Cucumber Archive

Friday, June 22, 2012

cold rice noodles with peanut-lime chicken

last night's dinner

If you told me a week ago that I would willingly adding cold chicken to cold noodles and call it a meal, a meal I’d eat enthusiastically, I’d think you had lost your mind. The various intersections of cold chicken and cold pasta are littered with foods I’d rather forget, such as those macaroni salads with shredded, overcooked chicken, suspiciously squicked together with mayo in a clear plastic take-out container of dubious expiration at the nearest corner deli. Hey, who’s hungry? Probably not you anymore!

lots and lots of limes
lime garlic sauce, sauce 1

But in David Tanis able kitchen (and I hope you’re following his City Kitchen column each week as eagerly as I do) chicken is marinated with a potent mix of ginger, garlic, lime juice and fish sauce before being flash-grilled or broiled and then cooled and roughly chopped. It is then added to rice noodles as long and twisty as skeins of yarn, topped with lots of crunchy vegetables, a medley of two sauces (one loud with chiles, lime and fish sauce and the other nutty and perfect with ginger, peanut butter and toasted sesame), salted roasted peanuts, slivers of cooling herbs (mint, basil and cilantro) into something that’s about as close to a dream of a summery one-bowl meal as we can get, and just in time for our first inferno of a New York City heatwave this year.

peanut sauce, sauce 2

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

tzatziki potato salad

tzatziki potato salad

I don’t eat potato salad for lunch. That would be… unhealthy, irresponsible, gluttonous, and nutritionally unbalanced. However, I have found that when potato salad exists in the fridge, it has a way of becoming lunch, usually through a nibble that becomes a forkful which eventually leads to succumbing to the fact that potato salad, on occasion, make a fine carb-bomb of a warm weather lunch.

two pounds, ready to boil
quartered tiny potatoes

Fortunately, there are entries in the potato salad archives for times just like these. Three years ago, I made a pesto potato salad with green beans and, so you know, adding green beans to potatoes totally makes it a balanced lunch. Last year, I made a spring salad with new potatoes — see how tricky I was there? It’s mostly salad, with early vegetables like asparagus, radishes, and sugar snaps but it’s also got a few potatoes in there and a sharp Dijon vinaigrette. And today, I made a tzatziki potato salad heaped with a pound of shredded, cold cucumber, lemon and garlic yogurt, and oh, there are some potatoes in there too. It’s as lunchy as potatoes can be and considering that I was able to make it in the all-too-slim margin between preschool drop-off, grocery shopping, and the post-preschool I’m-huuuungry-mama meltdown, I think it will be my go-to potato salad this summer, should the rains ever stop long enough for us to put some lamb skewers on the grill.

feeding the cuke into the chute

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Friday, June 18, 2010

bread and butter pickles

bread and butter pickles

So here’s one way to be just a little more welcome at that backyard barbecue slash rooftop grill-out slash pot luck picnic you were heading to this weekend. Maybe you were going to bring your usual — that pie, some buns, a slaw, an addictive potato salad, right? Maybe even some lemonade? And oh, what friends you’ll make if you do. Everyone loves a good slaw, most especially this girl.

kirbys
kirby slices

But how about something a little crunchy, a little sweet to accompany that burger recipe your dad has been perfecting since the horse and buggy days. It’s the kind of thing you might only know about from a jar, which means that you probably pass them over at picnics without a second thought. It’s the kind of thing you might not have thought to make at home, I know I didn’t, especially because we’re more of the garlickly-Kosher dill category of pickle eaters, ourselves.

salting

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Monday, September 14, 2009

grilled lamb kebabs + tzatziki

lamb kebabs

What do you do to prepare for a baby? We’ve talked about it endlessly this summer, and I have no doubt you’re out there thinking, “my goodness, has she still not had that baby yet?” Tell me about it. But really, how do you get ready? Do you try to figure out learn how to cook respectable meals in a minimum of time? Do you cook and freeze weeks worth of lasagna and enchiladas to ensure you don’t go hungry when the baby demands all of your attention? Do you use your remaining unscheduled time in the kitchen to bribe labor and delivery nurses?

rosemarymarinatinggrilling kebabslamb kebabs, grilling

Among the many slightly absurd ways we’ve been getting ourselves ready, we decided that we needed to clear out our DVR queue last week, to make room for all of the shows we’ll likely be missing the first runs of. And what needed clearing out? Episodes and episodes of Barefoot Contessa, it turned out, and it was some dangerous stuff. All of a sudden I was bookmarking recipes in threes, despite knowing that it might take me months or longer to get to them. And I was totally willing to wait until I hit the episode where she goes Greek.

cucumbersshredded cukethe best tzatziki i've ever madegrilled pita wedges, tzaziki

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

summer’s last hurrah panzanella

summer's last hurrah panzanella

In the last few days, New York City has gotten the most delicious nip to its breezes; drier air and clear skies have set in and despite that fact that I maintain that I don’t wish summer to end, it’s not holding up when I hit the Greenmarket and go a little berserk over apples and squash and things that have nothing to do with stone fruit. I’m a sucker for New York in the fall. It always wins.

leftover colwin bread cubes

Nevertheless, before I go whole-squash into the colder months, I had to have one last hurrah with summer before I admit that I’m finally no longer incessantly craving it, and there’s no better way to take in late-summer produce than with a panzanella. I’ve made this one before, but it was years ago, which means in Internet-speak, it’s probably dead to all of you and due for a revival.

panzanella pretty

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