The Olympia Kitchen

Easy summer fare

Caprese skewers and Cucumber & avocado salad


With warm weather upon us, on some days, we fire up the grill to enjoy simple, grilled meat dinners. I often prepare basic salads and light side dishes to accompany grilled steak, fish or chicken. Here are a couple of quick and easy sides that are my regular “go to” dishes with grilled meat.

Caprese skewers
Caprese skewers

Caprese skewers


10-12 cherry tomatoes
8-10 fresh whole basil leaves
9-12 small mozzarella cheese balls
3-4 tablespoons of balsamic reduction
Wooden skewers - short or long


Wash the tomatoes.
Insert a tomato onto each skewer.
Then add a basil leaf to each skewer.
Follow with a mozzarella ball.
Continue adding to each skewer until complete. (Or use small individual skewers that hold one of each: tomato, basil, cheese.)
Drizzle a little balsamic reduction onto each skewer.

Cucumber & avocado salad
Cucumber & avocado salad

Cucumber and avocado salad


6-8 small cucumbers, sometimes called cocktail cucumbers
6-8 cherry tomatoes
One-half of a sweet onion, diced
2 ripe avocados
6-8 Kalamata or ripe olives
3 tablespoons of good olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste


Wash and chop the cucumbers into small rounds, and place into a large bowl.  Wash and slice the cherry tomatoes in half, and throw into the same bowl. Add the diced onions. Peel and slice the avocados into bite sized pieces, placing it into the salad bowl. Add the olives.

In a separate jar, whisk the olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper together. Drizzle on top on the salad mixture and toss all ingredients together well.


Shannon Beigert is a chef and baker who loves to entertain guests at her Olympia home. If you want to let her know that this recipe worked well for you, send her a note at 


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