Cucumber-Grapefruit Salad with Smashed Garlic and Ginger + {Recipes for the Week of May 14, 2012}

by Julie

Do you ever have those days when you’re suddenly able to clear all of those backlogged to-do items off your list in a single day? Perhaps you’re caught by surprise at the end of the day, but for some reason, one thing leads naturally to the other, and suddenly, you look back over the last twelve hours and think, “Wow. That feels pretty good. (But where did my day go?)”

I like to call these particular points in time “maintenance days.” They’re the days when some sense of order just needs to be restored. The floor must be swept. Your hair really is starting to resemble a mullet in the back. And that fridge? It won’t shop for itself. Sunday was official “maintenance” day in our household:

–Maintaining the food supply: morning farmers market run

–Maintaining the yard: watering, repotting plants

–Maintaining the clothes pile: do laundry, sort laundry, change bed sheets

–Maintaining the house: vacuum and mop all floors, dust furniture

–Maintaining the clutter: sort, put away, give away

–Maintaining the person: haircut, shower

–Maintaining sanity: read, relax, read, workout, see a movie with friends

It was a good day overall, and in the midst of it, I managed to dig out this book and finally use it as inspiration to create this very flavorful (garlic and ginger lovers, unite!), deliciously cool salad. It’s my new go-to, bring-to-a-potluck dish, although, as Eric pointed out, I might want to try roasting the garlic next time to tone down the taste for conversation’s sake: this salad is not for the garlic/ginger faint of heart.

Cucumber-Grapefruit Salad with Smashed Garlic and Ginger

The original recipe called for red onion. We did not have any on hand, so I opted for grapefruit. I’m not disappointed in the least; in fact, I’d argue the substitution is an improvement.

Dressing

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon maple syrup (or to taste)

1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Salad

1 large cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise, and seeded

1 1/2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 large garlic cloves, peeled

1 grapefruit, wedges separated and peeled (try to get off as much pith as you can)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

To prepare

To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Place the ginger and salt in a mortar and pound well with a pestle. Add garlic, and continue pounding until its well crushed, but stop before you get to the point where you have paste. Add the garlic-ginger mix to your dressing and stir to combine.

Take your seeded cucumbers and cut each half on an angle into 1/4-inch thick slices. Add the cucumber to the bowl followed by the cilantro, grapefruit, and sesame seeds. Stir well and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipes for the Week

Monday, May 14: Cucumber-Peanut Salad (from 101 Cookbooks)

Speaking of cucumbers, here’s one from 101 Cookbooks, published around the same time last year.

Ingredients

3 medium cucumbers, partially peeled
1-2 green serrano chiles, stemmed and minced
1/2 cup  peanuts, toasted
1/3 cup dried large-flake coconut, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon natural cane sugar
1 tablespoon olive or sesame oil (original recipe calls for sunflower oil)
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
a handful cilantro, chopped

Tuesday, May 15: Tomato, Squash, and Coconut Milk Bisque (from Honest Fare)

Ingredients

13-ounce can coconut milk, well shaken

10 roma tomatoes

3 cups worth of butternut and/or acorn squash

1 tablespoon agave syrup

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

kosher salt to taste

pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)

cracked black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

olive oil

handful fresh basil chopped

1 cup water or vegetable broth

Wednesday, May 16: Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta (from Oh She Glows)

Ingredients

For the pesto

2 garlic cloves

20 grams fresh basil leaves (1/2 cup packed)

about 7 oil-packed sundried tomatoes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

6-8 tablespoons water

3-4 tablespoons walnuts (toasted, if preferred)

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste + pepper

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

For the pasta

your choice of pasta

walnuts, chopped and toasted if preferred

fresh basil, chiffonade

sundried tomatoes, chopped

pesto

Thursday, May 17: Green Enchiladas with Cashew Poblano Crema (from Love and Lemons)

Wow. This recipe looks amazing. Totally vegan, gluten-free, with the crema made from ground cashews. Follow the link to view the ingredient lists.

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