Monday, December 10, 2007

Asian Cucumber Ribbon Salad (Page 142)

  • Date: Saturday, December 8, 2007 -- 7pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Tricia, Mike M, Teresa, and Cornelia
  • Recipe Rating: B

I chose this cucumber salad to accompany dinner on Saturday because the dressing had some of the same flavors as the other courses of our meal. It was fine: neither outstanding nor objectionable. The dressing was a simple mix of rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Those ingredients work well together, but the balance was a tad off. The vinegar overpowered the flavors of both the soy sauce and the sesame oil, so there wasn't much depth or contrast to the dressing. It essentially tasted like cucumbers in vinegar, which, it turns out, doesn't taste so bad. It could have been better though, with a more balanced dressing. I also would have preferred to have some thinly sliced carrots (or one of a variety of other vegetables) to accompany the cucumber. Overall though, it was simple and refreshing, and tasted just fine. I probably won't make it again, but I enjoyed eating it well enough.

Here is the recipe.

This recipe called for the use of a mandoline, which always scares me a bit. My friend Norma lost the tip of her finger on a mandoline while in culinary school. She was rushed off to the hospital, and I am told there was a lot of blood. Fortunately I was not there to witness that accident. Surprisingly, the whole time I was in culinary school there were only two people taken away to the hospital while I was in the building. First, one of the teaching assistants cut off part of her finger with a chef's knife. She was cutting, of all things, butter. In the industry butter comes not in sticks that weigh a quarter of a pound, but rather in one pound sticks. So they are pretty big. The knife was dull and it slipped... you can imagine the rest.

The other "injury" was much more dramatic. It was on a "Fish and Shellfish" day. Many of us had been cooking lobster in one form or another, and someone had made lobster bisque. One of the students in my class had never eaten lobster before. The chef insisted that she taste and critique the bisque. She didn't like it, so she only had a bite or two. Twenty minutes later she was covered in hives and gasping for air. It turns out she has a very severe allergy to lobster. Lobster bisque is the worst thing to eat if you have a lobster allergy because the lobster meat is cooked with crushed up lobster shells, and I am told that is an extra-bad thing for those who are allergic. She was rushed to the emergency room, where they told her that if she had eaten the whole bowl she could have died before help would have arrived. Oh dear!

So I am careful near knives and mandolines and any shellfish I have never eaten before!

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