Cool as a cucumber. In the summer months, this phrase takes on a literal meaning. Cucumbers are primarily composed of water, making them the perfect summer thirst-quencher. Look for cukes that are dark green, firm, slender and un-waxed so you can eat the fiber-rich skin. Persian cucumbers, smaller and rarely bitter, are especially popular these days.
When you have a stash of cucumbers on a hot summer day, the first step is cutting four round slices. Next, find a relaxing place to sit, preferably by a pool. Place two slices in a glass of ice water for sipping. Place two slices over your eyes. Ahhhhh. Pure relaxation. When your stomach starts to growl it’s time to slice more cucumbers, this time for dinner.
Doused in a simple sesame dressing, cucumbers can be served alone or combined with any number of vegetables. Contrast the light, cool flavors of this Asian Cucumber Salad with the savory flavors of seared meat. Try marinating flank steak or skirt steak in a few tablespoons of tamari and several minced garlic cloves. Grill, slice and serve next to (or on top of) the salad.
4 small Persian cucumbers or 2 larger cucumbers
1 red pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar (with no sugar added)
2 teaspoons wheat-free tamari (similar to soy sauce)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, diced or grated*
1-2 tablespoons black sesame seeds (found in the Asian section of most supermarkets)
Cut the cucumber into thin round slices. Dice the red pepper or cut into thin strips. Grate the carrots.
In a small bowl, whisk together sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, tamari and ginger (*if you own a zester, it’s the perfect kitchen tool for grating ginger.) Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables.
Garnish with black sesame seeds. Serve chilled.