One easy way to celebrate the culture of your internationally adopted child is to prepare foods from their birth countries. During the summer, a great treat for my four Ukrainian children is what we call our “Ukrainian Salad.” Its name may be a bit misleading, as it seems any chopped up dish with vegetables can be called a salad in Ukraine. On our first visit to Ukraine, my husband thought it would be safe to try a salad with his meal. When it arrived, he was quite surprised and disappointed. There are two vegetables my husband will not eat – tomatoes and cucumbers. To his dismay, his salad consisted of sliced tomatoes with oil drizzled on them.
Despite my husband’s aversion to tomatoes and cucumbers, my Ukrainian children LOVE them! When we fix our Ukrainian salad, they all anxiously await for it to be served. When eating this salad, I always think of our time in Ukraine and I know my children do too. It is a taste of Ukraine, or a comfort food for them. Our family not only enjoys the salad, but we make green and red borscht, and also make the occasional trip to the local “Russian” deli. My kids love choosing things they remember: halva, air chocolate, juices, cookies, and more! I would encourage all families of internationally adopted children to learn to cook or make a dish from their child’s country. Below, I am happy to share our family recipe.
What you will need:
- Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
- Large Cucumbers
- Large Lemons
- Sea Salt
- Sunflower Oil
Cut tomatoes in half and put into large mixing bowl. Cut cucumber into thin slices, then cut them into fourths. Add the cucumbers to the mixing bowl. (You want to have equal parts tomato and cucumber, so add accordingly.) Slice a lemon in half and extract as much juice from the lemon as possible. I suggest using an actual lemon/orange juicing tool, making sure you don’t get any of the seeds into the salad. While a fresh lemon provides the best taste, lemon juice from a bottle can be used as a substitute (it makes the salad a little more sour.) Use enough juice to saturate the veggies. After adding the lemon juice, use a grater on the rind to add zest of the lemon. If you’d like to make a nice presentation for a dinner party or event, try adding the zest last as more of a garnish for a beautiful finish. Add sea salt to taste and make sure to use a light hand… the lemon juice provides a lot of flavor and you don’t want the salt to overpower the salad. Add a tablespoon or two full of sunflower seed oil. Stir, chill, and serve!
You can also add: sunflower seeds, green onion, or fresh garlic. Personalize the salad to fit your family’s taste.
Photo Credit: feministjulie