CUCUMBER TOMATO SALAD PICKS (raw-vegan)
As a hard-core foodie, like most of you, I love classic recipes. I also love to entertain, so these classic recipes find their way on to the party menu. Classics are formed by tradition, regions and nationalities yet often because of their flavor combinations. Think about the classic recipes that you love so much, what flavors and textures do you like about them? I think the classics are a big part of our food choices but they can also be given a healthy twist just by tweaking some of the ingredients. Antipasti and appetizers are a favorite of my family; we will even make a full meal out of them. One classic that has always been a family favorite is cucumber and tomato salad. The refreshing flavor of cucumber is balanced out by the robust flavor of the vine ripe tomatoes when this dish is marinated with oil and vinegar. This combination is a hit for sure, especially when it is served as an antipasti. I like to entertain so I am always experimenting with presentation too; thus the CUCUMBER TOMATO SALAD PICKS were invented. They are cute, fun and will temp the taste-buds of even the hardest critic, kids like them too. The best thing is this is a healthy way to get in your veggies even if you are not so fond of raw vegetables. I hope you carry on the tradition of serving classic recipes (with a healthy twist though) any chance you get and enjoy my classic healthy recipe for cucumber tomato salad picks.
A CHEF’S TIP: I make my own dried lemon zest. I use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest, fine slice it and then dehydrate until fully dry and crisp, then store in a covered glass jar. I use a recycled salt grinder to grind it when I need it.
MAKES 24 PICKS
48 vine ripe organic pearl tomatoes
2 large organic cucumbers
2 TBSP raw organic cider vinegar
2 tsp raw cold pressed organic olive oil
1 1/2 tsp fresh ground dried organic lemon zest
1 1/2 TBSP fine chopped fresh organic basil
24 round wooden toothpicks
Use a melon baller and make 24 uniform balls from the cucumber (start from the outside peel and cut into the flesh), reserve the balls in a medium mixing bowl and use the trimmings in another recipe. In a small jar with a fitting lid, add the vinegar, oil, lemon zest and basil, shake well until smooth, this is your dressing. Add the tomatoes to the mixing bowl with the cucumbers and then pour in the dressing and mix well. Cover this bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours, mix every 30 minutes to ensure even marinating. Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and allow to sit for 10 minutes. On each toothpick, place 2 tomatoes and 1 cucumber ball like the picture shown above. Serve and enjoy. NOTE: these can be made up to 3 hours before serving. Just make as instructed then place the finished picks on a platter, cover tightly and refrigerate.