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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    Thai Basil Beef

    Thai Basil Beef

    When our friends Thomas and Leah showed up at the house a weeks ago, the first thing they said was they had been thinking about getting Thai food for dinner. This was accepted with a round of “Oo, great idea!” and “Yesss,” comments, until someone remembered it was Sunday: our favorite Thai restaurant is closed on Sundays. This is something we typically remember when we are already halfway there.  

    But it was settled, in my mind at least: we would have Thai for dinner. I would just have to make it myself. I’m no stranger to making Thai Curry — we have it at home all the time. But for this dinner I wanted to 1) use up some ingredients already in the fridge and 2) learn to make something new.

    I came up with a list of four options and then made everyone vote. My mom always said I was “very diplomatic.” 👩🏻‍⚖️ When the votes were in, I got to work: garlic, Thai basil, and even a few Thai chilies. 

    Thai Basil Beef
    Thai Basil Beef

    The one place I cut corners when making Thai food is the fish sauce: it’s just not an ingredient I have in the house, and as someone who didn’t grow up on it, I don’t miss the fishy notes when they’re not there. That’s just me— feel free to use fish sauce in place of the Worcestershire sauce in this recipe for a more traditional experience. 

    Besides, my favorite part is the basil. Plenty of basil, and I’m all smiles. This summer I’ll be growing a BUNCH of Thai basil. I just love how fresh, sweet, and complex the flavor is.

    Serve this Thai Basil Beef over the Instant Pot Coconut Rice published in the blog last week!

    Thai Basil Beef
    Thai Basil Beef

    Thai Basil Beef

    Published April 24, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 20 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 1 pound ground beef, 90% preferred, but 80% will work
    • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
    • 1/4 yellow onion, diced small
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce OR 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
    • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
    • 2-5 Thai chilies, depending on spice tolerance, minced (if you really don’t like spicy food, skip these all together)
    • 1 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves 
    • Lime wedges, for serving 
    • Green onions for garnish
    • 2 cups coconut rice for serving

    Directions:

    1. Heat coconut oil over medium heat until it glistens. Add onion and garlic to the pan, and sauté until onion is transparent. Then, add beef to the pan. Cook beef, breaking it into crumbles with a wooden spatula, until browned evenly.
    2. NOTE: If you are your 80%/20% or other high-fat percentage beef, you may want to pour off the excess fat at this time, as it does not emulsify with the sauce super well.
    3. Add soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce or fish sauce, and maple syrup, and stir. Then, add minced Thai chilies. Cook for 1 more minute, and then add basil, allowing basil to wilt. Stir into beef mixture.
    4. Serve hot over coconut rice, garnished with sliced green onions and lime wedges.

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    Brussels Sprout & Mushroom Stir Fry

    Brussels Sprout & Mushroom Sesame Stir Fry

    Part of me hates going to Costco: to lines, the people, the hustle and bustle. But part of me loves it: the fridge full of organic veggies when we get home, frozen wild fish fillets that I can cook into fish tacos all month long, and giant jars of peanut butter (always). 

    Brussels sprouts and mushrooms are two things I almost never leave Costco without. As far as vegetables go, they stay good in the fridge for a while, and we always go through them all. Costco trips mean recipes like this: Brussels Sprouts and Mushroom Sesame Stir Fry.

    Brussels Sprout & Mushroom Sesame Stir Fry
    Brussels Sprout & Mushroom Sesame Stir Fry

    Toasted sesame oil is one of my favorite condiments because it’s depth of flavor adds so much to any Asian-style dish! Along with a drizzle of soy sauce and a spoonful of maple syrup? That’s where the magic happens. It’s a sweet, savory, nutty combination that goes with just about anything.

    I use shiitake mushrooms in this recipe because they work well in recipes that have Asian flavors (like soy and sesame). If you can’t find shiitake mushrooms, baby portobellos will work just fine!

    After you’ve made this recipe with brussels sprouts, you might find that the sauce is extremely adaptable — you could do this same exact thing with broccoli or zucchini.

    Brussels Sprout & Mushroom Sesame Stir Fry

    Brussels Sprout & Mushroom Sesame Stir Fry

    Published March 15, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 20 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups brussels sprouts, halved
    • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (I used shiitake but cremini mushrooms also work well)
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil 
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce 
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    • 1-2 tablespoon sesame seeds 

    Directions:

    1. Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat until it glistens. Add mushrooms and brussels sprouts to the pan, stirring briefly.
    2. Allow veggies to cook for 10 minutes, stirring ocassionally. Mushrooms should begin to soften and brussels should start to brown just on the edges. Add minced garlic to the pan, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring every minute or so.
    3. Drizzle soy sauce, maple syrup, and sesame oil into pan and stir. Cook for 3 more minutes. Add sesame seeds to taste, and remove from heat. Serve hot!

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