Seasonal Chef: Summertime Tomato and Cucumber Salad


The lazy hazy days of summertime are upon us. Here in the northeast we’ve been blessed with an abundant season of fruits and vegetables. If you talked to me in April, I never would have guessed it. The past winter we had just did not want to end, and when it did, we were well into Spring on the calendar. But this summer, in particular, has been bursting with bright large leafy greens, beans, cucumber and now tomatoes; and in August we have literally hit the mother lode. Every size, shape and color you can imagine. Just before I left on vacation I picked up some wonderful tomatoes and cucumbers from Hilltop Hanover, along with oregano in my farm share.

Maine beach

So here I am, on the beach, lost in thought about what to write for this week’s column. Sometimes ideas come easily, and sometimes not. As I sit staring at the ocean it occurs to me: “Why am I making this so hard? It’s August, I’m at the beach, what could I make that is in the fridge and on the counter?”

Back to the house I went and grabbed a few things:

marinated feta

First, marinated feta. This is just something I do to make the feta a little more interesting. Cube it up and cover it in extra virgin olive oil and add a branch or two of fresh oregano or rosemary, a couple of pieces of smashed garlic and some red hot chili flakes. Just place in a plastic or glass container and in the ‘fridge. When you want a little for your salad just pull a cube out and crumble.

tomato, cucumber and oregano

From Hilltop Hanover Farm I brought with me two gorgeous Mr. Stripey heirloom tomatoes, kirby cucumbers, and a bunch of oregano, in my farm share.

tomato and cucumber salad

This dish has no real recipe, it’s totally up to what you want in a salad. Add as much tomato or cucumber as you desire, but be sure to season them! Salt and pepper will bring out the bright flavors. Crumble a little marinated feta and a good squeeze of lemon juice. That’s it! Serve with bread, crackers, beer or wine, and enjoy!

Seasonal Chef heading out on a kayak

It’s back to reality in four days, but for now I am heading back to Saco Bay.

Buon appetito!


About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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