] For every beginning there is an ending. It’s the last weekend of summer before school starts here in America. So I put together this Watermelon-Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Feta Cheese. For us on the east coast, our warm days are numbered. In a few weeks, the air will be nippy and soon thereafter the blasts of winter will slap our faces with blistery cold winds. I want to hold on to summer, the long lazy days, the outdoor barbecues we cook and just slowing down on weekends. I want to hold on to the sweetness of the summer fruits, the crisp freshness of the season’s vegetables. Summer reminds us how life turns instantly and in a swift chop everything alters. But I don’t like to brood on the negatives. I’d rather look forward to the good times ahead.
One of the most delightful fruits we enjoyed this summer like all others, were the sweet, sugary flavors of watermelons. The sweetness was so pronounced, it was unforgettable. Then there were the Jersey tomatoes. I have written about why they are called Jersey tomatoes and why we are so fortunate to have access to them in this state. In the summer, they are sweeter and we indulge on them every single meal every day. So this is what led me to make this summer salad – Watermelon-Tomato-Cucumber with Feta Cheese nearly daily. The crisp watermelon was made more attractive by turning them into round globules with the melon baller I had. The tomatoes were ripe red and at its peak freshness. And how could I not include the cucumbers which were so crunchy and possessed a refreshing aroma that complemented all the barbecues we cooked outdoors.
It’s the last weekend of summer but it’s not the end of things. We can continue to carry on with what makes us happy all year long. We can allow the seasons to slide and roll into the next one because that’s the way it should be.
Our souls and our beings love repetitions and old habits because that is what reassures us. The familiar comforts us. But change, like the seasons need to happen. When we grasp the reality that no matter what, summer ends and the next season begins, we can come to terms to these changes. Our hearts then open up to all the possibilities and we discover life is good and beautiful all year long, for all seasons.
Watermelon-Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Feta Cheese and Mirin Dressing
- 1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
- 2 Tablespoon organic honey
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup ginger ale
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 whole large tomatoes sliced into wedges
- 3 cups watermelon balls shaped into balls (use a melon baller to shape) watermelon, red and seedless
- 1 whole large cucumber peeled, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups when sliced)
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled, for sprinkling on salad
- Make the dressing ahead: Combine in a non-reactive, small bowl the mirin, honey, sugar, ginger ale, sea salt and black pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate till ready to serve with salad.
- In a glass bowl, combine the watermelon balls, the tomato and cucumber slices. Toss lightly.
- Sprinkle the feta cheese on top. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
- Pour the mirin dressing at the table side just before dinner starts.
- Cook's comments: Look for mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine) that is naturally brewed, with natural sugars. Store bottled mirin in the refrigerator after opening. This keeps for about a year chilled.
- Substitutes: If feta cheese is not available, try goat's cheese. Or for a less salty substitute, try using cottage cheese.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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