Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cooking Lesson: Cucumber Salad with Cumin

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.)


  1. What a beautiful thought - slowing down to smell the cucumbers!

  2. Well done Genevieve :-)I think learning to use a sharp knife is really important.

    Intrigued by the salad- I've never thought of cumin with cucumber. One to try, thanks.

  3. I have a LOAD of cucumbers in my fridge right now and I'm totally making this tonight to be served with my uncle's fresh corn and some kind of fish I wrangle at the market this afternoon. Yum. Thank you.

    I wish I were *more* efficient in the kitchen. Sometimes I think I do a lot of walking in circles.

  4. I have never toasted cumin seeds. Just spread them on a sheet and bake at what temp?

  5. Oh yes! That's what I found with my kids as well; slowing to their speed was hard but it brought more tranquility to my days.

    That salad looks so good, my mouth is watering - alas, I can no longer eat much that is acidic due to both heartburn and the loss of enamel on my teeth, which makes them ultra sensitive for days afterward. But I used to love vinegar and lemons (not together!).

    I am intrigued by your treatment for heartburn; have been thinking about how to incorporate it within my limited diet.

  6. Mother4, you can toast seeds/nuts/bread cubes at any temp, really. You just need to keep an eye on them and watch for darkening color and sniff for the scent.

    If I had to choose a temperature because there's nothing else using oven heat, I would put the tray in the cold oven, set it for 350 F, and then set my timer for 5 minutes. I'd check on it in 30 second increments after that - or maybe even before that. It's a quick job that bears watching. Good luck!

  7. I made this with my husband's birthday roast last night--it was so good! He was overpowered by the cumin seed, but I wasn't. I boldly drizzled the dressing in the bottom of the salad bowl *over my roast and potatoes* even.

  8. proud of you.. You are making some great dishes.. KNow you and mom are having lots of fun in the kitchen.. ENjoy!!!


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