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Posts Tagged ‘Cucumber’

TilapiawithMangoSalsat_First

Summer is coming. That’s what I’m told, I hardly believe them though. But with the warmer weather on the horizon (possibly as far away as Europe) I have again begun to think about lighter dishes. Fish seems to be a four-letter word, not for me, of course, I love the stuff. But some people in this household don’t love it as much as I do, so selling it on the plate becomes a thing. I simply broiled this tilapia, seasoned with salt and pepper and wanted a little something tasty to dress it up and my Mango Salsa recipe was born. Like many savoury recipes on this blog, I urge you to make it your own, volumes are simply suggestions — you hate cucumber, omit it! Hate mango, try pineapple instead! It’s pretty darn tasty and quite easy to prepare — I like my salsa cubed into even little cubes, but you may like yours another way…GO FOR IT!

Tilapia with Mango Salsa

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup ripe mango, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 200 g of cooked white fish (we used Tilapia but cod, halibut or monkfish would also work well)
  • a few handfuls of massaged kale (my dear friend Kelly at Inspired Edibles shares a very compelling story about getting intimate with your food, 50 Shades of Green-style!)

Directions:

  1. Combine the mango, cucumber, red pepper, cilantro and mix well. Pour the white balsamic into the mix and stir to combine, season to taste.
  2. Serve over broiled white fish on top of massaged kale leaves. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • This salsa would be lovely on BBQ chicken breast or even a steak if you’re feeling like red meat.
  • A mix of greens would be fine instead of the massaged kale but I love kale so I use it where I can.

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Spring has been slowly emerging, taking its dear sweet time, but today, it’s finally going to be 17°C (62.6°F). Even on Tuesday, the sun was shining and it was actually warm enough to sit outside in the sun with a cup of hot coffee. We’re cautiously hopeful for spring, although there is still some ice in our backyard believe it or not. Stubborn ice that just won’t give up. One of our radio stations has a repeating ad that goes something like this: “April, you have just one job: melt the GD ice so spring can finally show up.” Seriously, just one job! Can it be THAT hard? Yes, we are frustrated! But at least it’s starting…

I’m beginning to think about summer foods, lighter fare and this is a quick and delicious recipe I came up with for lunch about a month ago; I think it may have even been snowing at the time (a month ago). The bright, fresh flavours contrasted against the peppery arugula will make a sensational meal on a super hot, humid day (soon, please be soon). Definitely making this lovely dish for the cottage, it’ll be perfect for eating on the dock, wearing shorts and a light T!

CevicheWW_2269

A delightful combination of shrimps and scallops cooked in lime juice

Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche

Makes 1 small serving (to make a meal of it, increase the weight of shrimp and scallop to 100 g in total).

Ingredients:

  • 30 g shrimp*, cubed rather small
  • 20 g scallop*, cubed rather small (similar size to shrimp)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp non-calorie sweetener of your choice
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, cubed
  • 5 cm (2 inches) English cucumber, cubed
  • 1/4 apple (or Jicama)
  • 5 cm (2 inches) English cucumber, cubed
  • 100 g Arugula

Directions:

  1. Combine the lime juice and the non-calorie sweetener of your choice and mix well.
  2. Make sure you cube your seafood into equal sized cubes so that they ‘cook’ at the same rate. Combine the cubed shrimp, scallop, cilantro and green onion with lime dressing and toss well. Set aside in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to one hour.
  3. When the seafood has become opaque, add the celery, cucumber and apple and toss well. Serve over arugula or lettuce of choice
CevicheWW_2270

The apple adds the sweetness that the jicama would have.

*’cooking’ seafood in citrus does not kill off any parasites, so you should be very careful with the choice of seafood — it should be fresh, or boil in water until done and prepare the salad just prior to serving.

Ceviche Nut

Based on 1 small serving

CevicheWW

Based on 1 small serving.

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I always like to serve a salad, particularly when we have a reasonably heavy meal so I came up with this easy Caribbean inspired slaw recipe that hit the spot perfectly when I served it with the Trinidadian Chicken Curry Roti; the coconut cream helped subdue the slight heat from the curry and it was very fresh and delicious. I based the recipe on this slaw that was inspired by Toronto Chef and Food Network Canada celebrity, Susur Lee. Keep the wet and dry ingredients separate until just before serving so that the slaw doesn’t get too sloppy and wet; wet ingredients would be the cucumber and the mango which may be stored together. The beauty of this slaw is the uniformity of each component, so take your time in grating, slicing and chopping.

CaribbeanSlaw_2089

The coconut milk in the dressing helped subdue the heat from the curry.

Caribbean Inspired Slaw

Makes about 8 cups of slaw

Ingredients:

  • 2 (about 2 cups) carrots, grated
  • 1/2 (give or take 3 cups) savoy cabbage, shredded
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 (about 1 cup) English cucumber, grated
  • 1 mango, grated
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp honey

Directions:

  1. Combine the shredded cabbage with the green onion, grated carrots, cilantro and grated coconut, toss well to combine. Refrigerate until serving.
  2. Combine the grated cucumber and mango and toss well to combine. Refrigerate until serving.
  3. For the dressing, combine the coconut cream, tamarind, lime juice and honey and mix well. Refrigerate until serving.
  4. When ready to serve, combine the cabbage mixture with the cucumber mixture and toss well to combine. Add the dressing and toss well to combine. Garnish with additional grated coconut and cilantro. Serve immediately.
CaribbeanSlaw_2083

A wonderful combination of crunch and soft sweet fruits and vegetables.

CaribbeanSlaw_2086

The slaw really packs a lot of flavour.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 3.17.41 PM

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Recently I had a couple of encounters, not the alien kind but the kind of encounters that you don’t expect after 30 plus years! We were meeting a friend up on Bloor at our local pub for dinner one night and this gentleman stops me on the street and calls me by name. He was so happy to see me but I had no idea who he was; it turns out that he was in my grade school way back before dinosaurs and he recognized me! I didn’t recognize him because he was a very skinny and short kid with a crazy ‘fro and he became quite a tall and portly adult with close cropped hair.

Later that same week we ventured to our local Home Show to walk around and day-dream about our next renovation when this woman approaches and asks if I had gone to U of T (University of Toronto) and as soon as I looked at her I recognized her from way back in the mid 80’s! Two totally unexpected encounters in one week. Has this ever happened to you? I’d love to hear about it.

I was trying to find a way to use the wasabi pearls without being too predictable and this salad was the perfect solution! The lightly dressed salad plays up the subtle sweet and sour Asian flavours in the cucumber pickle combined with the luxuriously creamy soft poached egg yolk. The cucumber pickle was so tasty, I would have it on its own too!

I’m still at odds about the use of the other two pearls, so if you have any ideas, I’d love to hear about them.

CucumberPicklePoachedEggSalad_2046

A refreshing Asian flavoured salad

Cucumber Ribbon Pickle and Poached Egg Salad with Wasabi Pearls

Serves 2 as a light meal or 4 as a starter

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 4 handfuls of mixed greens (I used spinach and arugula)
  • 20 grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp green onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp wasabi pearls (click here for recipe)
  • 1 cup English cucumbers, sliced into very thin ribbons (see note)
  • 1 soft boiled egg per serving

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce

Directions for the cucumber pickle:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing and heat either in the microwave or stove top until just about boiling. Pour over the cucumber ribbons in a non-reactive container and allow to sit for 15 to 30 minutes.

Directions for the salad:

  1. Put equal amounts of the mixed greens into each of two or four bowls, top with equal amounts of the cucumber pickle (reserve the dressing) and tomatoes.
  2. Add one poached egg per bowl and garnish with the chopped green onion and cilantro.
  3. Distribute even amounts of the wasabi pearls into each bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of the dressing into each bowl.
  4. Serve immediately.
CucumberPicklePoachedEggSalad_2048

The pale green wasabi pearls are a burst of flavour

CucumberPicklePoachedEggSalad_2051

Breaking into the yolk to make a delicious, creamy dressing

CucumberPicklePoachedEggSalad_2049

No, they are not some weird green fish eggs, they are wasabi pearls!

CucumberPicklePoachedEggSalad_2052

I just needed a bit of colour on a dreary winter’s day

Tips:

  • Use your vegetable peeler to make paper thin cucumber ribbons.
  • Don’t peel the cucumber to give it some substance.

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Today is my dear Mother’s birthday; were she alive, she would have been 78 years young!

Happy Birthday Mom, I miss you.

Happy Birthday Mom (21 in this photo), I miss you.

Several years ago we dined at Diego, a lovely Mexican restaurant in the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas and I had a wonderful Ceviche that I have not been able to forget. It was an unusual combination of coconut milk and lime juice that just hit my taste buds perfectly. I adore ceviche and order it whenever I see it on a good restaurant’s menu and have not had the pleasure of these flavours together in one since. So, I thought I’d take a stab at it and create an opportunity to use one of my pearls in the process! Clever, don’t you think?

I’ve made ceviche before, the non-cheater kind but I wanted to put this together quickly for an hors d’œuvres recently and I didn’t feel like waiting for the acid to ‘cook’ the shrimp so I came up with this ‘cheater’ version. You can make the ceviche the old fashioned way, but this really worked out well!

I would have liked to add cubed avocado to this dish but sadly forgot to put it on my shopping list! I’ll remember next time, this is a very quick and tasty recipe.

It’s also rather coincidental in this cyber world how we all post about similar things so I can’t go without mentioning my dear Australian Blogging friend Lorraine who just last week posted this gorgeous recipe about real ceviche. Great minds think alike…please don’t finish the last part of this saying, it kinda bursts my bubble!

CheaterCevicheSpoons_2007

It’s just as tasty and doesn’t take long to make.

Cheater Shrimp Ceviche

Makes ~200 mL Ceviche (slightly more than 3/4 cup), or 8 single serve Chinese Spoons

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut milk powder
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated finely
  • 1 tbsp rosa’s lime cordial
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 80 g cooked cocktail shrimp, chopped
  • 3-4  slices of English Cucumber (0.5 cm or 1/4″ thick) cubed
  • 1 celery rib, cubed
  • 1/4 cup avocado, cubed
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp green onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika pearls

Directions:

  1. Combine the coconut milk powder, finely grated ginger, lime cordial and lime juice in a measuring cup and blend until smooth with a stick blender.
  2. Combine the chopped shrimp, cubed English cucumber, avocado (if I had some) and celery with the cilantro and green onion, toss with the coconut milk dressing to coat evenly.
  3. Serve immediately garnished with the smoked paprika pearls.
CheaterCeviche_2004

A refreshing combination of flavours.

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You may already know this, but I’m a bit slow, so I thought I’d pass along a very cool feature I just discovered in WordPress. You may have noticed that I have finally responded to some comments and responses from quite some time ago (no, I wasn’t being rude, I just never saw them). I have never been able to figure out what is the best place to see all the comments in WordPress, but I think I have finally got it covered. This won’t work on the iPhone app, but it does work on the desktop browser version. If you go to the top right hand side of your screen, you will see this:

See the little bubble directly between “New Post” and “Eva”?

Click on the bubble and you get this:

Click on “View All” and your commenting universe suddenly all makes sense. Sigh.

If you click on Unread, you will see all the comments you have not read through or responded to. See? I wish I had known this 5 years ago. 😦

No more having to scroll down through reams of comments to find that one you haven’t responded to. I’m sure you all know this by now, but if I can save one person from foolishly missing one lovely comment or response to a comment you’ve made on a blog that you follow, then I will be happy. Happier now that I have this cocktail. Surely it must be 4pm somewhere in the world.

I know what you’re thinking: I thought you preferred the traditional martini and since when do you post cocktails? Well, the answer is yes on both counts, but while visiting the cute Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on the weekend, we stopped by a restaurant for cocktails and I, for the first time, tried Effin Cucumber Vodka (OK, I had a sip of Paul’s Bloody Mary). The cucumber flavour was exceptional, it really came through even with all the seasonings a Bloody Mary has. Very impressive indeed. I wanted to get a bottle, but we had already purchased our maximum limit (Smirnoff Triple Distilled 1.75L for $20, this usually sells for $54.95 in Ontario!). So I decided I would try to recreate the flavours captured in this lovely drink for a refreshing summer-time cocktail. After all, it is Thursday.

The greens really pop, don’t they?

Greg over at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide showed us how to make Cucumber Gin but since I am not much of a Gin drinker(bad experience at Uni, must have been something I ate ;-)). I decided to re invent it with Vodka.

I’ll serve this cocktail in a martini glass, because it’s so damn sexy, you can serve it over ice in a tall glass like Greg did, or in an old fashioned. I’ll be the one in the summer dress, shocking pink stiletto’s sipping from a martini glass on the outdoor sectional. Cheers!

Oh my, I think the shutter stayed open a bit too long. And oops, we finished them off by the time I noticed! Time for another!

Cucumber Lime Martini

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 45 mL (1.5 oz) Vodka
  • 10-12 slices cucumber (I used mini English cucumbers)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2-4 tbsp lime cordial

Directions:

  1. A couple of hours before you wish to consume the cocktail, add the cucumber and lime zest to the vodka and refrigerate (or freeze).
  2. When ready to serve, give the vodka a good stir and add the lime cordial; strain into martini glasses and garnish with a fresh slice of lime or cucumber
  3. Cheers!

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It was Thursday before the long weekend and we all know what that means in my house…cocktails! And we all know I really don’t like serving cocktails without a little grub on the side. But I’ve been at work all day and haven’t really thought about it until now. I rummage through the freezer and find a little baggy with Smoked Salmon Horseradish Mousse that I made recently. This little appi is a re-invention of a the mousse which I blogged about in 2008 (no, the mousse is not THAT old ;-)!). I served it last night in little cucumber cups (you know, the mini cucumbers that are so darn adorable?)

Smoked Salmon Horseradish Mousse

I know what you're thinking, is that a fire back there? Why yes, it was a bit chilly that evening and we thought we'd have a lovely fire to keep us toasty!

an adaptation from Gourmet | November 1992
Serves 6 as a first course (freeze leftovers like I did).

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (I used yogurt cheese)
  • 2 ounces smoked salmon, chopped (about 1/3 cup), plus 6 ounces smoked salmon, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh horseradish, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh dill plus dill sprigs for garnish
  • 2 mini cucumbers, cut into 5 equal sized ‘cups’
  • 2 tsp red roe
  • 2 tsp chives, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. With a small melon baller or a sharp edged spoon, scoop out the middle part of the cucumber until about 2mm from all edges. Turn up-side-down on paper towel and allow to drain.
  2. In a small saucepan sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it soften for 1 minute.
  3. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring, until the gelatin is dissolved, add 1/4 cup of the yogurt cheese, and cook the mixture, whisking, until it is smooth.
  4. In a food processor purée the chopped salmon until it is very smooth add the gelatin mixture, the remaining 1/2 cup sour cream, the horseradish,
  5. Remove from blender and stir in the minced dill, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Spoon small amounts of this mixture into the cucumber cups and top with red roe and chopped chives.
  7. Refrigerate or serve immediately.

Betsy at Bits and Breadcrumbs recently nominated me for the lovely ABC Award, thank you kindly. I am always very flattered and touched by your kindness. As Betsy put it there doesn’t seem to be any specific rules attached to this fun award; just thank the person who gave it to you and share something about yourself using each letter of the alphabet. Wow, this almost made my brain explode. 😉


ABCD: Assertive, Blue-eyed , Cheeky, Deliberate
EFGH: Exacting, Feminine, Gullible, Happy
IJKL: Introspective, Joking, Kind, Loving
MNOP: Mature, Naughty, Observant, Polite
QRST: Quirky, Right, Sassy, Talented
UVW: Unusual, Vivacious, Witty
XYZ: X(any suggestions?), Youthful, Zealous

Thanks again Betsy.

Cheers Everyone!

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