Spicy Smashed Cucumber Salad

Spicy Smashed Cuc salad

For those of you who like spice – this recipe is for you! The play of the heat from the red pepper flakes and numbing effect of Sichuan peppercorns (commonly used in Sichuan cuisine) makes this dish have an addictive quality. That, plus it’s easy to whip up AND when you have a glut of summer cucumbers on hand, it’s nice to try something new!

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

Smashed Cucumbers:
1 pound small cucumbers, Persian or Japanese, ends trimmed and halved lengthwise, seeds scooped out
1 tablespoon natural (unseasoned) rice wine vinegar
¾ teaspoon dark brown sugar
¾ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons roughly chopped dry roasted peanuts
1 scallion, ends trimmed, sliced thinly (white and light green part), optional

Place cucumbers flesh side down on a cutting board. Gently smash with the side of a large knife. Tear into bite sized pieces.

Place vinegar, sugar, oil and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Add cucumbers, peanuts and scallion (if using) and stir to combine.
Spiced Oil:
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper (chili flakes)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Turn heat to medium low. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic turns light brown, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pour spicy oil over cucumbers. Fold to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt and serve.

Sweet Cherry Shrub with Fresh Mint (Bevvy)

Sweet Cherry Shrub with Mint

Yield: approximately 2½ cups shrub concentrate

 

1 pound organic sweet cherries, pitted

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons lemon zest (zested with a microplane)

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

30 medium mint leaves, plus more for garnish

6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

 

Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend on medium-low for 1 minute.

Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and strain the mixture, pressing on the solids with a spatula to extract as much liquid as possible.

Transfer shrub mix into a bottle or jar, close to seal, and store in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy.

Serve one part shrub mixture for every four parts sparkling water (or to taste). When serving, add water and ice (if using) first (to a glass). Then slowly stir in the shrub. This helps to reduce any foaminess.

Add a shot of gin or mezcal for a delicious adult beverage.

Garnish with fresh mint.

Rosemary Garlic Tomato Confit

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Rosemary Garlic Tomato Confit

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, crushed, skins discarded
1 (3-inch) sprig fresh rosemary
2 dried bay leaves
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

In a medium sauce pan over low heat, combine the olive oil, garlic, rosemary and bay leaves. Mix until well coated and cook until just beginning to bubble. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes collapse. Discard the rosemary and bay leaves before serving.

Add confit to pasta or serve over toasted bread.

Note: If you enjoy a little heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the confit to spice things up!

 

 

Apple and Carrot Coleslaw

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Apple and Carrot Coleslaw

Yield: 6 servings

 

Coleslaw:

1 small head red cabbage, core discarded, quartered and sliced thinly (1/8-inch thick) on a mandoline (6 cups)

4 medium carrots, peeled and grated (2 cups)

2 medium apples (Pink Lady, Gala, Empire, or Fuji) unpeeled, sliced into French fry strips on a mandoline (3 cups)

½ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Vinaigrette:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

2½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar

 

Combine the cabbage, carrots, apples, and parsley in a large bowl.

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

Add approximately two-thirds of the vinaigrette to the cabbage mixture, toss to coat, and season to taste with salt and pepper, adding more vinaigrette if needed. Taste again (yes, again).

Note: if you do not have a mandoline, this is a great opportunity to practice your knife skills!

Pan-Roasted Broccolini with Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes

Charred Spicy Broccolini

Yield: 2 servings

 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large bunch broccolini, rinsed

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 large garlic clove, minced

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ cup of water

 

Add olive oil to a medium sauté pan and place over high heat. Heat until oil shimmers, approximately 1 minute.

Carefully add the broccolini to the sauté pan using tongs.

Season with salt and pepper and cook, rotating every 15 seconds with tongs, until slightly charred, approximately 2 minutes.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.

Add ¼ cup of water and cover the sauté pan with a lid. Let cook, undisturbed, until the water evaporates, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.

 

Wild Rice Salad with Diced Apples, Oranges, and Toasted Pecans

wild rice salad

Wild Rice Salad with Diced Apples, Oranges, and Toasted Pecans

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

 

Wild Rice:

4 cups water or vegetable stock

1 cup wild rice, rinsed with cold water and drained

Salad:

2 small oranges

2 large apples, such as Braeburn, Fuji, or Honeycrisp, unpeeled, cored and diced small (4 cups)

2 cups toasted pecan halves, chopped roughly

1 cup dried black currants or dried cranberries

3 stalks celery, diced small (1½ cups)

⅓ cup thinly sliced green onions (green part only)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Vinaigrette:

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (from the oranges)

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

 

In a large saucepan, bring the water or vegetable stock to a boil. Add the wild rice, stir and cover. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wild rice pops open and is tender to the bite, 45 minutes. Transfer to a colander, rinse with cold water to cool, and drain well.

Cut the peel and pith off the oranges, then segment them by cutting between the dividers. Discard any seeds, but reserve the juice for the vinaigrette.

In a medium container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

Add the diced apple, orange segments, drained wild rice, pecans, cranberries, and green onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Sorbet with Homemade Magic Shell

tcho sorbet

Mmmmmm. A new chocolatey recipe created with my favorite chocolate – TCHO Chocolate!

 

Yields: 3½ cups

 

Sorbet

¼ cup (70 grams) raspberry preserves

2¼ cups boiling water, divided

½ cup (42 grams) TCHO natural cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar

8 1/8-ounces (230 grams) TCHO 81% chocolate, finely chopped

 

Mix the raspberry preserves and ¼ cup of the boiling water in a small bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine.

Put the cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Strain the raspberry preserves/water mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the medium bowl with the cocoa powder. Whisk until smooth.

Add the vanilla extract, sugar and chopped chocolate the remaining 2 cups of boiling water. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth in texture and sugar and chocolate have dissolved, approximately 2 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a blender and blend on low for 1 minute.

Transfer to a metal bowl and refrigerate until chilled, approximately 2 hours, or overnight.

Transfer the chilled mixture into an ice cream machine and process. Then, transfer sorbet to a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap (pressing the film directly against the surface of the sorbet) and freeze until firm.

To serve, scoop sorbet into bowl and top with magic shell. Add your favorite toppings, such as sea salt, chopped hazelnuts and/or fresh raspberries.

 

Magic Shell

8-ounces (230 grams) TCHO 81% chocolate

2 tablespoons coconut oil

 

Place chocolate in a double boiler. Add coconut oil. Stir until melted.

Store at room temperature and reheat for service.