Posts Tagged ‘cucumber’

Unrecipe of the Week: Summer Salad Rolls

May 19, 2014

These vegetable rolls are riff on the traditional Vietnamese Summer roll. A study in simplicity, these rice paper rolls are filled with fresh julienned vegetables. The secret lies in the sauce: we dipped ours in a carrot, sesame oil and soy based dressing that brought the flavors to life. The best part? We’re torn between how healthy and low calorie they are, and the fact that nothing needed to be cooked.  Twice the reason to try this unrecipe!

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For the rolls:

Julienne a variety of vegetables, including cucumbers, carrots, diakon, red bell pepper, radishes and beets. Mix it up to suit your tastes. I used a mandolin, but depending on how many you are making, you can just cut them by hand. Be sure to peel the carrots, diakon and beets first!

To assemble:

Dip a large rice paper wrapper* in warm water to soften. There is no need to soak them, just get them hydrated enough to be pliable.

Place the rice paper on a work surface. Lay a small piece of lettuce and a fresh mint leaf or two at the bottom of disc. Layer on the julienned vegetables. Begin rolling the rice paper, tucking it tightly, but gently as you go. Roll it twice, fold the sides in, and continue rolling to the top. It should look like a fat, transparent egg roll.

Lay the finished roll on plastic wrap. The rolls will stick together, so be sure to keep them from touching. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.

For the sauce:

Peel about 3-4 medium carrots, and cut them into chunks. Place them in the food processor, along with a small shallot, peeled and quartered, a good sized chunk of peeled fresh ginger, about 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar, a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, about a 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Puree until everything is finely diced and combined. With the machine running, add about 1/4 cup or so of vegetable oil ( We used grape seed oil, which has a neutral flavor. Do not use olive oil, as the flavor is too strong!) Add about 1/4 cup of water, and continue mixing until it forms a a chunky dressing. Check flavors, and add more vinegar, or soy sauce as needed. If the dressing is too thick, add a little bit more water. Refrigerate until ready to use.

We served the rolls cut in half lengthwise, on a pool of drizzled dressing, and then put the rest on a platter with a bowl of sauce on the side. Sounds like the perfect dish to toss in my lunch bag tomorrow!

*rice paper wrappers are sold packaged in the international foods section of grocery stores, or at Asian markets.

Unrecipe of the Week: Tabbouleh

July 5, 2013

taboulŽ

As the weather gets warmer, I find my appetite changes. I long for lighter, cooler foods, utilizing the fresh tastes of the season.This simple side dish fills the bill, yet it is hearty enough to build a meal around.

Tabbouleh, a Lebanese salad made of grains, herbs and tomatoes is a great make ahead dish, as it is best to allow the flavors to mingle a bit before serving. While it is traditionally made from bulgur or cracked wheat, quinoa, cous cous or even brown rice could be used in its place. It’s a perfect “unrecipe”that can be tailored to taste and dietary preferences.

Tabbouleh

Prepare 1 cup of the grains as directed, being careful not to overcook them. Bulgur can be cooked on the stovetop for about 20 minutes, or soaked in very hot water until softened. Set aside to cool.

In the meantime, chop a bunch of parsley and ½ a bunch of fresh mint leaves. Add a diced tomato or 2, and a large diced cucumber. A bit of finely chopped onion or scallions can also be added. Stir in the cooked grains. Toss with lemon juice, and olive oil. Season liberally with sea salt and pepper. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to merge. Taste and add lemon juice or more salt and pepper if necessary. Enjoy!

Note: Traditional tabbouleh is very heavy on the herbs, and uses the bulgur modify the balance to herbs and grains to suit your taste.

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photo: Glasshouse Images

Natural Detoxifiers

January 3, 2013

It’s the beginning of a new year, and the end of the period of over-indulgence that spans from late November until early January. Before you do something dramatic, like start a juice cleanse, consider adding some of these naturally detoxifying foods to your diet.

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Broccoli helps the body eliminate toxins while providing a healthy dose of vitamins.

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Cucumbers are high in water content, and flush out the system.

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Cauliflower has anti-inflammatory properties, and is also an anti-oxidant.

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Grapefruit is high in fiber, and helps to prevent the formation of kidney stones, and lower cholesterol. It is also a digestive aid.

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Lentils are also high in fiber, which aids in elimination, as well as lowering blood sugar.

Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E and selenium, which helps the liver filter toxins. They are also known to prevent arterial buildup.

Adding these foods to your diet will kick start a healthy eating plan for 2013!

photos: Glasshouse Images

What’s for Dinner

July 14, 2012

Today’s haul from the greenmarket in Union Square:

 

What should we have for dinner?

photo: indigojones

 

Unrecipe of the Week: Spa Water

June 25, 2012

With the heat index souring, it is important to stay hydrated. This spa water not only hits the spot, it also has natural properties to beat the bloat.

Peppermint and ginger are both known to soothe the stomach and G.I. tract, while the lime adds a tangy shot of vitamin C. Cucumber helps flush excess water from our systems.  While it seems counter-intuitive to drink water to rid your body of excess water, it actually works!

Stay cool, stay hydrated and enjoy!!!

Spa Water:

one handful of fresh mint leaves

1 lime, scrubbed and sliced

1 small chunk of peeled ginger

1/2 of a cucumber, scrubbed and sliced

Toss the ingredients into a pitcher, fill with water and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Strain before drinking.

photo: Spencer Jones / Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

July 13, 2011

This week, I have been making lettuce-less salads for lunch. So far, this is my favorite:

 Cucumber Salad with Mint and Tomatoes

Chop ½ a cucumber, 2 small stalks of celery and a small tomato.

Add a handful of chopped parsely and fresh mint leaves.

Mix in ½ cup beans and 1/8 cup feta cheese crumbles.

Drizzle with olive oil and the juice of one lime.

Season with  sea salt and pepper.

Toss and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

In partnership with Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

August 14, 2010

It’s the perfect time of year to make Gazpacho, the Spanish spicy tomato based soup that is served cold. The green market is filled with great things, so feel free to improvise!  The secret to this “unrecipe” is to puree the vegetables separately, so the texture stays chunky.

Gazpacho

Chop 2 red peppers, cored and seeded, 4 tomatoes, 1 red onion and 1 large seedless cucumber. Puree each one in a blender or food processor, and put into a large bowl.

Add 3-4 cloves of garlic minced finely.

Add ¼ cup of olive oil, and ¼ cup of white wine vinegar. Mix together and add tomato juice until it reaches the consistency of a thick, chunky soup (about ¾ of a bottle).

Season with coarse salt and pepper to taste.

Chill for several hours or overnight to allow the flavors to combine.

Enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images


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