Posts Tagged 'cucumber'

Curry Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

This is the first real summer I’ve experienced in two years, and the heat is taking some getting used to.  I ADORE 90+ degree temperatures, but it’s definitely been an adjustment in terms of cooking and working out.

I really would rather not turn the house into a sauna by turning the oven on, so I’ve been steering clear of any recipes that involve roasting or baking.  These sandwiches involve zero cooking of any kind, which is pretty awesome when the temperature is approaching triple digits.

I was a little scared of running in the heat, so I did every single run before 7 AM until yesterday, when a friend was in town and asked if I wanted to run at 4:30 PM.  It was 90 degrees but the run actually felt really good! We took it easy and covered 4 miles.  Definitely bringing water next time, though.


Speaking of working out, we just joined a new gym and I’m super excited about it.  I’m sort of in a weird place right now with running and working out… I don’t start training for CIM until September, and I’m also DYING to train for a triathlon (I haven’t done one since 2008!)  I completely slacked on any sort of strength training for far too long, so lately I’ve been doing Zuzana Light workouts on Youtube.  If you can get past the slightly porn-ish vibe, they’re awesome and I definitley feel stronger.

Back to the sandwiches: the filling is a delicious mix of chickpeas, cucumber, red onion and mango bound with yogurt and a little mayo (you could probably just do all yogurt with great results), flavored with curry powder and ginger.  Ellie loves it and we do too.


Potato and Tempeh Curry with Cucumber-Ginger Raita

First things first, my husband is an amazingly easy person to cook for.  Pretty much anything I set down in front of him, he’ll eat.  When he asks what’s for dinner and I tell him it’s lentils or chard or vegan or full of nutritional yeast, he generally replies with something along the lines of “cool, sounds good.”

But sometimes, there’s a comment a little like this.

“Um, Cate? I really appreciate that you cook amazing dinners every night.  But is there any way we could maybe have a dinner that doesn’t include kale?”

I have to admit, I did go a little overboard with kale recently.  So I planned a whole week of things I knew he’d love: sandwiches, spinach lasagna, loaded baked sweet potatoes, and curry.  The man LOVES him some curry.

He also loves chocolate chip cookies, and since Tuesday was national chocolate chip cookie day, I finally got around to trying Alton Brown’s “The Chewy

I’m not sure if they were the best chocolate chip cookies ever, but they were VERY good.  I love that the recipe is written with ingredients by weight, because I’m fully obsessed with using my food scale.  I am ready to make another batch!

This curry recipe came from JAMES BEARD AWARD WINNER Heidi Swanson, but I decided to leave the potatoes in chunks, and I added a basic cucumber-ginger-lime raita on the side (I also served it all over quinoa).  Kale-free, Mike-pleasing, and delicious, plus it makes enough for plenty of leftovers for lunch!


(adapted from 101 cookbooks)

Coconut-Cilantro Quinoa Bowls

Welcome to the latest installment of “things to do when your due date is a week away with no baby in sight.”
1. Hit the gym. Be super tempted to stay on the elliptical until you go into labor.

2. Make bagels. Decide that while they’re pretty good, Peter Reinhart’s recipe is better, so they don’t deserve a blog post of their own.

3. Toast said bagels and top with cream cheese, capers, red onion, and heirloom tomatoes. Repeat more times than is probably healthy within a 24 hour period.

4. Practice changing diapers. Or take a picture of your husband while he practices.

5. Go see Our Idiot Brother. (It’s adorable)

6. Make this for dinner.

I hate it when people tell me “you HAVE to make this immediately, it’s SO good!!!!!!!” so I’m not going to do that to you. I will be thinking it very hard, however. It really was one of the best dinners we’ve had in awhile (yeah, I probably say that too often…)

I started with a recipe for swordfish with cilantro-coconut chutney. Obviously I don’t eat swordfish so I used slabs of tofu instead. Then I served it over quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth with a squeeze of lime. With a raw vegetable salad on the side (or mixed in), it’s a complete meal in a single bowl with a great mix of textures and flavors, and a nice amount of protein.

This was the first time I tried dredging the tofu slices in a little flour, corn starch, and salt before pan-frying them. Mike loved it, I wasn’t quite as sold, so that step is optional.

I know the ingredient list looks a little daunting because there are four different components to this meal, but it actually comes together pretty quickly.

(adapted from Ani’s Raw Food Asia and A New Way To Cook)

2 small red bell peppers, julienned
2 Persian cucumbers (or 1 English cucumber), seeded and julienned
1 large carrot, juliened
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
pinch salt

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
pinch salt
juice of half a lime

a drizzle of vegetable oil
2 tbsp all purpose flour (optional)
1 tbsp corn starch (optional)
pinch or two of salt (optional)
1 lb extra firm tofu, well drained, and cut crosswise into 1/2″ thick slices

about 2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 serrano chile, roughly chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 tbsp unsweetened, dried coconut

Start with the vegetables: Put the julienned vegetables, olive oil, vinegar, and salt in a medium bowl, toss to combine, and set aside.

Bring the broth and a pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stir in the quinoa, cover, and cook over low until all the liquid is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and fluff with a fork.

If you’re using flour, cornstarch and salt for the tofu, place them in a shallow dish and mix well. Dip each slice of tofu in the mixture and brush off any extra. Heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet, and cook the tofu slices until golden brown. Set aside.

To make the sauce, combine the cilantro, chile, cumin seeds, sugar, and lime juice in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the coconut milk and process until nearly smooth. Gently stir in the dried coconut, and adjust lime juice or sugar if necessary.

To assemble each bowl, put quinoa in the bottom, top with some vegetables, a slab or two of tofu, and drizzle with sauce.


Sometimes I find it kind of shocking how clueless I was when I started this blog back in the summer of 2008. I put up crappy pictures (and sometimes no pictures at all) with maybe a sentence (or two if I was feeling particularly inspired) along the lines of “I really enjoyed this because of the succulent roasted beets and I’m sure you will too!”

No wonder I didn’t have many readers.

Well buried in the not-so-pretty archives of this very blog are some pretty good recipes that deserve more attention and a better post than they initially had, so I’m planning on periodically revisiting the best of them, and sprucing them up a little bit.

I knew my fattoush could use a little work, so I looked at a few rcipes for inspiration, played around with how I used to make it, and came up with this. Sumac has become such a favorite spice in our house that we have a quart-sized jar full of it, and our friends introduced us to the BEST pita ever (Mediterranean brand Plain Brick Oven Pita Bread…definitely worth searching for), so I’m ready to make this salad any time I feel like it, which is becoming pretty often.


1 large pita, cut into 1.5″ squares
1 head romaine
2-3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 persian cucumbers (or 1 English cucumber), diced
3 tbsp sliced green onions
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sumac

Preheat the oven to 425 and arrange the pita squares on a baking sheet. Toast for 5-10 minutes, or until golden.

Slice the romaine crosswise and wash with a salad spinner. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the tomatoes, green onions, cucumber, and mint. To make the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and sumac. Pour the desired amount over the vegetables (you may not need all of it) and toss well. Top with the pita pieces just before serving.

Miso Slaw

Mike has been in Asia on a business trip (first Thailand, now Hong Kong) for what feels like approximately 27 months, although it’s only been about a week. For the vast majority of that time, I’ve had absolutely zero desire to cook. My dinners have been pitiful, with cereal playing a starring role. I just can’t get excited about cooking for one.

Or I couldn’t, until I remembered that I’d seen a recipe for Miso Slaw on the beautiful Sprouted Kitchen blog. Rather than pouring myself yet another bowl of Joe’s Os, I dug through the produce drawers and made my own version.

It’s like coleslaw, but healthier (spinach and broccoli, yes!) and with a more intriguingly sophisticated flavor (thank you, miso). Just after taking the picture above, I added sliced avocado and inhaled it so quickly I forgot to take another picture. I can assure you though, if you have an avocado handy, use it here!

(inspired by Sprouted Kitchen)

2-3 servings

1 cup shredded broccoli stems (this was about 1 head’s worth for me)
1 English cucumber, shredded (I didn’t bother peeling it, but I removed the squishy part in the middle)
3 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, sliced into ribbons
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion (green part only)
1 avocado, thinly sliced
2 tbsp sesame seeds

1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp yellow miso
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
pinch cayenne (optional)

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

Toss the spinach, broccoli, cucumber, and green onions together in a medium bowl. Add the dressing and mix well. Divide among 4 plates, top with a few slices of avocado, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Tuna Gimbap


Anytime I travel somewhere, I tend to latch onto one particular food and eat it far more than anything else, so that inevitably, when I go home, eating that food immediately transports me back. When I visited Norway, it was mussels and smoked salmon (I made sure to eat one or the other, but preferably both, every single day of the trip). In Uganda, it was chapati rolled up with fried egg (mainly because it was more appetizing than goat stew, which always included either jawbones – teeth still intact – or pieces of stomach), and here in Korea, it’s tuna gimbap.

At the ubiquitous Gimbap Heaven franchise (which is open 24 hours and seems to never be more than 3 blocks away, no matter where in the city you are), these rolls are only a couple dollars and keep me full for hours. Although the ones I usually get include some fried egg and mayo, I left them out when making them at home because I wanted to lighten them up a little.

You can make gimbap with just about anything. I’ve seen it with ground beef and processed cheese, which I really don’t get excited about, and with just tuna and vegetables, which I love. If you have trouble finding yellow pickled radish, it can be left out, and if imitation crab meat is not your thing (which is understandable… I’m not sure why I like it and yes I know it’s probably worse for me than hot dogs), omit it! You don’t need one of those fancy sushi rolling mats either… I just made this directly on my cutting board and had no trouble rolling it up.

4 sheets of nori (about 8″ x 8″)
2 cups freshly cooked short grain white rice
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
6 shiso leaves, torn in half
1 can of tuna (packed in water), drained
1 carrot, cut into long, thin strips
1 cucumber, seeded and cut into long, thin strips
4 strips yellow pickled radish
4 long strips ham
a few strips of imitation crab meat

Prepare all ingredients and have them nearby.

Mix the rice with the sesame oil and rice vinegar. Add a little extra oil if the rice seems especially sticky.

Put about half a cup of white rice on a sheet of nori and spread it to a thickness of about 1 cm. I like to use a piece of plastic wrap between my hands and the rice so I don’t end up with a sticky mess. Leave an inch or two of the nori uncovered.


Arrange the shiso leaves on top of the rice.


Sprinkle 1/4 of the tuna over the shiso evenly. You can add a little mayo here if you like.


Line up a few pieces of crab (or Krab)


Add the strips of carrot and ham…


…then cucumber…

…then radish if you can find it (check Asian grocery stores)


Carefully roll it all up
then slice with a sharp knife and enjoy

Quinoa and Edamame Salad


My mom included quinoa in my last care package, and I was pretty stoked to see it.  Brown rice is fine, but I’m definitely starting to get a little tired of it, and I want to play around a little more with different whole grains.

I found some fresh edamame at the store the other day, and since then I’ve never seen it there again, so I guess I just got really lucky!  As usual when I need inspiration, I turned to my google reader. I found a great recipe for edamame salad with shiso and lemon, two things that are easy for me to find. To make a more filling and balanced meal, I added some quinoa (and cucumber for crunch) and the result was this surprisingly filling (and really healthy!) salad.

The lemon was strong but not overpowering, and the shiso added a complementary depth to the citrus flavor. Shiso (or perilla) is common in Korean and Japanese cooking, and you should be able to find it at an Asian grocery store, or possibly the farmers market. If you can’t find it, a little bit of mint might work (since they’re in the same family), but I haven’t tried it out myself.

(adapted from The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen via 101 Cookbooks)

1 1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups water
1 cup cooked, shelled edamame
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped shiso, loosely packed
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp (loosely packed) lemon zest
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup
pinch salt
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Put the water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then transfer to a bowl.
Add cucumber, shiso leaf, and edamame, and toss to combine.
Whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, rice vinegar, maple syrup, and salt.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and stir.
Add 1-2 tbsp olive oil and mix well to serve.  Garnish with some thinly sliced shiso.


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