Sunday, July 29, 2012

Salads for a Hot Summer's Day

Do you have cucumbers coming in your garden and need something new to do with them.  Try this Thai cucumber recipe.

Asian Cucumber Salad

2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced 
4 Tbsp. kosher or sea salt
1/2 c. rice vinegar
1/4 c. water
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (cut to a pinch if you don’t want it hot)
1/4 cup peanuts, finely chopped
Scallions for garnish

Peel and thinly slice your cucumber.  If your cucumber has large seeds, deseed the cucumber.  This is a great way to use those picked late cucumbers.  Place the cucumber slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. The salt will draw out water from the cucumbers, so let them drain for about 30 minutes. Rinse slices and drain again. 

For your dressing combine vinegar, water, sugar, and red pepper in a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Cool.

Combine drained cucumber slices with vinegar mixture. Chill before serving. Garnish with chopped peanuts and scallions.

Variation -  Try using cashew and/or sesame seeds instead of peanuts.  You may also add shredded carrots and/or red onion for color.  To take it over the top add cold chicken, roast beef or pork.

Cashew Bacon Salad

Now how can cashews and bacon not hit the spot in any salad.  Here is another great salad for these hot days of summer.  You can also add your cucumbers to this salad if you like.  

Curried Nuts 

3/4 cup cashew halves
4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

1 (10 ounce) package mixed salad greens
1/2 medium Bosc pear or Granny Smith green apple, thinly sliced
1/2 cup halved seedless red grapes

Roast cashews slightly in a dry pan.  Only a few minutes.  Watch them so they do not burn. Remove cashews to a dish to cool.

Fry up your bacon strips and coarsely chop it.  Set aside.

Stir together butter, rosemary, curry powder, brown sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, and toasted cashews. Set aside.

To make the dressing, stir together the white wine vinegar, mustard, and honey. Slowly whisk in olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large salad bowl, toss dressing with greens, pear slices, grapes, and bacon, and sprinkle with nut mixture.

Variation – The curried cashews don’t appeal to you, then just toss them in plain and save yourself some work.  It's a salad, so make it your own.  Add or delete anything you like.

Have a great Sunday and pray for rain.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

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