I hope you all are enjoying your summer!  I know I am!  We have had some fantastic weather here in Boston this summer, so I have been out and about, and spending less time in the kitchen.  Brad and I also are completely spoiled by having a grill right out our front door, so I would say we grill anywhere from 3-5 nights a week.  It’s fantastic, if you ask me.

One thing that I have been playing around with a lot this summer is finding good summer salads.  We eat dinner with our neighbors quite a bit (we live in a fantastic loft community and have made some great friends here), and one night they brought over this salad from Whole Foods that I decided to try to recreate.  It was super simple, but full of great summer flavors, like cucumbers (my favorite!), olives (again a favorite), cubed feta, tomatoes, and onions.  And it was all in Italian dressing, so you can’t get much easier than that.  Not only is it easy, but it’s a huge hit, and also makes a big batch, with lots for leftovers.

When we go on our somewhat annual trip to Charleston later this summer (I know I’m asking for it, going in August), I hope to hit up their fantastic farmer’s market and make lots of salads to have with dinner.  No one wants to spend their entire beach vacation cooking (unless that is what you really like to do on vacation) in the kitchen.

As usual I know I have dropped off the face of the earth, but I have been busy with my new job, playing tons of tennis around the Metrowest area, and just trying to relax and do as much as I can before I start school in the fall.  I also happen to have a new toy, just in time for my birthday…

In a completely out of left field move, Brad surprised me with an Addams Family pinball machine for my birthday, which happened to be last week.  Now let me just say that we don’t do surprises at all, so this one was HUGE.  Not only have I a) wanted a pinball machine for AGES, and b) wanted this particular one for at least 5 years, but c) I am impossible to surprise, since I am the eternal planning queen.  So I was completely surprised when two weekends ago I was told to “make myself decent” because something or someone was coming to our house.  When the truck pulled up I was NOT expecting what was inside.

All I have to say is that I love it, it’s all I ever wanted, and I currently have our all time high score of something like 132 million points.  Which was no small feat.  I’m afraid we might end up with a collection someday…which isn’t really a bad thing, when you think about it.

I am hoping to not disappear so much in the coming weeks, but can’t promise anything (big work event in a few), but I do have another summer salad (watermelon and feta!) and some amazing s’mores cupcakes coming soon(ish).

Cucumber, Tomato, Feta and Olive Salad

2-3 cucumbers, skin on and sliced however you prefer
1 good size jar of pitted kalamata olives, rinsed
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
2-3 tomatoes, sliced however you prefer
1 package of feta that isn’t crumbled, cut into 1 in. cubes
1 whole bottle of your favorite Italian dressing (mine happens to be Newman’s family recipe)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.  Let sit for a few hours before serving.  You can drain the dressing for serving, or just use a slotted spoon (which is what I happen to do).  Enjoy!