Archives for posts with tag: summer food

I hope anyone on the Eastern seaboard stayed safe throughout Hurricane Irene.  My parents live in Rhode Island and haven’t had electricity since early Sunday.  My mom says she’s so bored.  I can imagine, but I’m glad the storm wasn’t as severe as anticipated.  Slowly, lights will turn back on and the scramble to cook something by candlelight will be a fond tale people tell their kids time and time again.  If the word hurricane is even mentioned my dad will go on about how my sister was born during Hurricane Gloria and about the little stream in the back of my house that was used for water.  He likes to tell us how they managed without electricity for over a week with a newborn baby.

We are so accustomed to a life where electricity runs all the time and food and water are plentiful.  In Toronto, where I live I looked out the window yesterday and the sun was peeking through the clouds.  Imagine, while life is normal where you are, people in other areas may not have the same luxury.  That’s what I thought as I looked outside and that a few hundred miles away the scene was completely different.

I hope the fallen trees get picked up soon and people are able to get back to their normal routine.  I know it won’t take very long.  But until then you can whip this salad as you read my blog on your mobile device or while using the free wireless at Starbucks. It’s a simple salad with clean flavors.  It requires no excessive work and is full of freshness.  I’ve been making this salad way too often, it’s the kind of thing where once you start you can’t stop.  I pair it with chicken, fish, or even on its own.  I love this recipe because it literally takes 5 minutes to make and it’s so healthy.  Give it a try before summer is over.

Cucumber Salad with Black Sesame Seeds

Serves 2, as a side can easily be doubled or tripled, etc.

Ingredients

1/2 a large English cucumber cut into thick match sticks (de-seeded if you like, I don’t mind the seeds)

3 scallions, sliced on an angle

1 tablespoon mint,  cut in a chiffonade

1 tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds

for the dressing:

1/2 a jalapeño pepper, chopped finely and seeds, removed if desired

1 small shallot, chopped finely

juice and zest of lime juicy lime

1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek, more or less depending on how spicy you like it

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon neutral-flavored vegetable oil

raw sugar, to taste

pinch sea salt

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes, or to taste

Method

Make the dressing first by adding the shallots and jalapeño to a bowl and letting them soften in the  lime juice and zest, soy sauce, rice vinegar for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, add in the Sambal Oelek, sesame oil, vegetable oil, salt, sugar, red chili flakes and whisk well until combined.  You can make the dressing ahead of time and toss it with the cucumbers and herbs at the last-minute.

Next, toss the dressing with the cucumbers, scallions, and mint.  Also add in the toasted black sesame seeds.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.  This is not a “make ahead” salad and should be served fresh.  But as I said before the dressing can be made in advance.

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Yes, I’m back after my very long hiatus.  I thought I could keep up with my blog after the big move to Toronto, my husband’s medical school graduation, a vacation to Dubai, and another mini-vacation to my parents’ house in Rhode Island.  I missed my blog, but it’s sort of like when you stop something in your routine  and then after a few weeks you don’t feel guilty about keeping up with it.  This happened with me.  As much as I love blogging, I just got out of my routine.  It’s good to take a breather and come back refreshed and full of new ideas.

For the past few nights, I’ve been thinking what I would write for my next post.  I felt the urge in the middle of the night to open up my laptop and just start typing and  telling you all about all the major events that have happened recently.  The big move, which still isn’t complete as far as setting up our place.  Slowly but surely.  And our wonderful vacation to see my sister in Dubai-we returned sulking because we had gotten so used to the pampered lifestyle and delicious cuisine from all over the world.  Now, I’m back at my childhood home, having fun, spending time with my husband and parents, enjoying the New England summer.  I hope to share more snippets and glimpses with you about all these things in upcoming posts.


I made my way to the Providence Farmers’ Market to get some inspiration.  I came back with gorgeous chives and their even lovelier blossoms, radishes, cucumbers, and potatoes.  Then I picked up the best yogurt ever, which is made by Narragansett Creamery.  I wanted to make something fresh, it’s been hot here and wanted to make something light, cooling, and refreshing.  I found some luscious mint in our herb garden and decided to make a potato salad with a few Pakistani twists.  I added a tarka of curry leaves, cumin seeds, and crushed red chili flakes. It sounds odd to add sizzling oil over a creamy potato salad, but trust me it works.

I had a great time creating this dish.  My mom helped me with the photos, something that a certain somebody (ahem, ahem…my husband) never does.  She also has the most amazing collection of plates, silverware, napkins, and other lovely pieces.  My parents’ house is also in the country.  Fresh wild flowers are abundant here along with shimmering sunshine.  I enjoyed this post, maybe it was because of my hiatus or new surroundings and new goodies to pick through.  Either way, I hope to make something else before we leave to go back to Canada,  where I also have a new condo kitchen waiting for me.

Until then, I’m enjoying myself here and hope too many of you haven’t forgotten about me.  I miss my friends in the food community and look forward to exploring your new posts as well.  🙂

Potato Salad with Radishes, Cucumbers, and a Tarka (Tempered Oil/Sizzling Oil with Spices)

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 medium-sized red potatoes, washed and scrubbed

1 bunch icicle radishes, or any radish of your choice

1 medium-sized English cucumber, sliced into discs

1/2 a small red onion, minced finely

1/4 cup chopped chives along with some chive blossoms, if available, plus extra for garnish

2 tablespoons chopped mint, plus extra for garnish

1/2 full-fat yogurt

1/2 cup crème fraîche, if in New England try Vermont Butter and Cheese crème fraîche

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

for the tarka:

1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil of your choice

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, or to taste (this amount will be spicy)

10-15 curry leaves, available at Pakistani or Indian grocery stores

Method

Boil the potatoes in salted water in a medium saucepan until tender.  Allow to cool and then peel and slice into half moons.

Next, in a bowl combine the yogurt, crème fraîche, lemon juice, salt pepper, chives, mint, salt, and pepper.  Once it forms a dressing add in the potatoes, radishes, cucumber, and red onion.  Set aside and allow the flavors to come together in the refrigerator for an hour.

Before serving, prepare the tarka by heating up the oil in a small frying pan on medium heat.  Once it has come to temperature add the cumin seeds and red chili flakes.  They may splatter a bit, so be careful.  Once they start to infuse the oil,  after about 2 minutes, add in the curry leaves and let them fry for a minute.  Once the tarka is done, pour over the potato salad.  Garnish with chopped chives, mint, and chive blossoms.  If you are serving in individual plates, place the potato salad in the individual plate and spoon a little of the tarka over each plate.

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