Sunday, August 24, 2008

Summer's End

How does the end of summer always manage to sneak up on people? Tomorrow I move back down to school for what promises to be something of a culinary semester, at least if we're judging by the pile of cooking utensils waiting to be loaded into my car. It's been an eventful summer, full of swimming in lakes and a wedding. All kinds of good stuff. Nothing, however, compares to the family reunion of last weekend.

It's the Hungarian side of my family, and because neither you nor I have the time for me to recount all the craziness that has taken place at these reunions over the years, I'll give you two examples for your own consideration:
1) Every year at our stuffed-cabbage-featuring picnic, "the elders" (my grandmother and her brother) announce the winner of the Fetla Award. It goes to the person in the family who has done the stupidest or funniest thing in the course of the long weekend. The competition is fierce.
2) At our 2002 reunion in Indianapolis, the women all went to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding. We laughed doubly hard because, with a simple substitution of stuffed cabbage for stuffed grape leaves, that's our family.

I kid you not.

Look at the lovely colors of the Hungarian flag, all in a tasty summer salad!

Over the years we've all attributed the zaniness to our common ancestry for no better reason than we tend to end up surrounded by the colors of the Hungarian flag (also, most of the people who married into the family are normal). What better way to feature the red, white, and green than by commandeering the Italian Caprese salad? That's what I did, and let me tell you, it was a hit at the first (and last) annual birthday gala.

Magyar Salad
(formerly Caprese Salad)

fresh ripe red tomatoes
fresh mozzarella
fresh basil leaves
herb-infused olive oil

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella in even-sized slices. To assemble the salad, repeat a pattern of sliced tomato, sliced mozzarella, and basil leaf until you run out of an ingredient. Drizzle the assembled salad with the olive oil and serve.
Note: Depending on your preferences, you can drizzle the salad with plain olive oil, olive oil and vinegar, Italian dressing, plain balsamic vinegar... please, just don't make it too complicated.

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