Cool Spicy Cucumbers with Peanuts & Lime

Cucumber and lime. Just the thought of those two ingredients refreshes me. Plus they go together like …. bread and butter, gin and tonic, sugar and spice.

It’s hotter than an Inferno where I live, which is typical. We went straight from our schizophrenic spring weather to a sweltering heatwave within a week’s time. Ready or not, it’s time to let the season guide my menu cravings.

I turned to one of my favorite hot-weather flavor profiles – tart citrus; fresh, spicy chiles and cool-crunchy cucumbers. To me, that combination points in the direction of Asia and India.

I found the perfect recipe for what I had in mind with this Indian cucumber salad, Khamang Kakdi, in How to Cook Indian, one of my newest cookbooks. I think this book will become a definite favorite of mine. It’s huge, with a broad collection of easy and delicious-sounding recipes. There are no photos at all, but somehow that isn’t a problem since the information is so thorough and the design so appealing.

I love the utter simplicity of this salad. With just a few spices, a hit of citrus, toasty peanuts and a sweet exotic touch of coconut, cucumbers are transformed into something complex and unordinary.

Be warned, it’s a slightly addictive little salad.

Cool Spicy Cucumbers with Peanuts & Lime

Serving Size: serves 4

Ingredients

  1. 1 English cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  2. 1 Serrano pepper or 2 jalapenos, finely chopped
  3. 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
  4. 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  6. 1 teaspoon sugar
  7. 2 tablespoons roasted peanut oil (or olive oil)
  8. 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  9. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  10. 1 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Instructions

  1. Put the cucumber, chile pepper, peanuts, 2 tablespoons of the coconut, lime juice and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the oil in a small saute pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle and pop, stir in the cumin, salt and remaining 2 tablespoons coconut. Turn off the heat.
  3. Pour the mustard seed mixture over the cucumbers and toss everything together. Taste to make sure it's salty-sweet enough for your taste.

Notes

Adapted from a recipe in How to Cook Indian by Sanjeev Kapoor

http://familystylefood.com/2011/06/cool-spicy-cucumbers-with-peanuts-lime/

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili with Goat Cheese

Not-too-spicy vegetarian chili

Not-too-spicy vegetarian chili

We usually have at least one vegetarian sharing Thanksgiving with us, so I like to have a an interesting meatless main dish on the table along with some traditional side dishes – that way no one feels like they’re missing anything.
And personally, while I like trying a new turkey preparation every year – whether it’s brining, stuffing or not stuffing, oven-roasting or grilling, my enthusiasm for the bird wanes when it lands on the table. I’d much rather fill up on the colorful array of vegetables instead.
Plus, everyone knows that all Thanksgiving fixings taste better the next day, so having a pot of chili on hand is a good thing, vegetarian or not. There’s nothing wrong with some tasty chili in bowl, with a gravy-drenched turkey leg on top.

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili with Goat Cheese

Serving Size: serves 4 - 6

Ingredients

  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 medium red onion, sliced
  3. 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  4. 3 crushed garlic cloves
  5. 1 teaspoon each ground cumin, coriander, smoked paprika
  6. 1/2 teaspoon each ground black pepper and ground chipotle
  7. 4 cups peeled and diced sweet potato (about 2 large)
  8. Vegetable stock or water
  9. 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  10. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  11. 1 (14-ounce) can black beans
  12. 1 (14-0unce) can pinto beans
  13. 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  14. Warm tortillas

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large (6-quart) pan or stockpot. Add the onion and cook until softened and just beginning to brown; stir in the salt and garlic and cook about 1 minute or until the garlic smells good.
  2. Sprinkle in the spices and ground black and chipotle pepper, stirring to dissolve in the oil. Add the sweet potatoes and pour over enough stock or water just to cover them. Cover the pot and cook over medium heat until tender (not mushy), about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the mustard, maple syrup and beans (including their liquid) to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered another 10 minutes or so to blend the flavors. If you like your chili more soupy, add more stock.
  4. Serve in bowls topped with some cheese with warm tortillas alongside.
http://familystylefood.com/2009/11/sweet-potato-black-bean-chili-with-goat-cheese/