Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cheeze filled Cucumber Bites and Sesame Seed, Pickled Ginger and Wasabi Salad Dressing

The weather seems to be returning to the typical Mid-Atlantic hot summer after a few gorgeous and unseasonably cooler days. When the heat returns I tend to prefer more cold and/or raw food. For the mid-day meal with my parents today I decided to make a salad and include a bit of nut cheeze. I had initially planned to make spring rolls but then opted for something more like the dandelion bites. Since I had a cup of almonds soaking in the refrigerator it didn’t take long to whip together a batch of almond feta. This time I reduced the sodium by using a little white miso (maybe a 1 teaspoon) in place of the salt and adding a 1/8 teaspoon of dry mustard and powdered ginger to give the nut cheeze a little more flavor without adding sodium. I thought it worked well.

I sliced a cucumber on my mandoline and filled the end with a dollop (about ½ tablespoon of the nut cheeze and added julienned radish and carrot. Since I had snow pea shoots in the frig I added those as well and rolled the cucumber around the filling and secured it with a toothpick.

To go with the cucumber bites I made a green salad with an Asian dressing. I shredded romaine, red cabbage, julienned radish, carrot and cucumber and tossed that with a simple dressing. Here is the dressing recipe:

Raw sesame seed, pickled ginger and wasabi salad dressing
Serves 4


½ cup raw sesame seeds (presoak the seeds or use tahini if not using a high powered blender)
1 tablespoon pickled ginger
1 tablespoon mirin
½ tablespoon liquid aminos
½ teaspoon wasabi powder, or to taste
approximately ½ cup water (or what is necessary to achieve a smooth pourable texture)


Combine the ingredients except the water in your blender. Add ½ the water and process the ingredients. If you want a thinner sauce slowly add more water until you achieve the texture you like. Allow the dressing to sit for 5 – 10 minutes so the wasabi flavor can develop. Now taste the dressing and add wasabi to the level you desire. If you add more wasabi wait 5 minutes again for the flavor to develop so the wasabi does not overpower the dressing. Refrigerate the dressing in a closed container until needed.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 173.15
Calories From Fat (67%) - 116.74

Total Fat - 14.42g
Saturated Fat - 2.02g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 143.62mg
Potassium - 159.47mg
Total Carbohydrates - 9.79g
Fiber - 2.85g
Sugar - 0.03g
Protein - 5.39g


This is a nice subtle Asian flavored dressing. I intentionally held back on the wasabi since my mother doesn’t like spicy food. Needless to say if this were just for Dan and I there would have been more wasabi. But that is easy to adjust as long as you remember to add a little wait 5 minutes for the flavor to develop then taste before adding more.

If you aren’t using a high powered blender to make this dressing you can soak the sesame seeds first or use tahini instead. I would probably soak the seeds before trying the tahini but either should work.

Dinner last night:

Since I had leftover brown basmati rice in the refrigerator I used that last night for dinner. I tossed the cold cooked rice with salsa, diced artichoke hearts and tomatoes. This rice topped shredded romaine and I finished the salad with raw pumpkin seeds for a little crunch.

To go with this we had a big bowl on cantaloupe.

Farmers’ market:

We started our morning with our usual trip to the farmers’ market in downtown Baltimore. As always we bought a small mountain of produce. This morning we bought: collards, beets, watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet corn, eggplant, cucumber, zucchini, tomatoes (red and yellow), peaches, blackberries, and Roma tomatoes (to dehydrate). It doesn’t sound like a lot but we bought large quantities of the items I mentioned. In the end we came out of the market with six reusable grocery bags filled with produce for the two of us.

Breakfast this morning:

When we got home from the market we decided to have a big bowl of fruit this morning. I included cantaloupe chunks, diced kiwi, diced peach, a few blackberries and topped that with a few chia seeds to help us absorb the fat soluble vitamins and provide omega 3 fatty acids. We had intended to have something more for breakfast but we were both full after the big bowl of fruit.

Lunch today:

The bowl of fruit wasn’t substantial enough to keep us full from 8am to the 3pm meal with my parents so we decided to get something else to eat around noon. We started with a small bowl of leftover tomato soup with brown rice to which I added artichoke hearts to change the flavor.

To go with the soup I made a simple salad of romaine, salsa, avocado and marinated mushrooms. I like to add mushrooms where ever I can for their antiproliferative properties.

Unrelated notes:

Today has been a low key day, which is a good description of many of our weekends. Dan and I kicked back and spent some time watching “When Harry Met Sally”, our favorite movie. This made me think of a question for all of you. What is your all time favorite movie line? Mine is, “I’ll have what she is having” from the movie today. I laugh every time I hear or think about that movie line.

This week is going to be a little more busy than usual but I will try to keep up with photographing and posting our meals since a few of you have indicated that is useful for you in terms of ideas. I would have thought you would be tried to seeing pictures of salad by now. ;-)

I need to go and do a little research on new phone systems. Our Siemens landline phones have not been misbehaving recently. We have had this system about 10 years so it doesn’t owe us anything. But I need to do some research to figure out what replacement to buy. We have become spoiled by some the features in the phone and need the new system to have those same options.

Talk to you all again tomorrow. I hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend.


  1. the fruit salad pictures came out beautifully Alicia, i dont get sick of anything you put up:) buuutt i know its a lot of work, you just do what you have time for!!

    for the life of me i cant rememebr lines from movies or songs etc. even if i just watched it!!

  2. Michelle,

    The fruit salad was colorful wasn't it?

    That was very sweet of you to say. I am trying to at least photograph what we eat to post. Good thing too it is what reminds me of what we ate so I can write the description, LOL.

    I love movie lines, and particularly that one from "When Harry Met Sally." That movie just cracks me up.

    I hope you are having a good weekend,

  3. I am not a big movie line person, there are only a few I remember like "Slippery little suckers. Happens all the time ma'am" from Pretty Woman when she shoots the escargot into waiters hand and Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, "There's no crying in baseball." Funny what you pick and remember...

  4. Heather,

    LOL, I remember both of those lines. I think the delivery of the Hanks line was the best part. He is such a talented actor.

    thanks for playing along,

  5. Those cucumber rolls are so pretty, and the dressing sounds really good; I lurve pickled ginger. Those fruit salads look really delish too.

  6. Rose,

    I do like to make little bites of food. Clearly I am a appetizer girl, LOL.

    I love pickled ginger too. Not sure what tempted me to add it to salad dressing, but it was good. Apparently I was in a play with my food mood today. ;-)

    I hope you had a good weekend,

  7. The food pix are stunning. Must quit reading foods blogs when hungry.

  8. WOW...everything looks amazing! Never had pickled ginger...sounds interesting though. :o)

  9. All I can say is YUM! When I have more of a kitchen I'm going to start experimenting with some of your recipes! Until then, I'll be a simple cook:)

  10. JL,

    Reading food blogs does tend to make me hungy too. ;-)

    thanks for the compliment,

  11. Michelle,

    Pickled ginger is the pink condiment that comes with sushi. It is more mild than raw ginger with an acidic background. I love the stuff.

    Thanks for the compliment; I appreciate it,

  12. Aimee,

    Believe it or not I have a very tiny kitchen like you would see in a Manhattan flat though ..... my gadgets have overflowed into a large butler's pantry. I understand the lack of space all too well. I hope your next kitchen is larger. That would be heaven. ;-) Besides your dishes always look and sound great. I don't think the lack of space has been a problem for you either. You are being too modest.



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