Happy New Year, everyone!
I hope you had a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration, whether it was a Clicquot–filled party with your friends, or a quite night with you and thousands of enthusiastic and rather cold people waiting for the ball to drop on Times Square on television.
My boyfriend, my sister, and I enjoyed the countdown at my place over Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon (which is quickly becoming our yearly ritual), my favorite tomato salad, and many bottles of wine. I got a little carried away and had too much to drink 😳 , but I was glad I was at a comfort of my own home with love ones who will love me regardless of my embarrassing mumbo jumbo craziness that I supposedly displayed that night.
For the first blog post of 2011, I would like to share a recipe for the tomato salad that I made to accompany the French beef stew that night. I love this salad so much for its flexibility (you can put any vegetables you have in the fridge) and its amazing flavors that I make it for myself at least once a week.
Easy and Delicious Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad
5 tomatoes, chopped bite size
1 onion, diced
3 celery stalks
1 English cucumber, diced
1 haas avocado, cubed
2 to 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
Handful of Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. You can use more or less.
1/4 cup white wine vinegar. Unseasoned rice or red wine vinegars work too, but don’t use balsamic.
Sea salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
Chop all vegetables, except for avocado. You can dice them or chop them up to bite sizes. I like my vegetables pretty chunky for this salad, so I chop them very roughly. Toss them in a bowl. (Note: Although I usually take those slimy seeds out of tomatoes because I don’t like the texture, I suggest that you keep them in for this salad. The liquid from the seeds makes all the flavors travel well through all the veggies and it will taste so much better!)
Crumble the goat cheese with hands (I used the herb and garlic flavored kind) and add it to the bowl. Add garlic, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and toss. Let the mixture sit for at least two hours for all the flavors to come together.
Right before you’re ready to serve, chop the avocado and add it to the bowl. Toss everything one last time and serve. You can make this a day in advance (I actually like it when it prepared in advance)!
Serve with toasted garlic sourdough bread (rub the garlic and olive oil on one side of the bread and toast in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until the edges become golden brown).
You can throw in a day-old bread and make it into a panzenella salad like this one, or toss it with your favorite pasta and make it into a delicious pasta salad, perfect for lunch the next day!