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Archive for the ‘Cucumber’ Category

It snowed in DC last night.  The only reason I know this is because Eric Fisher, the cute meteorologist on the Weather Channel, told me so.  I am relieved that the snow fell I was sleeping and melted before I left the apartment, because flurries would have made going to the farmer’s market this morning god-awful.

Ben’s theme this week is “there is wine in my food!”  The only bottle I have around is a REALLY nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon that is categorically NOT cooking wine.  So I’ve taken liberties and decided to make a recipe using wine vinegar, because that’s like wine, right?  (Just go along with me on this one.)  Moving right along… while I was at the farmers market I saw these fantastic Mediterranean cucumbers and French Breakfast radishes and just had to grab them.

To make this recipe you do not need fancy-pants produce.  I decided to write the recipe based on what I bought, but you could also substitute with an English Cucumber and a bunch of radishes at the grocery store.  The salad will still turn out well, and will probably cost you less then what I paid at my beloved farmers market.

Cucumber and Radish Salad – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 5 small Mediterranean cucumbers
  • 1 bunch French Breakfast radishes (with greens)
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • sesame seeds for garnish

Prep:

  1. Wash the cucumbers and the radishes and then dry.  Don’t skip this step… radishes are a root vegetable and are guaranteed to still have dirt on them.
  2. In a small bowl combine the rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, canola oil, salt and pepper.  Stir well with a fork to mix.  I also added a pinch of mustard powder to help the dressing emulsify, this is optional.

Cook:

  1. Cut the cucumbers in half along the length and then into ¼-½ inch pieces.  Place them in a medium bowl.
  2. Remove the radishes from the stems and greens (set these aside) as well as any stringy parts at the tips.
  3. Cut the radishes into ¼ inch slices.  Add to the cucumbers.
  4. Add the dressing to the cukes and radishes and mix well.
  5. Cut the greens off of the stems and lay out on the bottom of your serving dish.
  6. Pour the salad on top of the radish greens.
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you have them (don’t buy them just for this, seriously), serve and enjoy!
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For New Year’s Eve, sometimes a special dinner is in order.  Whether it’s a romantic dinner or a rousing dinner party, you want to be able to cook to impress on such a special evening.  This tuna dish is super easy to make and the salad to serve with it is light and flavorful.  If you want more on your plate you can also serve it with Jasmine (or just white) rice.

My quantities for this dish are for serving 6 people.  If you have fewer you can divide and conquer accordingly.  I recommend cooking the slaw first.  The flavors from the dressing can soak into the veggies while you are preparing the tuna.  One last thing: I’m rating this only 1 Knife, since each dish on its own is only 1 Knife and to rate it 2 Knives as there are two dishes would be cheating.

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steaks with Asian Slaw – 1 Knife

Tuna Steaks Ingredients:

  • six 4-6oz. tuna steaks (both Ahi or Yellowfin work fine)
  • 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 3 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Slaw Ingredients:

  • 1 head of green cabbage (or half a bag, if you’d prefer pre-shredded)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 green onions (also called scallions)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 lime
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger

Slaw Prep:

  1. Cut the cabbage in half.  Thinly slice the cabbage into small pieces similar to coleslaw.
  2. Peel the cucumber and cut it in half.  Julienne the cucumber into thin slices.  I tried to figure out how to explain this process, but I think this super short video explains it better than any rambling instructions I could give.
  3. Peel the carrots and shred them.  If you don’t own a grater buying the pre-shredded matchstick carrots is ok.
  4. Rinse off the green onions and cut off the roots.  You want to cut the scallions the same as you did the cucumbers.  Make sure to only use a few inches of the greens or what I like to call the “light greens.”  The darker tougher greens toward the top can be thrown away.
  5. Grate one tablespoon of fresh ginger into a small bowl and set aside.

Cucumber Slaw Cooking:

  1. In a bowl combine all of the vegetables.
  2. In the smaller bowl combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice and garlic and whisk until combined.  If you don’t own a whisk you can stir using a fork, this will have a similar effect to a whisk and is easier to clean.
  3. Add the dressing to the vegetables and stir until the vegetables are coated.

Tuna Prep:

  1. On a plate combine both kinds of sesame seeds, salt and pepper.  For this recipe I used ground pink Himalayan salt since I had it around.  Regular coarse salt or even regular table salt will work if that’s what you have in your pantry.  Also I couldn’t get my hands on black sesame seeds and only used white, which is also fine if you only have one kind.  Just be sure to use the full quantity of sesame seeds.
  2. Wash the tuna steaks under cold water.  Pat the steaks dry with paper towel to remove excess liquid.

Tuna Cooking:

  1. Roll all of the short edges of the tuna in the sesame mixture.  To do this, simply place the side on top of the mixture and press down.  You can use your fingers to press on the seeds.
  2. Put the oil in your sauté pan and place on the burner and heat on high until the oil begins to bubble.  An important note: To serve six it’s best to cook the steaks in two or three batches so you don’t crowd the pan.  Also since the Tuna cooks up quickly you want to make sure you can attend the steaks in a timely fashion.
  3. Carefully place fish in the pan on the large flat side and sear for about 1 minute.
  4. Flip the fish carefully and cook for another minute.  If you or your guests prefer rarer fish you can reduce the cooking time.  If you prefer a more well-done fish cook for 2 minutes on each side.
  5. When finished remove the steaks from the pan and plate with the slaw.

A note on the sesame crust: For two steaks you would need 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper.

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