Cool as a cucumber…uber-cool small plates

Cool and crisp.
Uber cool ideas for summer menus. Small plate elegance. Or savvy daily specials.
The Menu Shoppe has it covered…great tips for great menus.
Cold Cucumber Mint Soup
Cucumber-Mint Chutney Tea Sandwiches
Asian Cucumber Ribbon Salad
Cucumber Aquavit Granita
Cucumber Noodles
Cucumber Lime Pops with Gin
Cucumber Cosmopolitan
For starters…
Cold Cucumber Mint Soup
3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped + 1 cup peeled, seeded, and finely diced cucumber
1 cup plain yogurt
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon English-style dry mustard
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
cucumber slices and mint sprigs for garnish
In a blender puree chopped cucumbers, yogurt, sour cream, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a bowl. Chill soup at least 6 hours or overnight. Stir in finely diced cucumber and chopped mint and garnish soup with cucumber slices and mint sprigs.
Petite and pristine.
Cucumber-Mint Chutney Tea Sandwiches
12 slices white sandwich bread
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mint chutney, drained
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
Arrange 6 of the bread slices on a work surface and spread 1 tablespoon of the mint chutney on each. Top with the sliced cucumber and close the sandwiches. Cut off the crusts, then quarter the sandwiches on the diagonal. Serve.
Asian Cucumber Ribbon Salad
Continuing the shaved trend, plus so airy and elegant…perfect for al fresco treats.
1 1/2 English cucumbers–
(1 1/4 lb total), halved crosswise
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Bring vinegar and sugar to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then cool to room temperature.
Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil.
Cut cucumber lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick ribbons using a mandoline or other manual slicer. Toss cucumber with dressing and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Indulgent intermezzo…
Cucumber Aquavit Granita
3 large English cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup aquavit
1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
Coarsely chop enough of cucumbers to measure 4 1/2 cups and purée in a blender with remaining ingredients in 2 batches until smooth. Pour into an 8- to 9-inch baking pan. Freeze, stirring and crushing lumps with a fork every hour, until evenly frozen, about 4 hours total. Scrape with a fork to lighten texture, crushing any lumps. Serve immediately or freeze, covered, up to 3 days (rescrape to lighten texture again if necessary).
Cucumber Noodles
Side plate, small plate.  Perfect foil for seafood morsels.
3 seedless cucumbers, peeled
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Adjust blade of slicer to 1/8-inch-thick setting. Using slicer, cut each cucumber lengthwise into long 1/8-inch-thick julienne strips, slicing until you reach core, then rotate cucumber a quarter turn and continue slicing and rotating until left with nothing but core. Blanch cucumber “noodles” in a 4-quart pot of boiling salted water 1 minute, then drain in a colander. Immerse colander with cucumbers in a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, about 2 minutes. Drain cucumbers, then transfer to a clean kitchen towel and pat cucumbers dry. Heat butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook cucumbers, mint, salt, pepper, zest, and lemon juice, tossing to coat, until just heated through, about 1 minute.
Cucumber Lime Pops with Gin
Perfect after dinner treat!
One 12-ounce cucumber—
peeled, seeded and pureed (1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup gin
1/2 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with the 1/4 cup of water and the mint and bring to a boil. Cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain the mint syrup into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Whisk in the lime zest, lime juice, gin and cucumber puree. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining 1 tablespoon of water and let stand until softened, 5 minutes. Microwave the mixture at high power for 8 seconds, until the gelatin dissolves. Whisk the gelatin into the cucumber mixture. Arrange ten 2-ounce paper cups on a baking sheet. Pour the popsicle mixture into the cups and freeze for 1 hour, until partially frozen. Insert a stick in the center of each cup and freeze for 30 minutes longer, until fully frozen. Tear off the paper and serve.
…and for sweet sips…
Cucumber Cosmopolitan
2 ounces gin
1 ounce Cointreau or other triple sec
1 ounce white cranberry juice
1/2 ounce Cucumber Water
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 cucumber spear
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
Add all of the remaining ingredients except the cucumber spear and shake well.
Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the cucumber spear.
If it’s on the menu…the Menu Shoppe has it covered.
America’s leading source for restaurant menu covers
This entry was posted in appetizer, bistros, intermezzo, lounges, presentation, salads, small plates, soups, spirits and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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