Eat or be eaten. Yes, it’s one of the cardinal laws of the wild, but to the regular potluck supper attendee it means something else entirely. Who among us hasn’t arrived late to one of these get-togethers only to find two or three platters which have been scraped clean (our minds begin playing tricks on us as we imagine the mouth-watering dishes these must have been) as well as a bag or two of stale chips, some canned salsa, and a bowl of potato salad that may or may not have been sitting out in the sun too long.
The potluck connoisseur knows to arrive early to stake out the best dishes because, inevitably, there will only be one or two buzz-worthy contenders. For the home cook and regular potluck chef, the pressure is on to select and prepare something falling into that category. Many of us simply punt and load up on deli counter offerings (hey, I’m not judging…I’ve been there). It’s a great strategy if you’re short on time, but that same deli counter offers options that, with just a little advance planning, will have you effortlessly throwing together one of those buzz-worthy dishes the next time you’re invited to a potluck.
It’s July. It’s hot. The kind of hot where the air shimmers and the wrens roost deep in the dense forsythia all afternoon. Too hot to weed the garden (though that is just this week’s excuse…last week it was too rainy). Too hot to do much but think about salads. Veggies, cool and crisp, mixed and dressed. If you’re lucky, you can ask your kids to harvest a couple of ingredients from your garden. My garden is under-producing on cucumbers and the cherry tomatoes are still green, so we had to dig deep into the crisper drawer (ahhhh) to assemble this salad.
1 cucumber, diced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
Half a can of chickpeas (15.5 oz), rinsed and drained
4 oz feta cheese, cubed
10 Kalamata olives, halved
1/8 cup finely chopped parsley
Juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
6 teaspoons olive oil
Combine diced cucumber, cherry tomato halves, chickpeas, feta, olives and parsley in a medium bowl. Mix lemon juice and sherry vinegar in small bowl and whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper and adjust seasoning by adding more vinegar if desired. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.
Some diced radish would be a great addition to this salad as well.
Serves 2 as a small main, or 4 as a side. Or, 1 particularly greedy mommy for both lunch and dinner (which is what happened in my house).
Mom rating: five stars – couldn’t eat it fast enough.
Kid rating: unknown. Mom scarfed it down before anyone got any! Vinegar in dressing might have been a little much for daughter 1, but daughter 2 would have eaten tomatoes, cucumbers and chickpeas quite happily.