Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad

I am a big cucumber fan — the type that will take a bite straight from a whole cuke - but you don’t have to be to enjoy this salad.

Smashed Cucumber Salad is a Chinese side dish, and I’ve adapted that dish into a recipe I can make any old day. The salad base is still just cucumber (a GREAT way to mix it up when you’re in a salad rut). The dressing is where the rubber really meets the road here. You could use this dressing on other salads, too — but I never have leftovers 😁

The perfect balance of salt, acid, and sweet: rice vinegar, soy sauce, and honey come together here. I haven’t yet watched Salt Fat Acid Heat (or read it), but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a dish that balances all of it’s flavors well. What do you think — should I jump in and watch the show?

Either way, this dressing is golden. Garlic and chili flakes add punch. Cucumber is plain and simple; but simple is just right with the dressing.

Smashed Cucumber Salad
Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad

Published April 2, 2019 by
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Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 50 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2-3 english cucumbers 
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes 
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or white sugar)
  • 3 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger juice or minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce 
  • Garnish: 1 tablespoon minced cilantro, 2-3 small sprigs of mint (optional), lime wedges (optional)

  • Directions:

    1. Slice ends off of cucumber, and slice in half the long direction. Lay halved cucumbers seed-side down on a cutting board. Roll a rolling pin over cucumbers, smashing them just until the start to crack. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
    2. Place cucumber in a bowl and generously sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
    3. Place avocado oil, garlic and chili flakes in a small sauté pan and warm over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle. Stir occasionally, and allow garlic to turn golden. Remove from heat.
    4. In a jar, combine honey, rice vinegar, ginger juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, and the chili-garlic oil. Stir (or close jar and shake) to combine.
    5. Toss cucumber in dressing. Top with minced cilantro, and optionally garnish with mint and lime wedges. Serve.

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    Vegan Dinner Miso Soup

    Vegan Dinner Miso Soup

    Last week, after the storm headed toward the front range was dubbed a “bomb cyclone,” we woke up to rain. And it rained and rained until about 10am when the temperature dropped and the winds started and it began to snow sideways.

    It was a perfect storm for Miso Soup.

    Vegan Dinner Miso Soup

    Miso soup is that brothy, extra light soup you get before your sushi shows up at a restaurant. It’s so cozy, and miso paste gives the broth a complex flavor. But typical miso soup is light — really nothing more than an appetizer. With this recipe I sought out a miso soup that was filling. Something you could have as a meal when you’re snowed in.

    Traditional miso soup usually has a few bites of tofu, and pieces of wakame. We added: shiitake mushrooms, rice noodles, and TOPPINGS! (Fried garlic chips, green onions, chili crunch sauce, toasted sesame oil). All in all it makes a more filling soup with out losing the miso-y quality.

    Vegan Dinner Miso Soup

    The broth for this soup is vegan. It’s not something I was intentional about initially: I had been unable to find bonito flakes and so tried making the broth with kombu and dried mushrooms instead, and the result was delicious. Since so many of the popular recipes on Foraged Dish are vegan, I thought it would be a great alternative to share with you all.

    Dashi, the broth used in Miso Soup, is a cook-it-on-the-spot type of broth. No Sunday afternoon spent making stock. It only takes about 30 minutes to make dashi, and if you’re snowed in (or heck, if you’re home doing laundry), I bet you have that kind of time to let a pot simmer!

    I know warm weather is on it’s way — but until then, I’ll be souping. :)

    Vegan Dinner Miso Soup

    Vegan Dinner Miso Soup

    Published March 19, 2019 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 50 minutes



    Ingredients:

    For the broth (dash):
  • 2 sheets kombu (About 5 inches x 3 inches each)
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 7 cups water 

  • For the soup:
  • 1/3 cup white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger juice
  • 2 tablespoons dried wakame, plus about 2 cups of water for rehydrating
  • 1-2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 14 ounce package extra firm tofu, drained and diced into bite-sized pieces

  • To serve:
  • Rice noodles, cooked according to package (I used vermicelli)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions, white and dark green parts removed
  • Chili crunch sauce (affiliate link)
  • Fried garlic chips (I use avocado oil rather than canola)
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Optional (not vegan - makes the meal heartier): Soft boiled eggs

  • Directions:

    1. Make broth: heat 7 cups of water in a large soup pot with kombu and dried mushrooms. Once the water comes to a boil, remove it from the heat. Allow kombu and mushrooms for roughly 20 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, hydrate wakame in a small bowl. When wakame is completely softened, strain out excess water. Then, roughly chop wakame into bite-sized pieces.
    3. After broth has soaked, use a slotted spoon to remove kombu and mushrooms.
    4. Place miso in a small to medium sized bowl. Ladel roughly 1 cup of broth in the bowl with the miso, and whisk until no clumps remain (this makes it easier to mix into the full pot of broth). Pour miso mixture into soup pot.
    5. Add tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and wakame to the pot, and place back on stove over low heat. Heat until the soup is just barely simmering.
    6. Divide rice noodles amongst serving bowls, and label soup over top. Top to taste with: sliced green onions, toasted sesame oil, chili crunch sauce, and fried garlic (and eggs, halved, if using).

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    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    Last week, I told you all that I bought The Food of Morocco, and have been on a Moroccan food kick. The kick continues today… with this Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce.

    There are already a lot of eggplant recipes on this blog, and I know it’s not everyone’s favorite vegetable. This blog post is really more about the sauce, which you could use over fish, grilled meat, or roasted veggies (and don’t stop there). Or, eggplant.

    It struck me, while I was adding all of the ingredients for this Charmoula to the blender, that it’s just like so many other herb-based sauces found around the world. It combines oil with an acid (lemon juice), garlic, salt, and pepper, and heaps of herbs. In this case, cilantro and parsley. The process reminded me of making a South American Chimichurri, or the garlicky dipping oil used in Ecuador, or even pesto.

    It is not so much their similarity that surprises me, but the idea that diverse people, strung out across the world, all arrived at a similar solution to saucing food. Oil, herbs, garlic. I’m not a historian, though a quick look at the Wiki history of Chimichurri sauce suggests it was brought over by Spanish immigrants. Were all of these sauces another way of making the flavors immigrants were familiar with in a new environment, with new ingredients? Perhaps. (I, by the way, adored this essay on how immigrants assimilate through food).

    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce
    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    The other thing that struck me about Charmoula was it’s flavor, which I found sharper and stronger than chimichurri or pesto. I would probably eat a spoonful of pesto straight. At least, I would definitely lick the spatula. And maybe I would with charmoula as well, but it’s flavor is not as sweet, or creamy — it will wake you up a bit! It’s salty and tart and herbaceous. Which is why it’s a perfect finishing sauce, the final touch on roasted eggplant that wakes it all up. A drizzle over a fillet of fish that brings everything together. The “zing.”

    Pulling from Mediterranean flavors, I also added a drizzle of tahini to this eggplant. It’s richness is a good counterpart to charmoula, and the charmoula cuts through the richness of the tahini. Eggplant — we'll, I’d say it’s just the carrying vessel, but others might disagree.

    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    Roasted Eggplant with Charmoula Sauce

    Published March 12, 2019 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



    Ingredients:


    For the charmoula:
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
  • Dash cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup packed parsley leaves

  • For the eggplant:
  • 2 eggplants
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • For serving: 1/4 cup tahini

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
    2. Slice stem from eggplant and then cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Spread out on a baking sheet (or two) in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt, and allow eggplant to sit for 5-10 minutes. The salt with help reduce bitterness.
    3. Brush eggplant with olive oil. Flip eggplant and brush the second side. Place in oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until eggplant is soft all the way through, and is golden/brown on the edges.
    4. While eggplant cooks, combine all ingredients for charmoula in a food processor or blender, and pulse until a sauce forms. I like my sauce to still have some texture to it, so I stop before everything is puréed, but this is just my preference.
    5. Serve: place roasted eggplant on a plate, and drizzle with several spoonfuls of charmoula and several spoonfuls of tahini. Eat warm.
    6. Note: you will likely have leftover charmoula, which can be used as a sauce for fish, or grilled meats and vegetables.

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