Cucumber and Bean Salad with Citrus Dressing

I wanted a side dish that would combine some fresh vegetables (cukes/peppers) with some easy protein (canned beans). The dressing is based on one from FoodTV; they used it on a different salad however I liked the sound of it and it worked out well.

Cucumber and Bean Salad with citrus dressing
Servings: 8-12
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas
  • 1 14.5 oz. can black beans
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, quartered, seeded and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Rinse the chickpeas and black beans, add to a bowl with the cucumbers and red peppers.
  2. In a jar combine the remaining ingredients, shake well. Pour about half of the dressing over the vegetables, toss to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve with remaining dressing available for those who want it.

Notes:
The vegetables can be combined up to 2 hours in advance and the the dressing can similarly be made up to a day in advance. Store both in the refrigerator until 30 minutes before serving.

I used Goya low-sodium chickpeas and black beans in this dish. If you aren’t using low-sodium beans then you might want to cut the kosher salt by half in the dressing.

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Bread and Butter Pickles

Homemade picklesOne of my childhood memories is waking up on a summer morning to the smell of hot pickling liquid. My mom canned pickles, relish, jams and jellies throughout the summer. We would enjoy the result months later, as would family and friends who received tasty treats in the winter.

A couple of years ago I asked my mom for her bread & butter pickle recipe. She laughed and pointed me toward a worn copy of the Ball Blue Book that she had used for 40 years. My recipe is an adaptation of that one with a bit more instruction.

Pickling is easy and doesn’t take a lot of special equipment. It’s a fine way to spend a summer afternoon, especially if the weather isn’t super-duper. The taste of a homemade pickle, in deepest winter, will brighten your day.
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Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Here’s another recipe from our Holiday party earlier this year. It was a great companion to the Curried Rice and Chickpea Salad.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Servings: 8-12
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 3 hours (or overnight)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 1 lg. lime)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 10 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 can petite diced tomato, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 English cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 fresno chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Start by cooking the black-eyed peas. After soaking overnight drain and rinse. Then place peas in a large pot with 3 quarts fresh water as well as the bay leaves and garlic. Bring to a simmer, cover partially, and cook for 30-35 minutes until the peas are just tender. Turn off the heat, stir in the table salt, cover and allow to rest for 15 more minutes. Drain and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool, at least 2 hours.
  2. In a bowl large enough for the entire salad whisk the oil into lime juice. Add the parsley, a generous pinch of kosher salt and 10 grinds of black pepper.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well until the dressing thoroughly coats the salad. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least an hour. Better yet refrigerate overnight. Can be served straight from the fridge or at room temperature.

Notes:
Any neutral flavored oil can be used, such as canola or safflower, in place of vegetable.

When tomatoes are locally available substitute 1 large or 2 medium tomatoes which you have cored, seeded and roughly chopped. No need to remove the skin.

This recipe is based on one from the July 2013 issue of Saveur magazine.

Cucumber Salad

Summer is a season of abundant local produce. Not a week goes by without fresh tomatoes from the garden and gifts of cukes and summer squash from friends and co-workers. We do our best to use it all before it needs to be donated back to the compost pile. Salad is a fine way to consume fresh veggies as long as you, or your friends, will eat the salad. 🙂 This simple, lettuce free, salad comes together quickly and went well with grilled chicken.

[Cucumber Salad]

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Cucumber with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

I made these for our holiday party this year. I was in search of a vegetable appetizer, something that was a single bit and savory. I found a recipe titled “Gluten Free Cucumber Slices Provençal” which fit the bill.

Cucumber with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Cucumber with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

I’m not sure why the title includes the words “gluten free”. It is gluten free however I can’t conceive of a way to make the dish that would include gluten. Anyway, I made a few changes to the recipe so it fit it to my taste.
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