Posts tagged ‘Cucumber’

Garlic Grape Gazpacho


I didn’t mean for this to be a blog recipe; I really didn’t. I had every intention to just follow the recipe in my new issue of Vegetarian Times for a quick, easy (and oven-less!) dinner. Despite my intentions, though, I revised the recipe pretty heavily as I went along – substituting more grapes when my cucumber proved too small, and adding blended arugula to the soup itself. I also amped up the garlic, switched out the almond milk for coconut milk, and well… generally created a new recipe in the process.

I’m sure that the original recipe was excellent, too, but since we enjoyed this revision so much, I thought I ought to share it with you. It was super-simple to whip up and it made a perfect, refreshing (but filling) summer meal. And did I mention that I didn’t have to turn on the oven, or even a burner?

Garlic Grape Gazpacho
Serves 4 – 6

2 cups sliced almonds, divided
1 large cucumber, sliced (about 2 cups)
2 cups green seedless grapes (plus ½ cup for garnish)
½ cup onion, chopped
1 cup baby arugula (plus 2 cups for garnish)
2 – 3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup coconut milk
1 Tablespoon sherry
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil (plus 1 Tablespoon for garnish)

  1. Place almonds in toaster oven and toast 10 minutes at 350F, or until lightly browned. Don’t let them get too dark, because they will continue to cook  a bit, even after you take them off the heat. Set aside to cool. If you don’t have a toaster oven, you can toast nuts in a dry frying pan over medium-low heat until lightly browned.
  2. In a blender or food processor (or using a hand blender), combine 1 cup of almonds, with the cucumber, grapes, onion, garlic, arugula, coconut milk, sherry, vinegar, and oil. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve immediately, or chill 2-3 hours to let the soup get cold.
  4. Garnish each bowl with a small handful of arugula, 4 halved grapes, 2 Tablespoons of toasted almonds, ½ teaspoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with thick slices of crusty bread, if desired.

August 22, 2009 at 10:34 am Leave a comment

Fresh Summer Salsa


Yum! As I’ve said before, making fresh salsa is one of my favorite things about summer. Ripe tomatoes, cilantro, some spice, and the coolness of cucumber all come together in a fresh, flavorful condiment that can be used in so many things that it’s almost mind boggling. For some ideas, go here.

Salsa is a fun thing to make, I think, because it is so delicious, so versatile, and rather impressive-sounding (“yes, I make my own salsa…”) but it is extremely easy as long as you have the right vegetables on hand, and a food processor. A food processor is a must here to get the veggies chopped finely enough and consistently enough without your salsa-making adventure lasting until next September. A good food processor can usually be obtained for $30 – 40 (in the United States) and it’s a good investment for salsas, falafel, latkes, and many other dishes.

This salsa is a variation on the recipe that I posted last summer. I didn’t have as many tomatoes around the house this time, so I substituted other vegetables in their stead. I also blended the salsa a little bit less, creating a texture more like pico de gallo than bottled salsa. This particular incarnation was also somewhat reminiscent of a Latin-inspired bruschetta, and went very well on thin slices of garlic-infused baguette. I suspect that an unflavored baguette would treat it just as nicely.

Another Summer Salsa
Makes about 4 cups

1 cup red onion, cut into quarters (1 large onion)
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed (about 1½ cups)
1 bell pepper, veins and seeds removed and cut into quarters
2-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 scotch bonnet chile (or other chile), chopped with veins and seeds removed
1½ cups cucumber, cut into large chunks (about ½ a cucumber)
3 cups cherry tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt, preferably kosher or coarse salt
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons lime juice

  1. Place onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapenos into food processor and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped (about 10 seconds).
  2. Add cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, salt, cumin and lime juice and pulse until finely chopped and well combined (about 10 more seconds).  It’s important to do this in two steps so that the harder veggies (onions, peppers) can be finely chopped without turning the softer veggies (tomatoes, cucumber) into mush.
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with tortilla chips, on baguette slices, in tacos or burritos, on salads, in eggs or tofu scrambles and in any other dish you can imagine. It will keep in the fridge for about a week (theoretically; that is, if you don’t eat it all up first).

July 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

Greek Salad for Company

Greek Salad for CompanyI have always have a problem with greek salad recipes, because they always make such a large amount and are hard to modify since the quantities are generally “1 cucumber” rather than “1 cup cucumber.” So, this recipe makes a very large amount but I’ve tried to make it easier to modify by including metric measurements. If you want a smaller recipe, check out this post. This is fantastic for taking to work for lunch during the week with a pita.

Greek Salad
Makes 4 large or 8 small servings

2 bell peppers (2 cups), assorted colours, chopped
1 red onion (¾ cup), chopped
1 cucumber (2 cups), chopped
4 Roma tomatoes (3 cups), chopped
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
6 oz. (1½ cups) goat feta, cubed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1½ tsp. dried basil (or 1 Tbsp. fresh)
1½ tsp. dried oregano (or 1 Tbsp. fresh)
1 Tbsp. fresh dill (or 1 tsp. dried)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Chop the vegetables and feta. Toss together.
  2. Toss in oil, vinegar and herbs.

June 26, 2008 at 9:42 am Leave a comment

Asparagus Crepes with Cucumber Salad

We’re still doing asparagus-themed anniversary dinners (anniversary-themed asparagus dinners?). This time I underestimated the effort that would be involved, but it was so, so worth it. The crepes were thick and tasty, the cheese was melty, the asparagus was crunchy and flavourful. Mmmm… Why weren’t there leftovers? You’ll see why.

Oh, and the cucumber salad was good, too. It was tangy and crunchy and the flavours mixed really well. It would make a good picnic salad, and it did a good job of balancing the richness of the crepes.

Asparagus Crepes
(serves 6)

3 eggs
1½ cups milk or soymilk
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. oil

1 tsp. oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. asparagus
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 cups grated Emmenthal or other Swiss cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cup prepared marinara sauce

  1. To prepare crepe batter, whisk together eggs and milk. Add other ingredients and whisk thoroughly. Cover and chill batter in the fridge for 1½ hours.
  2. Meanwhile, grate cheeses and mix them together.
  3. Just before the batter is done chilling, saute garlic in oil until soft. Add asparagus and cook until bright green. Add water and cook until evaporated, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and toss with lemon juice and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the marinara sauce in a small saucepan.
  5. To make the crepes, heat a large pan over medium heat. Whisk the batter again until well mixed. Add approximately 1/3 cup of batter to the pan and spread it by tilting the pan until a thin layer of batter covers the whole pan. If the crepes are thin enough, they should be able to cook almost all the way through before you flip them. Wait for the batter to set, and then flip the crepe, using the spatula to loosen the edges first.
  6. While the second side is cooking, sprinkle a scant 1/2 cup of cheese on the crepe and continue cooking until the cheese is melted.
  7. Remove the crepe from the pan, and lay 1/12 of the asparagus in a line across the crepe. Roll the crepe up around the asparagus and set aside.
  8. Repeat steps 5 – 7 with the remaining 11 crepes.
  9. When all of the crepes have been cooked and rolled, top them with hot marinara sauce and the remaining cheese.

Cucumber Salad

Serves 6 as a small side

1 cucumber, sliced (about 4 cups)
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. dill
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
¼ tsp. sugar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Mix all ingredients together, making sure that the cucumbers are all coated in the spices.
  2. Chill for about 30 minutes before serving.

June 16, 2008 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

Roasted Garlic Asparagus and Greek Salad

Sometimes it’s the simplest, most often made made things that are the most delightful. Enter one of each: roasted asparagus in the simple category and greek salad as the most often made. Asparagus is back at the Farmer’s Market here and I’m swooning. I often just steam it and toss it in lemon juice, but tonight I wanted something different – something garlicky. Served with greek salad and whole wheat spaghetti in premade vodka sauce, it was perfection!

Roasted Garlic Asparagus
1 lb. fresh asparagus
4 cloves garlic, minced (try using even more, if you’re into it)
1 Tbsp. olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 F
2. Wash asparagus and snap off tough bottoms.
3. Toss in olive oil and garlic to coat.
4. Bake 20 minutes, turning once.

Greek Salad

2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup goat feta, crumbled
(or substitute 1/2 cup firm tofu marinated in red wine vinegar)
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn (or 1 tsp. dried basil)
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped (or 1/2 tsp. dried dill)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1. Dice vegetables and crumble feta.
2. Toss together with oil, vinegar and herbs.

June 6, 2008 at 9:20 am 1 comment



*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.