Colorful Salad – Cucumber & Pomegranate

August 30th, 2010 / comments 6

This is the last of the series of colorful salads and although these salads are long way from that chunk of iceberg lettuce and bright orange splash of salad dressing, I know that Nana would love them all because, to her, everything I did was perfect. Everyone deserves a grandmother like that!

pt f pomegranate 02 c egbert copy Colorful Salad   Cucumber & Pomegranate

The crimson red of pomegranate seeds adds color, flavor and loads of health benefits to a cucumber salad. Here’s how I made it: … read more

Szechuan Cucumber Pickles & Sesame Noodles

August 11th, 2010 / comments 7

In 1980, our friend Tom went on a trip to China. Tom was an architect who loved adventure, and in those days, going to South America was exotic but a trip China was unimaginable. Tom had a wonderful time and, as an intrepid cook, he brought back exotic recipes and memories of extraordinary meals.

Asian pat c egbert Szechuan Cucumber Pickles & Sesame Noodles

Soon after his return, he invited us to dinner. When we arrived, he was emptying the wood shavings from his pencil sharpener into the wok. We watched as he added the contents of two tea bags to the wood shavings. He explained that he was going to make tea smoked chicken for dinner. He put a bamboo steamer filled with raw chicken over the tea and wood shavings, covered everything with aluminum foil, put it on the stove and turned on the heat. The tea and wood smoldered and I worried about the yellow paint from the pencils, but Tom explained that it wasn’t a problem and that the smoke imparted a wonderful flavor to the chicken.

duck c egbert Szechuan Cucumber Pickles & Sesame Noodles

While we waited for the chicken to smoke, we enjoyed a cucumber salad that Tom had learned to make in China, and he described the all-duck banquet in Beijing that marked the end of his trip. He described, in detail, dishes made from duck innards, head, wings and webs. We neglected the wok and concentrated on the salad that was spicy, loaded with garlic, Szechuan peppers and peanuts. Unfortunately, the bamboo steamer that held the chicken above the smoke caught fire and so did the chicken. Our dinner was a bit meager, steamed rice and cucumber salad, but we laughed a lot and I went home with a great recipe for Szechuan Chinese pickles. We call it Tom’s Chinese Cucumber Salad and the recipe is my souvenir from his trip.

On a steamy evening a couple of weeks ago, I made Szechuan Cucumber salad and sesame noodles for dinner and we drank a toast in memory of our friend Tom and his love of exotic food. Here’s how I made it:

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