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Thai Cucumber Salad and Generous Friends

August 28, 2011

thai cucumber salad
It’s probably been five weeks since I posted here. I’ve been cooking plenty, but it’s been of the utilitarian type–meals my friends would (and sometimes are) still delighted to join in on, but that I’ve either posted before, or that I didn’t plate well, or that we were in a hurry to eat. That’s the true life behind a food blog–very little of what is produced makes it on here.

I’ve made Tutto Mare (for my man’s parents while they visited for three weeks in my house–another reason I’ve been absent), eggplant parmasean (without frying the eggplant but with a stick of butter in the sauce), flank steak with chimichurri sauce (for which I already owe you a recipe–noted!), cookies, Chinese desserts involving potatoes and ginger, pesto, and a million other things. Between the house guests and my day job and my latest quest to drink only disgusting green purees of things, there’s not much time to write or much worth writing about.

Now about generous friends. Usually when I post to Red Blossom Tea I’m talking about P. This time I’m talking about his sister Alice–I owe her big time. Every time I drop into the shop she seems to have some treat to share with me, we talk cheese, we talk travel, we talk food and wine. I took the visiting pseudo-in-laws to the shop and came home with a gigantic bag of washed, ready to use, beautiful mature arugula which I’ve put to several uses over the last two weeks–yes, it’s lasted two weeks and still looks gorgeous!

I’ve made arugula pesto, added it to one of my disgusting green smoothies, mixed it into bruschetta, blanched it and served it with eggs poached in tomato sauce, and even used it in this thai cucumber salad recipe. Thanks Alice!

mature arugula grown in bay area garden

raw green smoothie

This is why I haven’t been posting. While writing this enry, I drank this green smoothie of apples, carrots, spinach and a dash of whole lemon and tried really hard to pretend it was baked french toast with mascarpone cream.

Thai Cucumber Salad
Serves 4-6 with possible leftovers as a side

2 medium cucumbers, preferably unwaxed persians
1/4 red onion
1 large watermelon radish or other radish totaling the size of a small peach
1/2 C arugula, chopped
2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 C seasoned rice vinegar
1 T sugar
1 tsp salt

Mix the vinegar, sugar, and salt and microwave for 30 seconds, stir to combine. Set aside.

Prepare your cucumber- if waxed/thick skinned, trim the ends, and peel most of the skin off leaving bright green behind, cut in half and remove the seeds with a spoon from each side. If using edible peel, simply remove ends and cut in half, removing seeds.  Using a mandolin or a very patient hand, slice into 1/8th inch thick slices. Place in a serving bowl. Next, slice 1/8th or thinner slices of red onion using the mandolin. Peel off any tough outer layers before doing so. Add to cucumber bowl. Peel the watermelon radish (no need to peel other types), cut in half, and slice thinly with the mandolin.

Toss everything with the vinegar mixture, add sesame seeds and arugula at the end. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to two weeks, so long as everything is coated in vinegar. Makes a quick refrigerator pickle that is tasty right away or later on. You can also store in jars with more vinegar up to a couple months if refrigerated.

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