Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I've hung up my dress-for-success clothes, and pulled my domestic "genes" out of storage.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

SMASHED CUCUMBERS WITH SESAME OIL AND GARLIC





Chinese Smashed Cucumbers With Sesame Oil and Garlic | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


Do you have a good Chinese restaurant near you?
Sadly, we don't.
Maybe we're spoiled, having lived in New York City for so long,
where access to great Chinese food is just an elevator ride away 
(no matter what elevator you're in, anywhere in the city).
For the last 14 years in NJ, we've been searching, but to no avail.
The Chinese restaurants around here are so mediocre, 
that we rarely ever go.  
 
We've suffered through......

  Oodles of pasty cold sesame noodles,
  Our fair share of too-rare spare ribs,
A crock of over-wok'd bok choy,  
A ton of tastless, no-fun-at-all chow fun,
A slew of moo shu that the Goo Shoes family found tough to chew,
and endless quarts of over-salted wonton soup that left us not wantin' more.


Chinese Smashed Cucumbers With Sesame Oil and Garlic | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

And, then, our friends across the Hudson River asked us to come with them 
to their favorite Chinese restaurant in Hartsdale, NY,
promising that it would not disappoint.
They talked it up like crazy,
saying that it was "authentic" Chinese food,
just like they had on their many business trips to Hong Kong. 
After all that hype, we never thought it could live up to expectations.
Oh, but it did!

Since then we've been there dozens of times.
It's a good half-hour away, and we almost always go with those same two friends.  
The four of us order tons of food to share --
lots of appetizers, and maybe one entree.
No matter who the waiter is, the look we get is always the same:
"You're going to eat all of that?"
Yes. Yes we are.

And we do.     

We order: 

steamed dumplings
soup dumplings  
pan-fried dumplings
house special buns
scallion pancakes  
mei fun 
crispy rice style chicken

and, we always start with....

spicy crispy cucumber salad

Chinese Smashed Cucumbers With Sesame Oil and Garlic | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Left to our own devices, Mr. Goo Shoes and I would never have 
given cucumbers more than a passing glance 
in a Chinese restaurant,  
but our friends wanted to order it, so we politely agreed.

And now, it's a must-have every time we go. 
It's crunchy, and refreshing, and has just the right amount of spice.     
We feel like we're eating something healthy
to balance out all of the calories in the other dishes.

The cucumber salad is so good, I often find myself craving it. 
When I saw a recipe in the New York Times for  
Smashed Cucumbers with Sesame Oil and Garlic,
it sounded like what we order in the restaurant.
I had to give it a try, and, it was pret-ty, pret-ty close!    
It was delicious 
(I concur with the 447 raters that gave it 5 stars).
  Just as importantly, it's as easy as yî, èr, sân
(that's 1, 2, 3 in Chinese). 

Chinese Smashed Cucumbers With Sesame Oil and Garlic | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

NOTE: The recipe from the NY Times makes a lot of cucumber salad. 
Keep in mind that this tastes best when served immediately.
Unless you are making it for your entire neighborhood, 
you may want to do what I did. 
I made the full amount of dressing, but used only half the amount of cucumbers. 
I refrigerated the leftover dressing, and then prepared 
the rest of the cucumbers the next day.
 This was much better than making the entire batch at once,
 as it is not as crunchy on day 2.  

Chinese Smashed Cucumbers With Sesame Oil and Garlic | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Chinese Smashed Cucumbers With Sesame Oil and Garlic
(Recipe by Julia Moskin, New York Times)

This makes a lot of cucumber salad. See my note, above.

About 2 pounds thin-skinned cucumbers like English or Persian (8-10 mini cucumbers, 4 medium size or 2 large greenhouse).
1 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for cucumbers
2 teaspoons granulated sugar, plus more for cucumbers
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grapeseed, or extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced or put through a press 
Red pepper flakes to taste
Small handful whole cilantro leaves for garnish
2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Rinse cucumbers and pat dry. Cut crosswise into pieces about 4 inches long. Cut each piece in half lengthwise.

On a work surface, place a piece of cucumber (or several) cut side down. Lay the blade of a large knife flat on top of the cucumber and smash down lightly with your other hand. The skin will begin to crack, the flesh will start to break down and the seeds will separate. Repeat until the whole piece is smashed. Break or slice diagonally into bite-size pieces, leaving the seed behind.

Place the cucumber pieces in a strainer and toss with a big pinch of salt and a big pinch of sugar. Place a plastic bag filled with ice on top of the cucumbers to serve as a weight. Place the strainer over a bowl. Let drain 15-30 minutes on the counter, or in the refrigerator until ready to serve, up to four hours.

Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine salt, sugar and rice vinegar. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Stir in sesame oil and soy sauce. 

When ready to serve, shake cucumbers well to drain off any remaining liquid and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with grapeseed or olive oil and toss. Add half the dressing, half the garlic and red pepper flakes to taste, and toss. Keep adding dressing until cucumbers are well-coated but not drowned. Taste and add more red pepper flakes and garlic if needed. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro, and sesame seeds, if desired. 


Chinese Smashed Cucumbers With Sesame Oil and Garlic | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 Bon Appetit....or perhaps I should say........


丰盛的胃口
Fēngshèng de wèikǒu

LINKING WITH:

9 comments:

  1. I've seen that restaurant but have never tried it. Perhaps it should be our next 'meet for lunch' place?

    I actually have all the ingredients to make this except the cilantro, and you can bet I'll pick that up as soon as I go to the market next. I love cucumbers! Would you believe hubby won't eat them? That's ok, more for me :)

    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  2. It sounds wonderful. We have so many excellent Chinese Restaurants here in So CA. Will order it next time I go. Thanks so much for this great item.

    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is something I must try. Sounds like a great restaurant. I don't think we've had a good Chinese dinner for a long time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very interesting dish....hmmm cucumbers from a Chinese restaurant? We do have a pretty good Chinese restaurant on the same block where we live but it does not have any of the dishes you order at your restaurant! Besides, I always get Chinese vegetables with garlic sauce because I don't know what to order....and I am afraid to try other dishes :-( This sounds really good.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Amy, wow these smashed cucumbers sound so good! I will have to make this sometime.
    Have a lovely week.
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  6. Those smashed cucumbers look and sound great.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yum! Thanks for sharing this recipe. It's something I'll try this summer when cucumbers are abundant.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's not yet cucumber season here, but as I love them, I'm definitely going to try tis recipe in a few weeks!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This sounds wonderful, Amy! I need to try it. We haven't had any Chinese since moving to Dallas ... need to change that. :)

    ReplyDelete