Monday, July 2, 2012

Garbanzo bean and cucumber salad for a hot summer day

There is no question summer is here. Our temperature hits 98 degrees F today. When I left my office, my car is really 102. With 70% humidity, this is no island weather. I would say this is closer to summer in Central, Hong Kong verse Honolulu or Singapore.

Summer is also a busy time. Mr Wonderful and I try very hard to get to his lake place in Northern Minnesota. It's peaceful and we enjoy taking the boat out on the lake and spend a day of doing nothing.

Cooking is always an issue at the Lake. It's a very small place and I try not to "heat" up the place too much. We tend to grill a lot and use the grill burner for most of our meal. He is always thoughtful that he would do all the cooking. Lake time is supposed to be "do nothing" time. I need to come up with a few things that we can "grab and go" for picnic on the boat.

Here is one that we will be having this week. It is a simple recipe that requires minimal cooking. It can be adapted to be cooked outdoor. This is also a great made-ahead meal. I made a vegan recipe here. Mr Wonderful has been a good sport that he eats whatever I feed him. I will change this back to a meat-eater version by adding up cut rotisserie chicken breast. I am pretty proud to say that he has never eaten so much vegetable in his life and he is not complaining... yet...

Summer Garbanzo beans and cucumber salad

2 can of garbanzo beans, drained thoroughly
6 small persian cucumber or 2 seedless English cucumber, diced into 1/2" pieces
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp thyme
1 medium onion - chopped
1 tsp crushed garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp maple sugar or honey (to taste)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium size pan, heat a couple tbsp olive oil. Add garlic, fennel seeds, caraway seeds and thyme over medium heat
Let the spice toast up while the onion become translucent
Toss in gabanzo beans. Lower heat to low and let it cook for a few mins to let the liquid from the bean dry up. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cook for 5 mins.
In a small bowl, mix lime juice with sugar. Stir unless dissolved and mixed in
Drizzle in olive oil. Whisk/mix well. Add balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper
Transfer the beans to a large bowl, toss in cubed cucumber
Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Mix well. Refrigerate the salad for about an hour to  let the flavor blend.
Serve as a side dish or a main course with some toss greens

To make this more filling for non-vegetarian, add 1 cup of chopped store bought rotisserie chicken with the cucumber. Drizzle with dressing and refrigerate.

Serve 6 as a main course


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