Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cucumber Crush

Have you ever had a girl crush?  Ok ok … I know this sounds SUPER sketchy, but I promise it is MUCH more normal than it seems!  So please, allow me to explain by personal example. 

I first saw Brittney at Wheaton College outside of our dining hall on a summer day while walking to class.  I immediately noticed her cool California style and more importantly the fact that she has three star tattoos on the top of her foot clad in well-worn RAINBOW flip flops.  I secretly always admire people with cool, simple tattoos; mostly because I KIND of wish I was the type of person who could pull them off.  On that day, my girl crush on Brittney was born.  She only got cooler when I found out she was legitimately from California, rather than someone who simply tried to appear as though they were a West Coast native, played water polo, does things like triathlons (once again … things I envy but know I will NEVER … I mean NEVER do), wore white RAINBOWS for her wedding and even had an ice cream station as part of her dessert.  I mean COME ON … can I be any more envious … AN ICE CREAM BAR!  She even served some of the guests clad in a Vera Wang gown!  Oh and if any guys read this blog, she also has decorating themes involving the Nebraska Corn Huskers (ie multiple pictures of the stadium in her family room) and travels to her husband’s native state for every home game during the College Football Season.  Well, Brittney was several grades ahead of me, but by some twist of fate she married someone in my class who MZ interned with and they now live only a few streets from MZ and I!!!  YES … now we are actually friends!  Over the years we have dressed up as different renditions of Lady Gaga for Halloween (costumes that still live in infamy with MZ’s Fox Hunting Association … oh yeah … did I mention my roommate LEGIT fox hunts … more on this in future posts), celebrated birthdays by eating fabulous food … whether homemade or out and about, going on ski weekends in which we literally blew a speaker out of the wall during a sing along, celebrated weddings with the most perfectly hosted showers she catered through whole foods and Molly’s Cupcakes and rung in the New Year with her homemade champagne jello shots topped with pop rocks!  She is one of those people I admire, because she is SO comfortable in her own skin and always up for a good time … oh and has the most amazing clothes compliments of Lululemon!  I just can’t be in a bad mood when I’m with her.  Plus, she embraces my mantra of more food and more drink as the recipe for a perfect gathering and always knows the perfect bottle of wine to order no matter where you are out to eat.  So what does this have to do with cooking???  Well, on a recent trip home Brittney MAY have swung by some of her favorite wineries and MAY have ordered a few too many cases of wine.  And OF COURSE she had the perfect remedy to this situation when her husband said, “REALLY???”  She is hosting a girls’ night wine tasting event where all guests bring an appetizer and she pairs them with a wine.  (Now can you see why I have a girl crush on her?!?!) 

Now if I were to take my crush to the food world, I have a certain obsession with none other than CUCUMBERS!!!  You may think this odd, but it is the perfect vehicle to numerous tasty bites.  I use it in place of chips for things like salsa and guacamole, it adds the perfect crunch to many a sandwich and MZ taught me to use it in Hendricks and tonics instead of a lime!  So what other appetizers could I bring to Brittney’s FABULOUS event than ones incorporating my crushable vegetable?  (Plus I am sick of winter and snow and desiring tastes that remind me of summer.)  So when Maria and I put our heads together we came up with not one but two scrumptious options featuring our beloved cucumber … and let me tell you … neither disappointed!  The party is TONIGHT!!!!  So wish me luck as I debut these to a series of women with discerning palettes!
Shrimp Salad on Cucumber Slices
  • 3/4 lb cooked shrimp, peeled (weight after peeled)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tbsp red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp light or fat free mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp fat free Greek yogurt
  • Goya Adobo seasoning
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 30 thin slices cucumber (about 1 large)
  • chopped chives for garnish

Combine shrimp, celery, onion, mayonnaise, yogurt, and season to taste with
adobo and pepper.
Arrange cucumbers on a platter, season with salt and top each slice with a heaping tablespoon of shrimp salad. Top with chopped chives for garnish.
Dill and Sundried Tomato Cucumber Rolls
  • 3 oz reduced fat or fat free cream cheese
  • 2 spoons crumble tomato basil feta cheese
  • 2 spoons plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, julienne cut
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 large cucumber
  • coarse salt
  • cracked black pepper
Slice the cucumbers very thinly. (I don't have a mandolin so I just used a standard peeler that you use to peel carrots, etc.  And I only cut myself once ... not too bad if I do say so myself!) Lay them out on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt to dry them out.

Combine softened cream cheese, crumbled tomato basil feta cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt, sun dried tomatoes (I MAY have added extra since I love the taste), some chopped fresh dill in a small bowl. Season with coarse salt and cracked black pepper. Stir well.

Blot the cucumbers one last time with a dry paper towel add about a teaspoon of filling. Add a sprig of fresh dill and an extra slice of sundried tomato. Then starting on the thinner side, roll the cucumber around the filling. Secure the seam with a toothpick that has been broken in half. (If you are feeling lazy just jam the whole darn toothpick in ... let's be honest, sometimes we just don't feel like breaking those things in half at the end of the day.)
Savor and ENJOY! 

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