All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Tom cooks 8: Jabara kyuri no pirikarazuke (Japanese cucumber with tobanjan dressing)

This year, I planted three kyuri cucumber plants instead of the usual two, because no other summer vegetable seedlings were ready at that time. The result is too many cucumbers to eat. We’ve taken way too many to our friends, and we are at the point where we might annoy them if we take more. We need to give our friends a break …

Tom likes spicy jabara kyuri. He never hesitated to eat it whenever I made it. After seeing the overflowing cucumber harvest, he decided to make it himself. This willingness to take action is awesome! Just like my fat cat, who recently voluntarily stopped eating her boss cat’s leftover food (not eating is another form of action, right?).  Anyhow, I see a positive attitude going around in this house.

Tom picked up three cucumbers. At this point, he was not aware that he was going to make thin slices on both sides of each. His selective information-gathering skills effectively block anything inconvenient. Some people call him a pessimist or “doomer,” but to me, he seems super-optimistic about what he is about to face. Or, should I call him naïve?

He scrunched up his face so tightly, he couldn’t even sigh when he finished slicing the three cucumbers.

With a  glorious sense of achievement, he goes, “All right, now I cut them into 3 inches!”

“No, 3 cm,” I said. “It is the width of two fingers.”

Most vegetables are cut into 3-4 cm in Japanese cooking, as this is bite-size for most people. The two-finger width theory is something I learned from a chef. This was apparently easier to envision; Tom kept placing two fingers together as a guide as he cut the cucumbers.

Waiting time with this dish a bit of a stretch. After salting the cucumbers, and you wait again after adding seasonings.

So Tom decided to lightly roast the sakura ebi dried shrimp as well as white sesame seeds. They both gave much more aroma than otherwise.

He probably got the roasting idea when he made basil pesto sauce the other day. Because he didn’t have enough pine nuts, he roasted them for more flavor. Roasting some ingredients really works to enhance the flavor of the end result.

Tom is proud.

Recipe for Tom: Jabara kyuri no pirikarazuke (Japanese cucumber with tobanjan dressing)

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