Simple Ideas - Cucumbers

Garden Fresh Cucumbers

Cucumbers fresh from the garden or farmers market are great.  Chilled and dipped in Ssamjang takes them to a whole new level.

2 to 3 Fresh cucumbers
2 tablespoons Ssamjang*  
Ice
*Quick Ssamjang
   1 tablespoon Gochujang
   1 teaspoon doenjang
   1 teaspoon rice wine, white wine, or rice wine vinegar
   1 clove garlic
   1 teaspoon honey
   ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Ssamjang:
  Smash and fine chop the garlic.
  Mix all Ssamjang ingredients together in a small bowl then cover and chill for at least 15 minutes.

Wash the cucumbers in cold water and peel if desired.
Cut in half from top to bottom and remove the seeds.
Cut each half into three or four "spears".
If the cucumber spears are long, cut the pieces in half cross wise.
Place some ice in a larger serving bowl and lay the spears atop the ice.
Once chilled, serve the cucumber with the ssamjang dip and enjoy the contrast of spicy and cold.




Cold, Sweet & Sour 

Cold and refreshing on those hot days of summer.

2 pounds fresh Korean, Kirby, or English cucumbers (but any variety may be used)
¾ cup rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
1½ cup ice cubes
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 teaspoon sea salt or 3/4 teaspoon table salt
Optional
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small onion
1 small carrot

Wash the cucumbers in cold water.
Peel and cut in half lengthwise, removing seeds if needed.
Thick slice the halves crosswise, put the pieces in a mixing bowl, then sprinkle with the salt, tossing as needed to get all pieces salted.
(Optional Steps)
Mix the sugar with the vinegar and stir until sugar dissolves.
Add the rice wine and stir.
Pour the vinegar mix over the cucumbers cover and let stand in a refrigerator for half an hour.
Pour the liquid from the cucumbers into a blender, add the ice cubes, and blend into a "slushie".
Pour back over the cucumber and serve chilled.

OPTIONAL
Thin slice the garlic from top to bottom.
Peel and wash the onion, cut in half, then medium slice each half.
Peel the carrot, then either shred it, or cut lengthwise and thin slice each half, then cut into "matchsticks".
Put the onion, garlic, and carrot into the bowl with the cucumber, then toss until well mixed.

Sweet, Sour, and Spicy

It's nice with spice -

 2 pounds small or pickling cucumbers
2 green onions
¾ cup vinegar 
¾ cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons  fine ground gochugaru (Korean sundried ground red chilies)
¼ teaspoon chili pepper flakes

Mix the vinegar, water, sugar, and gochugaru, and chili flakes together in a mixing bowl.
Cut the green onion into roughly 1 inch pieces
Cut the ends from the cucumbers.
Cut in half from top to bottom.
Add green onion and cucumber pieces to the mixing bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, mixing occasionally.
Serve chilled.



Simple Ideas - Mu (Korean Radish)

Korean radish is used in soups, stir fry, braises salads, and kimchi. There are also some simple and delicious ways to use them.

1  smaller Korean radish  (about 1 pound)




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