I had planned that I would slice the cucumbers for this lesson, but Genevieve used the big knife! I stayed right next to her and alternately demonstrated, guided her hand, and watched. She did an excellent job.
I often realize something during these cooking lessons, probably because I am taking the time to look at the kitchen through a little girl's eyes. Valuable lessons, indeed. What I realized this time is that I crank out three meals a day most days and I am super-efficient in the kitchen. I enjoy what I'm doing and I enjoy my efficiency. No hanging around thinking about how to garnish the salad or stroking the cutting board or staring at lemons before I cut them. The thinking that I do about cooking happens while my hands are busy with a needle or dishes or clothespins or I'm trying to pay attention in church. But a child comes to the kitchen world in wonder and amazement that slows down the entire process and add steps to the recipe. So I can pick up some of her wonder and she can pick up some of my efficiency, don't you think?
We love this salad. The recipe comes from Fix-it and Forget-it Vegetarian. We ate it with rice and beans and pickled jalapenos.
Cucumber Salad with Cumin
Toast 1 tsp. cumin seed - either on a small tray in the toaster oven or in a dry skillet. Takes only a few minutes and watch closely - you want to smell the aroma of cumin but not burn it. Set aside.
Whisk in bottom of smallish salad bowl:
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
juice and zest of 1 lemon
the 1 tsp. toasted cumin seed
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Stripe 2 cucumbers with a zester or a paring knife - just for pretty. Halve or quarter lengthwise if you wish before slicing thinly. Toss gently with dressing. Serve immediately.
(Another reason to keep cumin seed on hand: dhal.)