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Peanuts, lime and ginger add Asian flare to this cool summer salad.
Peanuts, lime and ginger add Asian flare to this cool summer salad.

Cool as a Cucumber

Jul 25, 2014

I think it is safe to say that summer is finally here. As temperatures hit over 100, we are all looking for ways to stay cool. Farmers in the field are drinking their weight in water, dogs are seeking the shadiest of shade trees, kids are taking refuge in the local swimming pools, we feel sorry for the road construction crews baking in the sun, and air conditioning in our homes, offices, and cars is working at full blast. I am very grateful that we made the heat pump upgrade for the heating and cooling system in our home. Central air is a wonderful thing...even though Hubs keeps it cranked to frigid temps that often leave me looking for a sweater in July.

Most of us don't want to heat up the house with hot meals when the Fahrenheit is rising. A cucumber salad is the perfect summer tonic. There isn’t a South Dakota church or community cookbook without multiple recipes for cucumber salad. The usual preparation out here on the prairie has a creamy dressing with onions and/or tomatoes and dill. I like to vary things a bit and add a little Asian flare to my cukes. I think the peanuts make it filling enough for a light lunch, but still great as a side to grilled chicken or steak for dinner. The cool cucumbers are just so refreshing on a hot day. Even with 100 degree temps, dinner can be cool as a cucumber.

Peanut and Cucumber Salad

(Adapted from Food 52)

1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
2 radishes, cut into matchsticks
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated  
1 lime, zest and juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons salted and roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
fresh basil and mint, chopped

In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, lime zest and juice, rice vinegar, fish sauce, sesame oil and honey. Set aside while prepping the vegetables. Add the cucumbers, radish, sesame seeds, peanuts, and herbs to the dressing and toss to coat thoroughly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to deepen. Serves 2-3.

Fran Hill has been blogging about food at On My Plate since October of 2006. She, her husband and their two dogs ranch near Colome.

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