Cucumber Watermelon Salad

Cucumber Watermelon Salad

The deeper into summer we get, the more I am craving summer fruits and vegetables. The crisper and juicer, the better.

When I was home in Connecticut a few weeks ago – for a much-needed, yet socially-distanced & masked visit to my parents’ house – I took advantage of a quiet kitchen and a wide-open backyard to whip up & enjoy some foods. Cooking at my parents’ house absolutely hits differently than cooking in my NYC kitchen, despite my apartment’s kitchen being HUGE by NYC apartment standards. (No exaggeration, I can stand in the middle of the kitchen and not touch anything if I stretch both of my arms out. Nothing short of miraculous!) It’s a more peaceful and pleasurable experience.

Feeling invigorated, I whipped up some smashburgers and this salad, with my mom coming in hot with her potato salad, which is better than your mom’s potato salad. (Don’t @ me. Facts are facts.) This salad – admittedly, inspired by an ad I saw on Instagram for Stop & Shop toting their recipe for it! – hit all of those crispy and juicy notes I was craving. The addition of feta gave it a hint of saltiness, while the mint added a mellow coolness.

Cucumber Watermelon Salad
Cucumber Watermelon Salad

This is a super easy recipe to pull off, and it’s great for keeping in your fridge for when you need a quick meal side or a snack. It’s been a rough few months, embrace dishes that have minimal effort involved.

Cucumber Watermelon Salad
Cucumber Watermelon Salad

Cucumber Watermelon Salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 4 cups watermelon, seeds (if any) removed & cubed; this equates to roughly 1/4 of a watermelon chunk you’d see at the grocery store.
  • 1 large English cucumber, peeled & chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup mint, roughly chopped

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Before We Get Started…

  • You can substitute a regular large cucumber for an English cucumber, just remember to remove the seeds before dicing!

Directions:

1.) In a large bowl, toss together all salad ingredients.

2.) In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients until emulsified.

3.) Pour dressing over salad and toss thoroughly to combine. Serve immediately! (See? Told you this was an easy recipe.)

NOTE: Salad can be kept in fridge for up to 7 days. This is reported back from my parents that told me they ate the leftovers of this salad seven days after I made it. Ha!

Cheesy Scrambled Egg & Tomato Sandwich

For the first half of this pandemic, my daily lunch was usually a cheese quesadilla, smothered in salsa and topped with a fried egg. I determined that salsa counts as a serving of vegetables in these trying times.

Now as we’re fully into summer – hello there, July! You snuck up out of nowhere! – I’ve transitioned from that lunch into cheesy scrambled eggs with a side of summer sautéed veggies, such as zucchini, yellow squash, or tomatoes. On those days I need a few extra carbs in my belly, I’ll whip up this adorable little sandwich that is oh – so – satisfying!

Cheesy Scrambled Egg & Tomato Sandwich
Cheesy Scrambled Egg & Tomato Sandwich

Recently, I linked up with the fine folks at NYC Bakery Direct by the Bread Gal Bakery, and NYC-area woman-owned company. Once a wholesale provider to many institutions such as NYU, The Plaza Hotel, and Barclays Center, they are now providing direct – to – customer baked goods! Their simple and slightly sweet brioche buns make a perfect vessel for these savory cheddary eggs, with that thick slice of tomato in the middle providing a juicy bite. (P.S.: Keep an eye out for a full review of the many products I tried from NYC Bakery Direct later next week!)

I have to laugh a little bit at my sudden love of scrambled eggs: I was very adverse to them for, well, roughly the past 30 years. My mom said I used to love them as a kid, but soon became disgusted by them. As with most things with life, adding cheese to them makes them palatable.

(Note – Bread used in this recipe was provided for a paid partnership with NYC Bakery Direct. All opinions are my own!)

Cheesy Scrambled Egg & Tomato Sandwich

Cheesy Scrambled Egg & Tomato Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ounces cheddar cheese (2 oz. finely shredded [for scrambled eggs), 1 oz. medium shredded [for topping sandwich])
  • Splash of milk (optional, but highly recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (I’ll leave salted or unsalted up to you!)
  • 1 thick slice of tomato
  • Bread of choice (This is great served on a brioche roll, but also excellent on an English muffin!)

Directions:

1.) In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together eggs, 2 oz. of finely shredded cheddar cheese, and splash of milk until evenly combined.

2.) In a large frying pan, slowly melt butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, add scrambled egg mixture. Allow to sit for 30 seconds, untouched. Using a spatula, slowly stir eggs until curds start to form; keep gently stirring eggs until almost cooked through. Remove from heat, as they will continue to cook from the residual pan heat.

3.) Arrange sandwich on bread as follows: 1/2 of the scrambled eggs, layer of tomato, 1/2 scrambled eggs, and top with the remaining 1 oz. of cheese. Enjoy!

Hummus Pesto Pasta

Hummus Pesto Pasta

This…was on a lark.

During the height of this damn COVID-19 pandemic, I downloaded TikTok for perhaps seven days, and I’ll never get those seven days back. 😆 However! I did come across some great recipes on my For Your Page area, one of which was a three-ingredient pasta dish: hummus, pasta, and pasta water. It was ideal for hummus lovers, as well as vegans or anyone dairy-adverse looking for a creamy pasta option.

One work day, I actually had a spare 45 minutes to cook a proper lunch – I take advantage of those rare moments! – and that recipe sprung back into my head! I also had some yellow summer squash that was turning a little rubbery, so I wanted to dice it up before it met its possible death in the compost heap.

Hummus Pesto Pasta
Hummus Pesto Pasta

I was quite impressed, after holding my breath a little too much during its creation. (As if wearing a mask for the past 3 months hasn’t made me hypoxic enough. Ha!) Not only was it creamy, but it remained creamy for the duration of my meal; it didn’t try out, and cakey hummus is truly unpalatable. (Ugh.) I’m a huge fan of Esti Foods, namely their pesto hummus. It worked wonderfully here! (And this isn’t a sponsored post, but if you’re looking, Esti, I’ve got a media kit all ready for y’all… 💁)

This idea may seem a little…strange – on a poll I did on my Instagram Stories, it clocked in at approximately 85% for the sauce and 15% against this idea – but have a little faith and try something new. 😊

Hummus Pesto Pasta

Hummus Pesto Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. (approximately) linguine, strands split in half
  • 1 cup yellow squash, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons pesto hummus
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water

Before We Get Started…

  • I hope it goes without saying that you can substitute in your pasta of choice here, but if you didn’t come to that conclusion already…
  • If you can not find pesto hummus, substitute 2 & 1/2 tablespoons of hummus and 1/2 tablespoon of your favorite pesto; your favorite hummus, in general, can be substituted here if anything pesto-based isn’t your thing!
  • Yellow squash can be replaced with zucchini, or squash can be omitted.

Directions:

1.) Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Prior to draining, reserve pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta and return to saucepan.

2.) While pasta is boiling, sauté diced summer squash over medium heat until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

3.) Add hummus to pasta, one tablespoon at a time, and mix; drizzle in reserved pasta water to loosen up the hummus. (Note: You may not use all of the reserved pasta water.) Stir until creamy. Add sautéed summer squash. Eat immediately; this recipe does not make for good leftovers, so enjoy it when you’re done cooking it!