Chicken Burgers with Shallots, Mustard, and Capers; Japanese Cucumber Salad with Cilantro, Mint, and Ginger Rice Wine Vinegar Dressing

By Ira,

This is a very easy and delicious meal. All you need to do is add shallots, mustard, capers, and lemon zest to ground chicken, form it into patties and cook it. For the side dish, cucumbers need to be finely sliced lengthwise, then topped with cilantro, mint, and then the ginger rice wine dressing.

First, prepare the plate of cucumbers, and make the dressing, but don’t pour it over the cucumbers yet. Then make the burgers, and while they’re cooking, prepare the toppings, toast the buns, and drizzle the dressing over the cucumbers.

Chicken Burgers with Shallots, Mustard, and Capers

Serves 4

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons capers, minced
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 generous tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coconut or grapeseed oil
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Plus Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard to serve

In a medium bowl, add the chicken, capers, shallots, dijon, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Mix gently. Form into 4 equal patties.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil, then the patties. If you have a smaller skillet, then you can cook 2 patties at a time. Cook for 5-7 minutes on one side,

flip, and cook the other side for another 5-7 minutes or until well done. Serve with slightly toasted burger buns, and any other toppings you like.

Japanese Cucumber Salad with Cilantro, Mint, and Ginger Rice Wine Vinegar Dressing

Serves 4 – adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef

  • 4 small cucumbers
  • a small handful of mint leaves
  • a small handful of cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1-inch size piece of ginger, grated
  • zest of 1/2 lime

Finley slice the cucumbers using a mandolin, or a potato peeler. Arrange it on a plate. Top it with torn leaves of mint and cilantro.

In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, rice wine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, ginger, and lime zest.

Drizzle the dressing over the cucumbers and serve.

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Malaysian Barbecue-Glazed Grouper, Brown Rice, and Cucumber Salad with Garlic and Ginger

by Jennifer

This dinner was delicious and great for summer;  quick to put together, light, and the salad is very refreshing.  The longest thing is marinating the onions for the salad, which takes an hour;  get those going and then do something else for a bit, say, like make a vodka tonic and check your e-mail, which is what I did…. Dinner serves 4.

Malaysian Barbecue-Glazed Grouper 

I’m fairly certain this recipe comes from Cooking Light magazine, and it calls for halibut, which I couldn’t get, but the grouper substitution came out well.  Depending on the thickness of your fish, you may need to cover the pan after searing the first side to help it cook through faster.  Serve with brown rice.

  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs halibut, grouper, or other firm white fish
  • 1 TBS neutral oil
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBS fresh orange juice
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chile paste with garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cornstarch

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat;  add fish and cook, turning once, until cooked through (fish flakes easily), about 10 minutes total.

Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Boil for 20 seconds,

then brush glaze over fish;  repeat with remaining glaze after you’ve placed fish on dinner plates.

Cucumber Salad with Garlic and Ginger 

This recipe, from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, called for red onion which I didn’t have, so I substituted a small Vidalia onion;  he also has you mash the garlic and ginger with a mortar and pestle, again which I didn’t have, so I finely chopped them both.  It was still fantastic.

  • 3 TBS rice vinegar
  • 2 TBS neutral oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 small red or Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Maldon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lbs cucumbers
  • 1 TBS toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 TBS chopped cilantro

Whisk together vinegar through sesame oil;

add the onions, mix well, and let sit at room temperature for an hour.

Slice the cucumbers lengthwise, and use a spoon to remove the seeds.  If they’re large, slice each half lengthwise, then slice crosswise at an angle, cutting the cucumbers into about 1/4” pieces.

Place cucumbers, remaining ingredients and onions with their marinade in a large bowl and toss well to combine.  Let the salad sit for 10 minutes, then stir well before serving.

Rhubarb Ginger Cooler

by Jennifer

This drink, from Gourmet magazine, is so refreshing and delicious that though the recipe says it serves 12, it takes major willpower to not drink the entire pitcher by myself.  You can make the syrup up to 3 days before serving, or freeze it up to 3 months.

  • 3 1/2 lbs. fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2” – 1” pieces (10 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 TBS chopped, peeled fresh ginger
  • about 2 cups sparkling water

Combine rhubarb, water, sugar and ginger in a large pot;  bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Let simmer for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and let it steep for an hour.

Pour mixture into a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve, gently stirring the solids.

Discard solids and transfer syrup to a pitcher.  To serve, fill glasses with ice, pour syrup in and top with sparkling water.

Broiled Tofu, Scallion-Ginger Fried Rice, and Ginger Garlic Broccoli

By Jennifer

You need to cook the rice for the fried rice ahead of time, even a day or two is fine;  the easiest way to cool it down and keep the rice granules from sticking to each other is to spread it out on a baking sheet, and when it’s cool, dump it in a bowl or tupperware to refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.  The tofu is so simple and versatile;  it can be a main dish with a variety of sides, or you could turn it into a sandwich/burger with your favorite toppings.  If you don’t like tofu, you can substitute broiled chicken or fish.

The tofu serves 3 (sadly, only 3 of the 5 members of my family eat tofu), but you can easily double it.  The rice serves 4 – 6;  the broccoli serves 4.

Broiled Tofu – from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home

Pressing tofu removes the excess water and leaves the tofu with a much firmer, custardy texture.  Place a good layer of paper towels on a plate, place the tofu on top, then put some more paper towels and another plate on top of the tofu.  Top that with something heavy, such as a full tea kettle.  Leave it on the counter for 10 – 30 minutes.  Discard the paper towels, rinse the plates and your tofu is ready to go.   This recipe makes 3 servings, so feel free to double depending on how many people you’re serving  or if you want leftovers.

  • 14 oz. package firm tofu, pressed
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
  • dash or two of Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • 3 – 4 drops sesame oil

Preheat broiler.  Line tray with foil for easier clean-up.  Slice tofu into 3 equal pieces and place on the tray.  Whisk together sauce ingredients.  Pour sauce over tofu, turning pieces so that all sides are coated.  Broil for about 20 minutes, turning tofu over every 5 minutes or so, so that all 4 main sides are crisp and browned.

Scallion-Ginger Fried Rice – adapted from Gourmet magazine

This recipe requires a do-ahead:  cook the rice earlier in the day, or up to two days in advance.  Once the rice finishes cooking, spread it out on a baking sheet to cool, which helps prevent the rice granules from sticking to each other.  Once cool, transfer to a bowl or tupperware and refrigerate until you need it.

Serves 4 – 6;  leftovers are great with leftover broiled tofu (if you make extra) or with some steamed edamame.

  • 3 TBS water
  • 1 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBS peanut oil
  • 3 TBS minced fresh ginger
  • 3 – 4 bunches scallions, enough to make 3 cups chopped scallions
  • 8 oz. fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup rice wine (mirin or sake)
  • 5 cups chilled cooked brown rice (start with 2 cups uncooked rice)

Stir together the water, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Heat the peanut oil in a wok over medium-high heat, until hot but not smoking.

Add the scallions and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the bean sprouts and rice wine;  stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Add the rice and stir-fry until heated through, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Add the soy sauce mixture and toss to coat.

Ginger-Garlic Broccoli – adapted from Cooking Light

Serves 4, though honestly, this was so tasty I’d wished I’d made more!

  • 1 TBS peanut oil
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 lb. broccoli, cut into florets and stalks
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup mirin (rice wine)
  • 1/4 cup water

Heat the peanut oil in a 12” skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.

Add the ginger, garlic and red pepper and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add broccoli and salt;  stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Add the mirin and water, scraping up any browned bits.

Cover and let cook over low heat for 5 minutes.  Remove the cover and toss broccoli with sauce;  it should be bright green and crisp-tender.