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MARGARET PROUSE: A cucumber bounty

Cucumbers are a versatile vegetable that can be included in a number of meals.
Cucumbers are a versatile vegetable that can be included in a number of meals.

The cucumber patch continues to produce, and we keep serving them in different ways.


Asian Cucumber Salad

Adapted from Van Krevelen, Jean Ann: “Grocery Gardening: Planting, Preparing and Preserving Fresh Food”. Cool Springs Press, Brentwood Tennessee, 2009.

3 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, sliced lengthwise and then

sliced crosswise in thin slices

15 mL (1 tbsp) kosher salt

45 mL (3 tbsp) rice wine vinegar

45 mL (3 tbsp) toasted sesame oil

2 mL (½ tsp) sugar

1 mL (¼ tsp) hot red pepper flakes

22 mL (1½ tbsp) sesame seeds, toasted in a skillet until golden brown

  • Toss the cucumbers with the salt and place in a colander in the sink. Place an ice-filled bag on the cucumbers to drain for 45 minutes to an hour. The ice bag will weight the cucumbers to help their liquid drain.
  • Whisk the vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and hot pepper flakes until blended and the sugar is dissolved.
  • Rinse the cucumbers and pat dry with paper towels. Toss the cucumbers with the dressing. Top with the sesame seeds and serve immediately.

This cool noodle dish employs some of the same ingredients as the one above.

Spicy Szechuan Noodles

Adapted from The Moosewood Collective: “New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant”. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, 1986.

250 g (½ lb) whole wheat spaghetti or soba noodles

60 mL (¼ cup) peanut butter, or a mixture of peanut butter and tahini (I use a 50/50 mix)

60 mL (¼ cup) warm water

45 mL (3 tbsp) tamari soy sauce

30 mL (2 tbsp) rice wine vinegar

15 mL (1 tbsp) dark sesame oil

5 mL (1 tsp) hot chili oil (I substituted sambal oelek)

500 mL (2 cups) fresh mung bean sprouts

1 cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise, seeded, and cut into crescent slices

chopped green onions

toasted sesame seeds

  • Cook pasta al dente in salted water. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Mix peanut butter, warm water, soy sauce, vinegar and oils. Toss noodles with bean sprouts, cucumbers and sauce. Top with chopped green onions and/or toasted sesame seeds if desired. Serve at room temperature.
  • 4-6 servings

These salad days of summer seem like a good time to start using a spiralizer again. I bought one when they were popular, and it has been sitting, neglected, on a shelf in the basement.

This salad presents the ingredients of traditional Greek salad in a different format. Feel free to make substitutions. I have green peppers, but not yellow ones in the garden, so green it is! Instead of fresh oregano, which would indeed be preferable, I use the dried oregano that I have on hand, replacing 15 mL of fresh with 5 mL of dried.

The Ultimate Spiralized Greek Salad

Adapted from Haugen, Marilyn & Jennifer Williams: “150 Best Spiralizer Recipes”. Robert Rose Inc., Toronto, 2015.

2 cucumbers, ends cut flat

1 small red onion, peeled and ends cut flat

1 small green bell pepper, stem removed

1 small yellow bell pepper, stem removed

4 tomatoes, cored and cut into sixths

250 mL (1 cup) kalamata olives, pitted

60 mL (¼ cup) torn fresh parsley (optional)

2 cloves garlic, minced

15 mL (1 tbsp) fresh oregano

125 mL (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil

60 mL (¼ cup) red wine vinegar

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

175 mL (¾ cup) crumbled feta cheese or Vegan Feta (recipe follows)

  • Using a spiralizer, cut cucumbers into wide ribbons and pat dry. Cut onion, green pepper and yellow pepper into medium strands. Remove white flesh and seeds from peppers. (Note: You can core the peppers before spiralizing, but they will not hold their shape as well.) Trim all ribbons and strands to desired lengths.
  • In a large bowl, combine spiralized vegetables, tomatoes, olives and parsley if using.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, oregano, oil and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Sprinkle cheese over top.
  • 6 servings

Vegan Feta

Adapted from Haugen, Marilyn & Jennifer Williams: “150 Best Spiralizer Recipes”. Robert Rose Inc., Toronto, 2015.

250 mL (1 cup) raw cashews

30 mL (2 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil

15 mL (1 tbsp) dried oregano

pinch kosher salt

  • Process all ingredients in a food processor to a consistency similar to crumbled feta cheese.

Margaret Prouse, a home economist, writes this column for The Guardian every Friday. She can be reached by email at islandgusto@gmail.com.

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