Friday, April 13, 2012

Cool as a cucumber

We all love summer.  BBQs, pool parties, late nights that feel like they could go on forever.  It's great.  What's not so great? If you answered the unrelenting heat, you're right. 

Want something that you can enjoy year round to combat the heat of summer?  Well, I have something that is cool, refreshing, and a great source vitamins A, C, K, B6, B9 and thiamine.  Not only that, it's full of vital minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium.  What is this magical food?

The cucumber.  This is one of my favorite ingredients.  It's extremely versatile, very easy to manage, and available year round.  You can put it on a salad, in a vinaigrette, and even substitute them for chips for your favorite dips!  You can pickle, broil, bake and boil them!  The one thing that I never do, however, is peel them.  The skin is where all the nutrition is.  While the flesh itself is a good source of nutrition, the skin is loaded with the goods.  Peeling anything is quite silly to me.  Unless the peel is inedible, I'll leave it on.  With that - I'd like to share with you a little dish that was inspired by a few good friends of mine.  It is sure to delight you and anyone you serve it to.

The ingredients are as follows, and I'd say this is 1-2 serving(s):

1 large garden cucumber, sliced into chips
1 ginger root, about 4 shaved strips, 2 tbsp
Mint leaves, roughly chopped, about 1 1/2 tbsp
Red Pepper Flake, 1 tsp (more if you like it spicy)
Soy sauce, about 2 cups, depending on the size of cucumber and how much you like soy sauce
Half a lime, 1/2 zested and wholly juiced
White wine vinegar, 1 tbsp
Pepper to taste

This is a simple dish to execute.  Prepare your ingredients.  Slice your ginger root with a knife, or if you have one readily available, a peeler, and get four strips out of it.  This will be used as an enhancer and won't actually be eaten.  It is edible, and it's entirely up to you if you want to eat it.  Roughly chop a few mint leaves, gathering about 1 1/2 tablespoons.  Slice the cucumber, leaving the skin on (peeling optional), into chips about 1/2 an inch thick.  You can cut to any thickness, of course.  Zest half a lime, and juice the whole thing.

Once your ingredients are prepared - combine all in a sealable Tupperware.  Pour your soy sauce in to the container until all the ingredients are submerged.  This is optional, as some people do not like too much soy sauce; it also contains sodium, so if you're watching your sodium intake, go easy or substitute with a low sodium alternative.  Add a splash of the white wine vinegar at the end.

Seal the cucumbers and place in the fridge.  Allow the cucumbers to marinate for a good 8 hours before serving. 

When ready to serve, take cucumbers out with a spoon and serve up on a plate and enjoy!  If you're alone, eat them straight out of the bowl!

As always, a recipe is not meant to be followed - it is meant to assist.  Add, take away, completely reinvent it your way!  Everyone's tastes are different.  The beauty of the recipe is you can make it your way.  Enjoy!


  1. I have bared witness to these tasty treats and I must say that they are very delicious! I generally prefer my cuccs peeled but for this recipe, the skin serves as added texture and as Jesse mentioned - it's nutrients! When eating these, it doesn't feel like you're eating a healthy snack but the fact of the matter is, you really are. Another interesting fact about these is that you can introduce them to young children and before you know it, they'll be reaching for the vegetable tray in your refrigerator instead of the cookie jar on the counter!

  2. You're absolutely right, Chris! These are a favorite amongst kids. It's definitely a nice, sneaky way to introduce finicky eaters in to the world of veggies! Start em' young!