• Cucumber Salad With Smashed Garlic And Ginger

    Cucumber Salad With Smashed Garlic And Ginger.

    Cucumber Salad With Smashed Garlic And Ginger.

    Yotam, meet Nancy. Nancy, this is Yotam. You are separated by thousands of miles, but we think you will get along just fine…we certainly hope so.

    One of the fun things about cooking and blogging is the volume of recipes we read and cook (we have a obsession thing with cookbooks). And sometimes when we are cooking one recipe, another recipe jumps into our heads as a potential compliment (then again, sometimes we have to look around for a while). In this case we adapted a recipe for Sashimi With Hot Rice and Broth from Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s book “Japanese Farm Food“, and this recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty” immediately came to mind as our salad. We hoped for a good fit.

    cukecuke1The fish was a simple, warm, umami-bomb of a dish (but oh so good). We wanted a salad that complimented the savory umami flavors but was also cool and crisp. Few things are as cool as a cucumber (ugh), so we pulled out this recipe that added a serious dose of ginger, onions and garlic to the cukes with a big splash of a rice wine vinegar and sesame oil-based dressing. A very good recipe and one that we would have just as likely seen in Singleton’s cookbook as Ottolenghi’s. Either way, they seemed like a natural match.

    cuke6cuke7cuke4And they were quite complimentary. The ginger, onion and garlic are marinated in the dressing for a bit, so you still get their flavor with the cukes, but the harder, hotter edges are taken away. Sesame seeds and cilantro add some depth (we think peanuts would also be good) so the first bite was as good as the last. And the final benefit was timing, this salad was easy to make and took about the same time to prepare as the sashimi in broth. An excellent salad and a good foil to any flavorful or savory main dish.

    cuke8cuke9cuke10The only downside of this salad is that, even if the rough edges are smoothed, you are still using crushed raw garlic. It sticks with you for a while. I went to a town council meeting later that night and bet that sitting next to me wasn’t a real treat (or was worse than normal). And when I spoke I could almost see the council member’s eyes water. I would like to think it was my moving oratory at work, but I suspect it was something else… 😉

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  • Sashimi With Hot Rice And Broth

    Sashimi on Hot Rice With Broth.

    dashi1

    dashi2

    Sashimi on Hot Rice With Broth.

    It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and after being away from our garden and kitchen for almost 10 days, we can say that we are very happy to be back. What happened? We were trapped in Canada…seriously. Flooding in the Canadian Rockies trapped us in Banff for a few days. We were on a very lovely tour with family (thanks again!) and one very big night of rain washed out the roads in all directions. Happily Banff is something of a gilded cage, but we still couldn’t cook. And we start to get a bit twitchy when we can’t cook.

    dashi4dashi5It turns out that usually when we travel, we still cook- we have access to kitchens when we are in Long Island, Hawaii or even the Low Country (you could argue that access to good ingredients heavily influences our travel destinations). But on this trip we were out of luck, 10 days is the longest we have gone without cooking or baking in years (decades?). But when we can’t cook we read about cooking, so I pulled out “Cooked” by Michael Pollan and dove in.

    dashi6Overall it is a good book, but since we grow our own food and cook it ourselves for family, many of Pollan’s insights weren’t surprising. But like most people, we love to listen to folks who agree with us, so it was a pleasant read 😉 . In “Cooked”, Pollan gets into barbecue, braising, baking and brewing/fermenting. We are active participants in the first three, and like drinking other people’s beer (mixing is our thing, but a good beer is always welcome here at the farm). But of all the cooking in the book, one thing stood out, Pollan was making his own dashi, and we weren’t. Shameful, and something we decided to fix immediately upon our return.

    dashi8dashi9 Continue reading