dish for this grilled chicken and toasted pitas. And then a day or two later, we packed it up and ate it alongside our Pizza Farm pizza.
I hope you get to make this before fall sets in for real. I also hope Owen does not wow the entire cabin with his impressive ability to impersonate a pterodactyl. Wish me luck.
(recipe by Smitten Kitchen )
(yields a large bowl's worth - maybe 8-10 servings)
This Greek pepper salad is so simple but so, so flavorful! I left out the olives because I just can't get myself to love them, but you should definitely add them if that's your style. Play around with the ratios here - add more or less of any vegetable as you prefer!
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. cold water
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 a red onion, cut into a 1/4-inch dice (use less if your onion is huge)
3 to 4 bell peppers (I used one each of red, green, yellow, and purple), seeded, and chopped
1 c. grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 to 2 medium cucumbers, seeds removed, and chopped
1/4 to 1/2 c. pitted kalmata olives (optional)
4 to 6 oz. firm feta cheese, roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Swish together the red wine vinegar, water, kosher salt and sugar in a small bowl until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the diced red onion and set it aside.
Meanwhile, place your peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, feta and olives (if using) in a large bowl.
By now, your onions will have lightly pickled, both sweetening and softening their blow. Drain them and add them to the other vegetables in the large bowl, but reserve the vinegar mixture. Pour a quarter cup of the vinegar mixture over the salad, then drizzle with olive oil. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste. Toss evenly and serve at once OR...
...(You can prepare this ahead of time, just leave the feta out until just before serving. If making it a few hours ahead of time, leave out on the counter [you don't want to kill your tomatoes].)
This salad keeps well, covered and in the fridge, for about 3 days.