Monday Reviews-Sara Foster’s Casual Cooking

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Monday Reviews

When I think about cucumbers, two things come to mind. The first is middle school spa days which were reserved for only the most elite sleepovers. My friends and I would buy an assortment of goop to put on our faces, toe separators for our pedicures, and cucumbers to put on our “puffy” eyes (7th grade is seriously stressful). The other is lunch with my mom. I’m not sure if she just didn’t like to take the time to make lunch or just liked simple meals so she could save room for dinner. Either way she had an arsenal of quick lunches she would make for us, bologna sandwiches, tuna salad, celery with cream cheese and paprika, and my favorite, cucumber salad. She would take a plastic bag add chopped cucumbers, white vinegar, and pepper. She would shake it up and put it in the fridge for 10 minutes. When they emerged the cucumbers were cold, tart, and crisp. I couldn’t get enough. Sometimes they were my after school snack and other times I would cut up an entire cucumber and eat it for lunch. Either way it was, and still is one of my favorite snacks.

I read this cookbook while on our North Carolina trip. Sara Foster owns the popular Foster’s Market in Durham, North Carolina so I have heard plenty of good things about her. When I started reading I was first intrigued by the way the chapters were set up, for instance “Anytime Eggs” “Party Platters” and “Quesadillas, Tacos, Tostados, and Pizzas”. I liked immediately that Sara didn’t feel the need to stay inside the confines of the traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner chapters. Mixed into these chapters she also had helpful recipes like, “ten tasty vinaigrettes” and “quick things to do with a bag of spinach”. I don’t know about you, but I can name at least ten times I’ve had to throw away a half full container of wilted, slimy spinach because I didn’t know what else to do with it. While her cookbook is not the most beautiful one on the market, her recipes are thoughtful, simple, quick, and so delicious. This is one of my new favorite books and I will be recommending this one to all my friends. It is perfect for new grads, bachelors, or anyone just learning to cook. 

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This recipe reminds me of my moms cucumbers with a few additions. It’s simple but impressive enough to make for a nice summer dinner.

Recipe from Sara Foster’s Casual Cooking by Sara Foster

Classic Cucumber Salad
Serves 4-6

•       1 hothouse seedless cucumber, peeled in strips and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
•       3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
•       2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
•       2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill, cilantro, or mint
•       Grated zest and juice of one lime
•       1 teaspoon sugar
•       Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the cucumber, vinegar, olive oil, dill (or cilantro or mint), lime zest and juice, and sugar in a medium bowl and toss to mix. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to chill. Just before serving, season the salad to taste with salt and pepper and toss again.

RTK note: My cucumbers let off a lot of liquid while sitting in the fridge and I had to drain them before serving, you might want to do the same to avoid puddles on your plate.

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