bella terra: just can’t keep up

I feel like I am so behind on bella terra posts that I’ve got to give you another immediately following my last.  Its the time of year, I suppose – even the farmer’s market has exploded with dozens of options for fresh local produce.  So many things are happening in the garden that I am having a very hard time keeping up.  In fact, as I write this, the very last cucumber that we will get this year is ripening on the vine, and I haven’t even shared a recipe with you yet!  The rest of the cucumber plants have started browning from the ground up, wilting away in the high-80* heat we’ve had these last few weeks.  Soon their place will be taken with new plantings of fall crops…once I figure out what those will be.

cukes merge 1

We enjoyed an abundance of cukes this year, many more than we’ve been able to handle gracefully.  I’ve shamelessly offered them to anybody who will take them, and am usually met with a pleased-yet-baffled look as I hand over an armload of huge cucumbers and am asked “any suggestions”?  Salads, of course.  Lots and lots of salads.

cukes 7

Maybe this one – even though cucumbers aren’t listed in the ingredients I think they would make a fine addition.  Same goes for this one, which you’re probably already making what with all the beets showing up in farmer’s market booths and grocery stores this time of year.  Throw some cucumbers in, they’d be great mixed with those golden globes, purple cabbage and just-off-the-vine tomatoes.  But if you’re looking for something new, something with a fresh California-inspired, deconstructed guacamole flavor, I’ve got just the salad for you.

cukes 8

It screams summer, with its refreshing bites of cucumber and juicy tomato.  The red onion adds just the right amount of bite that is tempered slightly by the creamy avocado.  Take it to a picnic, a backyard fiesta or an evening dinner on a friend’s front porch.  Margarita not required, but definitely recommended.

cukes 2

Mid-Summer Cucumber Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

vinaigrette from emeril via food network


  • 3 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 small red onion, diced finely
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, chopped to 1/2-inch dice
  • finely chopped cilantro, to taste (I find that everybody’s tolerance for cilantro is a little different, so use as much or as little as you’d like)
  • 1/4-cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp minced shallot
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt + pepper


  1. Peel cucumbers and slice them in half length-wise.  Scoop seeds out with a spoon and cut cukes into 1/2-inch slices.  Place cukes in colander in sink and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Toss to coat and let sit for 30 minutes before rinsing very well.
  2. Combine vinegar, honey, shallot, mustard and garlic in food processor.  Slowly add olive oil and process until smooth.  Salt + pepper to taste.
  3. In a large bowl, toss rinsed cucumbers, red onion, tomatoes, avocado and cilantro together.  Add dressing to taste.  You will have dressing leftover, and it should be used within 1 week.

cukes 1

Want to read more about our garden?

Bella Terra: Preparation

Bella Terra: Chives

Bella Terra: Herbs

Bella Terra: Sugar Snaps

Bella Terra: Red Beets

Bella Terra: Kale


20 responses to “bella terra: just can’t keep up

  1. i just sat down at the computer to look up a dressing for a lemon cucumber, yellow tomato, avocado salad i was planning to make tonight when i was notified by newsfire (which i LOVE!) that you have a new post…..kinda crazy that is exactly what your post was about…love your blog and your garden looks amazing!! i guess great minds think alike!!! thanks for your dressing recipe, can’t wait to eat it!

  2. Lovely salad!!! I love reading about your garden and the recipe creations!

  3. Mmm, cucumber salad is one of my favorites. I love that you grew your own!

  4. What amazing cukes! My herb garden feel victim to neglect due to my study days running together so it might be on its last legs.

  5. That salad looks lovely – great idea to add in some rich, creamy avocado.

    I must admit my envy of your proliferating garden! Although I love living in the city, its tough to grow fresh veggies ;).

  6. Oh this looks fantastic! I think I have all those main ingredients being delivered from the organic food program. Maybe I’ll give it a go. 😀

  7. Fabulous cucumber salad!

  8. oooh, that salad looks absolutely splendid! Nice job 😀

  9. Love cucumbers, growing up it was the ONLY vegetable I would eat!

    Love the dressing, I’ll have to give it a try.

  10. Great looking salad! I’ve been wanting to make my own dressing for a long time, time’s up! I’ll try this one. 🙂

  11. Yum. That sounds so fresh and good. Summer has just endless cooking options.

  12. I have been following your blog for a long time now and I just want to say that I love your Bella Terra posts. They are my fave!

  13. I truly wish I didnt live in a apartment just so I could have a garden…well, and a bbq. But still, I am more jealous then you can even imagine.
    Beautiful pictures as always.

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  16. I have the same chef’s knife. LOVE IT 😉

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