Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Garlic Scented Lima Beans
Fennel, Feta, Mint, Oregano, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil

Cool-crisp Persian cucumbers and creamy-buttery lima beans make a delightful summer duo. Fennel adds a bright crunch with a sweet, nutty anise flavor.

The large limas by Lompoc Beans are sold at our local Torrance Farmers Market. They are also available online. Grown in Santa Barbara County, the beans cook up beautifully smooth and tender.

Soak 2 cups of beans in water for 4 1/2 hours then drain. Place beans in a pot and add fresh cold water to cover by 2 inches. Add 4 smashed garlic cloves. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer, cook uncovered, for one hour. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Cook al dente (soft but not mushy), taste a few beans for doneness. Drain. Set aside to serve at room temperature.

It’s a fun salad to compose. Put cucumber chunks in a roomy ziplock bag and smash with a mallet. Squeeze lemon juice and drizzle fruity olive oil into the bag. Add shaved fennel and toss the bag to coat the veggies with the dressing. Let marinate for 10 minutes.

Smashed Cucumber Salad Composition

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Jazz Up Store-Bought Hummus, Three Ways

Jazz Up Store-Bought Hummus, Three Ways

Hummus and Pita

Take ordinary (high quality) store-bought hummus and pita to another level. Easily jazz it up for guests with a few items from the garden and the pantry. Edible flowers, lemon, herbs & spices, olive oil, nuts – with very little effort, anything colorful and tasty can take the ubiquitous dip over-the-top for entertaining.

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Linguine, Arugula Pesto, Edible Flowers

Linguine Arugula Pesto

Linguine with Arugula Pesto
Arugula Flowers and Borage Flowers

Arugula flowers taste just like the leaves, but maybe slightly less peppery and with an interesting hint of sweetness. They make a mighty tasty garnish for such a delicate little white blossom.

Borage flowers have much less flavor, only a whisper of cucumber taste, but what they lack in flavor they make up in color. Because the flavor is mild, borage can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, and they make any presentation pop!

arugula and borage

With Spring in full force, my garden is bursting with arugula and borage…and since they are growing side-by-side, I thought I would combine them in a pasta dish.

Arugula leaves make a peppery pesto so I lower the volume and balance the flavor with the addition of cilantro and mint. Those who are not fans of cilantro can combine the arugula with another mild-tasting herb, such as parsley.

Linguine Arugula Pesto Recipe

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Arugula Borage Salad, Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Arugula and Borage Salad

Arugula and Borage Salad
Feta, Pomegranate Arils, Pistachio Slivers
Pomegranate Vinaigrette

It’s April and the borage is blooming! These electric blue star-shaped flowers have a mild cucumber taste and a soft texture. They make a striking addition to any salad.

Here, peppery arugula is accented with borage, giving the salad a distinctive visual emphasis. Feta brings salty-tangy-creamy notes while sweet-sour pomegranate arils add another layer of jewel-like color and a crunchy texture. Pistachios add that distinctive nutty flavor.

Pomegranate vinaigrette ties it all together with sweet-savory-zippy characteristics. Serve the dressing on the side for better presentation. Pair this lovely spring salad with a glass of rosé, of course.

Salad

  • arugula
  • borage
  • olive oil
  • pomegranate arils
  • feta, crumbled
  • pistachio slivers
  • salt and pepper

Toss arugula lightly with olive oil. Gently toss in the flowers. Place salad on serving plates and top with pomegranate arils, feta, and pistachio slivers. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a few more flowers on top.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. pomegranate molasses
  • 2 T. rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 2 t. dijon mustard
  • 1 t. garlic, minced
  • 1 T. shallot, minced
  • salt and pepper

Combine ingredients in a jar and shake well. Serve vinaigrette in a small glass pitcher on the side.

How to Prepare Borage for Food

Unfortunately I see many photographs of borage flowers in food with the sepals still attached. The reddish-brown sepals are covered with bristly hairs, they are not something you would want to eat in a salad.

Borage

To separate the corolla from the sepals, simply pinch the middle of the star and pull. Rinse the flowers in a bowl of cool water to remove any dirt or little bugs.

Eat Flowers, Be Happy

Here is a link to all of my Edible Flower posts, photos, and recipes.

Ahi Poke and Sustainable Seafood

Ahi Poke and Seared Ahi

Hawaiian Ahi Poke and Seared Ahi

As food photographer for the upcoming 4th Annual Sustainable Seafood Expo, I had the opportunity to meet Shane Yoshimoto of Ali’i Fish Company and photograph (and taste!) his fabulous Hawaiian ahi dishes.

We are so excited for the upcoming grand-opening of Ali’i Fish in downtown Los Angeles where always-fresh Hawaiian seafood is expertly prepared to let the pristine nature of the fish shine through.

Quality, taste, sustainability, and authenticity are all hallmarks of Ali’i seafood. Raw fish has the potential to cause foodborne illness, so the sourcing, handling, and processing are of utmost importance to them.

Recently, the classic Hawaiian raw fish dish “poke” has exploded in popularity here on the mainland. Unfortunately, much of the raw tuna is imported and many foreign fishing fleets are not held to the same standards as U.S. fleets. To make a more healthful choice and to support sustainability, be sure to check the source of the tuna you choose to eat.

Shane says, “Ali’i Fish Company was founded with the idea of serving high quality, authentic poke and seafood dishes. Many of our ingredients are flown directly from Hawaii and our fish is always fresh and never frozen or treated with carbon monoxide gas.  We believe in sourcing from sustainable fisheries such as Hawaii and supporting US product when made available.  With over 40 years of combined seafood experience in Hawaii, not one aspect of our process goes unnoticed.”

Their Sesame Onion Ahi Poke will be served at the Sustainable Seafood Expo on October 1st. I’m very grateful to Shane for sharing his superb recipe here on Taste With The Eyes.

Sustainable Seafood

According to Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch yellowfin tuna caught in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) with handlines is a “Best Choice.” Yellowfin stocks are depleted everywhere except in the WCPO. Handlines have very low bycatch, and no species of concern are caught by this fishery.

Yellowfin and bigeye tuna caught in Hawaii’s Eastern Central Pacific Ocean (ECPO) with deep-set longlines is a “Good Alternative.” Hawaiian fleets have lower bycatch than international longline fisheries because of tougher U.S. regulations.

Ali’i Fish Co. Ahi Poke Recipe

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Fluke, Cucumber, Candied Orange

Fluke, Cucumber, Candied Orange

Fluke, Cucumber, Candied Orange
Thai Chili, Scallion, Olive Oil, Lemon

There is beauty and simplicity in this raw dish. It is a balancing act of sweet and savory, fiery chili and chilly fluke, white fish and colorful accompaniments, rich buttery oil and sour lemon juice, crunchy cucumber and chewy candied orange.

A member of the flounder family – fluke has a clean, delicate, fresh taste that is excellent served raw with olive oil and citrus juice. Candied orange slices bring a sweet-tart unexpected counterbalance to the dish.

Fluke Crudo Recipe

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