Growing up in rural North Carolina instilled in me quite a few food expectations, one of which was that tomatoes are best vine-ripened and early August is their peak for flavor. Another food lesson from my youth was that nothing pairs better with those tomatoes than crisp, bright cucumbers. My grandparents grew tomatoes and cucumbers to can, allowing us to enjoy the crisp, sweet flavor of pickles all year, as well as tomato sauces that would make you swoon. But the bounty always held plenty of fresh produce to consume throughout the summer, too.
Mixing tomatoes and cucumbers and then topping them off with a light vinaigrette was always a favorite summer side salad. Today's recipe adds a twist: I have upped the quantity of cukes, added fresh herbs and creamy feta cheese crumbles.
Because the flavors are so special, they deserve a premium serving method and homemade crostini are just right. You will surely love this combination, but I hope you find a multitude of uses for both of these recipes. Enjoy!
• Alicia Ross is the co-author of "Desperation Dinners!" cookbook series. Write her at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or firstname.lastname@example.org. More at the Kitchen Scoop website, kitchenscoop.com.