I have many vivid memories of sitting at my Yiayia’s kitchen table late at night, talking and playing cards. Most of these sit-downs would end in tears after she’d tell me the stories of her childhood or how she fell desperately in love with Papou. I swear, she could read the back of a milk carton and still make me cry – she was a true story teller.
With the kitchen light above us and the clock on the wall ticking, we’d sit and nibble on cheddar cheese, crackers and green olives. She’d ask about the boys I had crushes on and tell me that someday I’d find my prince charming. She always took time to ask me about my life and what was going on, rarely ever distracted and always on the edge of her seat. I can’t tell you how much I always appreciated that. It was a calming experience when I went over there. She and I always operated at the same slow pace.
As the years passed, I’d often bring my husband with me. We’d visit and play cards with the two of them, and he got to experience her competitiveness and bigger-than-life smile. She always meant a lot to him and I’m so happy she was able to see me marry and start a life with my prince charming.
Yiayia always had an assortment of things out for us for lunch or dinner, but one of the dishes I loved most was her tomato, cucumber and feta salad. I decided to put a spin on her version the other day, adding grilled bread and red onion to the salad. It reminds me so much of being in their warm house in the summertime. I still can’t believe we’ll never get another chance to sit and talk at her kitchen table.
If you end up making this, don’t forget to tag #marinamakeseats. Thank you again for all of you kind words during this time.
Greek Panzanella Summer Salad
- 5 very ripe vine tomatoes (heirloom tomatoes will work well too), halved and sliced
- Half of a cucumber, thinly sliced
- Several thin slices of red onion
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup of crumbled feta
- 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano, chopped
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 5-7 slices of baguette bread
Set your grill to a medium-high heat and place baguette slices on for a bout a minute, until they’re slightly charred. Cube the bread and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta, oregano, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Let the salad sit for about ten minutes to allow the tomato juices to soak up the flavor of the vegetables and cheese.
Just before serving, add the bread and mix to combine.