It’s a long holiday weekend! YES!
Memorial Day heralds the official start of summer in the US. It’s all very exciting. We can even wear white after Monday.
Sadly, I am all dressed in black, and will be until my dear Uncle and Godfather is laid to rest next Friday, after a staggeringly rapid invasion of cancer in his oesophagus. This branch of my family are in uproar for the third time in 10 months. We lost cousin Leslie, my just-departed uncle’s daughter, last July, and cousin Jane, who grew up with my uncle and mother, in December. Loss of loved ones is always hard. Losing so many in such a short time is brutal. It’s at times like these that I wish I didn’t live quite so many thousands of miles away. British Airways wanting $4000 for a return trip to London, in coach, did nothing to help ease the pain. My uncle was always very kind to me, and although I rarely saw him, when we did meet he was everything an uncle needed to be. I loved him. His children, my cousins, were very close to him and they are devastated by his death. I am sending warm and loving thoughts across the ocean to them every day.
Over here in Seattle it’s as blue and cloudless as it’s possible to be if you’re the sky. The sun is beaming brightly. It’s a full-on, summer-is-just-around-the-corner day. There’ll be mowers buzzing and BBQs being spruced up and cars being polished with some down-home elbow grease. Boats will start rolling out of their long winter storage and the Farmers Markets will be bustling with happy shoppers eager to take a taste of the fresh summer produce home to their kitchens. Like celery. And cucumbers. And fresh mint. Mmmmm.
I expect if you’re pretty much anywhere in the US that gets the sun’s rays this weekend, the last place you want to be is indoors reading blogs. However, I just could not wait until next week sometime to tell you about the salad that Becky the Greek and Justin the Geek helped me gobble up last night. It is possibly the freshest, crunchiest, most refreshing salad. It will be a fabulous addition to your BBQ menu on Monday. It’ll make your taste buds perk right up after all those hotdogs and hamburger patties surrounded by dough. It’s fast to make, with a simple flavourful dressing and you’ll have a crisp, lively combination of flavors that your family & friends won’t soon forget. And it’ll make your Memorial Day BBQ SANEr*.
I made this salad to balance things out at our SANE* dinner this week. The rule is that if you come to The Friday Night Dinner, while you don’t have to love something, you do have to try it. Justin the Geek was required to try the Brussel Sprout recipe that I also dished up. I knew he really didn’t like Brussel Sprouts by virtue of the cute little wrinkled nose & worried expression that washed across Becky the Greek’s face when I tossed a bag of Brussels into my cart on Monday night. So it seemed only fair that I should make something that I didn’t really like, but tried it anyway. Enter celery. It’s not that I hate celery, it’s just not a favorite and I’ll avoid it if there is anything else available. Lately I’ve been throwing a few chunks into my veggie smoothies here and there, but just chomping on sticks of it? No Siree. That may well have been one of my father’s favorite things to do, but not this kid.
Imagine my surprise when I enjoyed this salad as much as I did. I even had seconds, and I had a big old scoop to start with. The sweetness of the English cucumbers and the fragrant fresh herbs perfectly evened out the normally overpowering celery taste. Quick and easy to throw together it will also withstand a wait in the ‘fridge better than most salads. Add this to you to your summer salad repertoire to keep things interesting.
Here’s my unsolicited advice for this beautiful sunny weekend:
- Make this salad!
- Go out to play!
- Hug your loved ones and tell them that you adore them!
Happy Memorial Day, America.
- 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced crosswise
- 1½ English cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced crosswise (see notes)
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
- 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bag of mixed salad greens
- Toss the sliced celery, sliced cucumber, chopped parsley and mint, plus the olive oil, into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
- In a shallow serving dish or platter spread a bed of the mixed salad greens.
- Spoon the celery / cucumber mixture over the greens leaving the salad around the edge of the dish uncovered.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with sprigs of parsley and mint.