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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cool as a Cucumber

When I finally got the chance to cook this week, I wanted to make something to remind me of the warm weather we should be experiencing.  Unfortunately, it's been cool and rainy lately so I needed to create springtime in my kitchen.

For the main course, I made the sorts of things that are easy to throw together quickly: meatloaf and cous cous.  Don't laugh, but I love meat loaf and I don't really get why so many people hate on it.  I made both of the items more interesting by changing up the ingredients so I would wind up with more/different flavor without spending any additional time on the meal.  For the meatloaf, I used lamb instead of beef, added goat cheese to the mix, and topped with a mediterranean red pepper spread instead of the usual ketchup/brown sugar.  Simple swaps, but I wound up with a completely new dish.  For the cous cous, I tossed in dried cranberries and pine nuts just as it finished cooking.  I'm not usually a fan of fruit mixed in with the savory items, but I'm really starting to warm to it - this, in particular, was very good.

The appetizer is where I was really going for the Springtime vibe.  Knowing I wanted to make this appetizer is the reason I went to the grocery store in the first place.  The rest of the meal, though good, was just filler.  I know that's how people usually think about cucumber - as filler, a mere flavorless crunch on top of their salad or in their sushi.  I, on the other hand, happen to love cucumber.  Is refreshing a flavor?  Because cucumber just screams refreshing.  I put a bunch of cucumber in a blender with a little avocado and greek yogurt and pureed til smooth.  The pastel green looked gorgeous and calming against the white bowl.  I garnished with very thinly sliced radishes and a few shrimp.  This is a great way to start any Spring/Summer meal and can be made in less than the time it takes waiting for the main course to finish cooking.

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