Thursday, January 23, 2014

31 Days of Green: Day 23 Cucumber

Sometimes in life you get what you ask for. So when I asked my husband “what should I make with cucumbers?” I should have been prepared for the answer “lop”. My husband used to work at a Thai style restaurant.  The owner, Mama Nang, is from Thailand and make the most delicious Thai and Americanized Thai food you will ever taste.  Noah has talked fondly of so many of her recipes that I have attempted to recreate quite a few, with pretty good success.  All he remembered this time was that it was called “lop” and it was meat with cucumbers on the side. To the search engines I went. What I came up with was a dish called many things; ‘lop’ ‘lap’ ‘lahb’ ‘larp’ and ‘laap’ to name a few. There were no cucumbers in sight. It seemed to be a ground meat dish with mint, served over cold salad. No worries though, it looked delicious so I persevered and created a minty ground beef with spicy cucumber salad and it was amazing, not to brag of course! I don’t know that I would call it ‘lop’ but it was delicious and nutritious, which are the only two requirements around here, well that and it didn’t take many dishes to prepare! 

            I knew I wanted to include cucumbers in this month of greens. They are so tasty and easy to work with. They are also nutritious and have a lot of water content. I’m not a big water drink ( I know SHAME) so I love when I can get water from my food. Speaking of water. One of my favorite uses for cucumber is to add a few slices to water; it is amazing how much it enhances the flavor. I also love cucumber spears for dipping; my mom made the best cucumber dip with mayo, ginger, and soy sauce. Gazpacho is another cucumber winner, though not in this weather, and of course, pickles! There are many varieties of cucumber; I’m not really partial to any particular one, although the English cucumber (the one I featured today) has a more delicate and palatable skin. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

Spicy Marinated Cucumbers

Gluten Free, Vegan
Serves 2-4

1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
3 tbls lemon juice, and the zest from 1 lemon
1 tbl finely minced cilantro or 1 cilantro ice cube 
1 tbl olive oil (omit is using ice cube)
1 tbl coconut sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
about 1 cup water

Add all of the ingredients to a glass bowl and add enough water to just cover the cucumbers. Let it sit covered for at least 3 hours. Stir occasionally.


Notes and Substitutions

  • You could use honey or regular sugar instead of the coconut sugar.
  • My red pepper flakes are pretty hot. Adjust to taste.

Minty Beef

Gluten Free
Serves 2

½ lb grass-fed ground beef
2 shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbl finely minced cilantro or 2 cilantro ice cubes
juice of half a lime
20 mint leaves chopped, ¼ cup

Heat a pan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic to a pan and begin to sauté. Add the ground beef, cilantro, and lime juice. Cook until the meat is done. Turn off the heat and mix in the mint leaves. Serve over rice, cold salad, or sautéed veggies with a side of spicy marinated cucumbers.

Notes and Substitutions

  • You can play around with the amount of  herbs and adjust to taste.
  • I poured some of the liquid from the cucumbers over the meat and it was delicious.

What is your favorite way to eat cucumbers?

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