two cold salads for too hot weather

Beirut is very, very hot in August. Somehow all my memories of summers in Morocco don’t include fans – the trauma of the high temperatures somehow erased them from the picture – but now when I think back I remember yes, of course there were fans. There had to be fans.

There were also lots and lots of cold, cold salads. Here I present a pretty pair of salads (in complementary colors) that we lunched upon one day, along with chilled and delicious artichokes. One salad is my own recipe and the other is my college-and-still-roommate Kate’s, which is magical in that it is a) delicious and b) a beet recipe that I love (you see, ordinarily, beets are not my favorite)…

artichokes, the loveliest food
artichokes, the loveliest food

Cold and Lovely Salads

The first salad is a cucumber salad inspired by traditional Levantine cucumber dishes.

You will need:

4-6 small cucumbers or 2-3 large, diced
1/2 cup to 1 cup strained plain yogurt
Handful of mint, chopped finely
Tablespoon of cilantro, chopped finely
2 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the above together and enjoy. I made it a little on the yogurt-y side, so we could dip the artichokes into this salad as a kind of sauce. Other than that the artichokes we prepared very simply, according to these excellent directions at Simply Recipes.


The next is Kate’s beet salad with sheep’s cheese; I was skeptical, because of the beet thing, but you really must try it out. It’s amazing. I had three helpings.

You will need:

3 boiled beets, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 apple, cut into bite-sized pieces
2/3 cup of sheep or goat cheese, best if salty and feta-like (eg Bulgarian style)
Juice of half a lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together beets and apple (pecans or pine nuts could also be a nice touch).

Crumble in goat cheese.

Prepare the dressing by mixing together lemon, oil, salt and pepper.

Coat salad with dressing and mix.

Add extra ingredients of your choice (for an extra whammy, mix in the greens left over from last night’s dinner and serve on a bed of lettuce).  Serve and wow your beet-hating friends.

et voila
and the colors look smashing!

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