Vegan Sweet and Spicy Spiralized Cucumber Salad with Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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OK – kiddies!  Product review time!  My first ever!!   My Spiral Slicer was gifted to me for the purpose of review & I won the tabletop one in a contest.  So – they were both free for me.    The Paderno one with the cookbook (below) retails for about $50.

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My Spiral Slicer (above) retails for about $14.

I decided to try this Sweet & Spicy Spiralized Cucumber Salad to experiment with both devices.

I tried the table-top one first – because I was very excited about it.  It comes with different blades to achieve different stylized veggie results.  I am embarrassed to report that I could not get this to work at all.  I felt too inept & stupid & I was making the salad for a Memorial Day BBQ & I was in a hurry & frustrated and, I must confess, perhaps did not give this beauty the proper patience.  But – the instability of the item kept giving me visions of my fingers being spiralized & I could never seem to get the cucumber to line up right with the blade. Exasperated – I moved on to the hand-held gadget.

My results with this bad boy were immediate & satisfying.  I just stuck the cucumber in there & twisted & cucumber noodles just kept pouring out.   Clearly, this model does not have the versatility of the tabletop jobby – and it requires phallic-shaped veggies to twist into the vortex but – if zucchini or cucumber or carrot noodles are you primary aspirations – I say go with this guy.   The price alone assures that you won’t overspend on a trendy device that just takes up room in your cabinets – because it also has the added advantage of its tiny, easy-to-store size.

I will return to the tabletop one on a day I am under less pressure & give it a more fair shot – and report back.  Never fear!

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The salad itself was a huge success.  It is pretty & light & was a huge hit with my guest who loathes all things creamy – including dressings.  “Now THIS is a salad!” he declared upon tasting it.  It really is a yummy salad with the benefit of both a sweet flavor & a tiny bite of spice.  And I am always a fan of ways to use arugula.

Vegan Sweet and Spicy Spiralized Cucumber Salad with Arugula & Cherry Tomatoes

serve 4

INGREDIENTS

A spiralizer

4 large English (hothouse) cucumbers (less seedy)

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes – halved (I used heirloom)

2 large handfuls arugula

2 TBS Champagne vinegar or red wine vinegar

4 TBS olive oil

1 tsp (or more) crushed red pepper

1 TBS honey or agave nectar

1 orange – juiced

1/2 tsp garlic powder

S&P to taste

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Directions:

  1. Place a cucumber into the spiralizer, and follow the directions listed on the package until you have cucumber noodles. Repeat with the remaining cucumbers.
  2. To a large bowl, add all the cucumber noodles along with the tomatoes and arugula.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients to make the dressing.
  4. Using a wire whisk, mix the dressing until all the ingredients are incorporated, and pour over the top of the cucumber noodles.
  5. Toss the cucumber noodles very well, making sure they are all coated with the dressing.
  6. Transfer to a serving plate, and serve immediately.

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Brie Quesadilla with Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey-Soaked Cherries

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey cherry idea was my boyfriend’s.  He loves my Jack Daniels Whiskey & Honey Glazed Carrots – a lot.  When I ran a few of my quesadilla ingredients by him (one using Coca Cola & another using balsamic vinegar) – he suggested something with this whiskey.  So – essentially – I made the exact recipe but with fresh cherries instead of carrots.  It is outrageous!  I used it in this quesadilla but it would be incredible on anything from salmon to chicken to ice cream.   Crazy yummy!  Maybe just pour it over a wedge of brie & serve it with a crusty bread.  Ymmmmm!

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Brie Quesadilla with Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey-Soaked Cherries

INGREDIENTS

Tortillas

Brie – sliced thin

1 cup fresh cherries – pitted

2 TBS butter

1 TBS brown sugar

3 sprigs of thyme – leaves only

1/4 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey

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DIRECTIONS

Melt one of the tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over high heat.  Add cherries and thyme & stir – sauteing them for 2-3 min.  Remove the cherries to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add the whiskey & let it saute for 30-45 seconds.  Reduce heat & melt the remaining tablespoon of butter.  Add the brown sugar & stir to combine.  Once a glaze begins to form – a minute or two – add the cherries back to the pan & stir to get them coated in glaze.  Cook another minute or two & set aside.

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Then – simply assemble the quesadilla the normal way.  Heat a dry pan.  Place a tortilla in it.  Layer the brie & some of the cherries & fold the tortilla.  I use a put lid to apply pressure & trap the heat.  After a minute or two – flip the quesadilla.  When golden on both sides – unceremoniously shove it in your face and commence to making another!

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Leftover Hoppin’ John Fritters with Heirloom Tomato & Avocado Salsa

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

Follow @celisemccarthy

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

I made enough Hoppin’ John to cater a friggin’ party.  I’ve been eating it since a few days before New Year’s & I froze some & I still have more than I can possibly eat.  I had to find a way to reinvent these black eyed peas so that I could keep eating them & not waste any.  Necessity – the mother of invention.  Let me present to you – Hoppin’ John Fritters with a delicious tomato & avocado salsa!!!

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Very easy & really delicious.  I served it with leftover white rice & I was quite delighted with myself.  I also made myself little fried green tomato & mozzarella towers – but I will post that recipe later this week.

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Leftover Hoppin’ John Fritters with Heirloom Tomato & Avocado Salsa

INGREDIENTS

Makes about ten fritters

2 cups Hoppin’ John (black-eyed peas)

1/4 cup flour (I used a gluten free variety)

1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used panko AND regular ones)

1 cup additional breadcrumbs

1 egg

SALSA

DOUBLE (maybe even triple) THIS SALSA RECIPE if you are serving all ten fritters.

1 large avocado – diced

1/2 jalapeno – diced fine (optional)

1/2 heirloom tomato – diced

12 cherry or grape tomatoes – quartered

juice of 1/2 lime

drizzle of olive oil

cilantro – chopped (for salsa & garnish)

S&P to taste

oil for frying (I used cheap olive oil)

DIRECTIONS

For the Fritters:

Put two cups of Hoppin’ John in a bowl & mash them up a bit with a potato masher.  Blend in the flour, egg and 1/2 cup bread crumbs.  Form into patties (I got 10 out of this quantity) and press each patty into the remaining bread crumbs to coat all sides.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or more) to let them solidify a bit.

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Meanwhile, for the salsa:

Try to get different color cherry or grape tomatoes & a different color heirloom tomato for a pretty salsa.  Simply mix all the ingredients except for the avocado.  Add that just before serving.

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Take your fritters from the fridge.  I pressed a little extra bread crumbs into them.  Heat the olive oil and carefully place your fritters in – a few at a time.  Fry until they are golden (2 minutes or so) & turn.  When evenly browned – remove & place on a warm pan in the oven until all your fritters are done.

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Served topped with salsa, fresh cilantro & a nice side of rice!

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