Food Network Magazine (July/August 2014)
"In this episode of Hoarders: Fruit and Vegetable Edition, we meet Zach and Clay, who are part of a farm share that gives them seven to ten pounds of vegetables a week. But also, against all common sense, these gentlemen spend an obscene amount of money buying other vegetables at a weekly farmers market. Not to mention the vegetables they are harvesting from their garden. This is their story....."
It is true.
We are obsessively buying vegetables this summer, somehow treating August like a Vegetable Going Out of Business Sale. Our kitchen counter has plates and bowls full of tomatoes (currently there are at least three varieties). Our fridge is packed with eggplant, zucchini, different squash varieties and ears of corn. And let's not talk about the peaches, nectarines and blueberries. Some days, it looks like we're planning to open a farm stand.
But -- and we hesitate to write this because we fully expect to return home tonight to find that all those vegetables have simultaneously and spontaneously rotted away -- nothing seems to be going to waste. We are cooking the hell out of some vegetables this summer.
It helps that we've been having even more of our meals than usual at home. It also helps that we've been obsessively packing our lunches every day for work.
But that takes a ton of planning -- more planning, honestly, than we're always able to pull off. So we're constantly making very simple preparations of vegetables (think sliced tomatoes with torn basil, some oil and vinegar, or a side of raw, thinly sliced, salted cucumbers) or finding super spare recipes from our stack of food magazines.
These Spicy Asian Cucumbers fit both bills: very simple, few ingredients, excellent payoff.
This, to us, is an ideal August recipe. Well, that's a lie. Our ideal August recipe is probably for a peach pie and homemade ice cream. But this is our ideal August recipe for a simple vegetable side dish.
It couldn't be easier: Slice and salt some cucumbers, and let them drain. Ten minutes later, toss the cucumber with a simple vinaigrette of soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Add some garlic for bite. If you have cilantro and scallions, toss them in; if not, leave them out (we did).
The final salad is flavorful and perfect as part of a packed lunch, or as a side to some grilled vegetables or proteins.
It's easy. It's uncomplicated. It's August.
Are you, too, obsessing about vegetables this summer? Share the shame/love in the comments!
(this photo: Justin Walker for Food Network Magazine)
Total Time: 20 minutes (10 active/10 inactive)
Yields: 4 servings
Chop 1 English cucumber. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt; let sit 10 minutes. Whisk 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons each sugar and soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 sliced scallions, 1 minced garlic clove and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Drain the cucumber and toss with the dressing; season with salt. Top with chopped cilantro.