Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Perfect Poached Eggs

My friend Heather recently taught me how to poach eggs, and I've been totally addicted to them ever since!  They really make the perfect lunch along with whatever you have floating around in the fridge.  I especially like those amazingly oozy, gooey egg yolks that spill out over everything else on your plate - yum!  Here I've paired a couple of poached eggs with hot sauce and grated Cheddar, a simple spinach salad, roasted asparagus, and mango pulled pork.

If you've never made poached eggs before, you should definitely give it a try - it's one of those things that seems really intimidating until you actually do it!  Bring a big pot of water to a boil along with a splash of white vinegar.  Crack an egg into a little bowl.  Once the water is boiling, stir in in a circular pattern with a couple of chopsticks to get it moving.  Carefully slide in the egg, and then gently keep the water moving for a few seconds with the chopsticks - you'll get some pieces of egg white scattered around, but don't stress about them.  You can also add another egg at this point if you want two eggs.  Let the eggs simmer for about a minute, and then poke them a bit with a slotted spoon to make sure the whites are set but the yolks are still soft.  When the eggs are done to your liking, pull them out with a slotted spoon.  Shake off any extra water, and then plop them on your plate and season with salt and whatever else you like (I'm a fan of hot sauce!).  Give it a try - it's definitely a skill worth having!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chickpea and Artichoke Masala

This chickpea curry uses a technique I haven't used before - a puree of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and fresh ginger forms the base of the curry along with lots of fragrant spices and just a little bit of yogurt. The result is a super-flavorful curry that's perfect with naan or rice - it's got complex flavors that taste like they took a long time to develop, despite a start-to-finish time of only 35-45 minutes.  It's also not at all spicy, so it's a perfect curry for those who like the flavors but don't enjoy the spice of many curries.  (Of course, if you prefer a spicy curry, you can certainly add some chilies - I'd probably add a couple of halved serranos with the onion-tomato paste, let them simmer with the curry, and then pull them out at the end just before serving.)  I love the inclusion of artichoke hearts here - I don't think I've ever had them in a curry, and they may not be very traditional, but they're certainly a tasty addition, contributing a slightly tart flavor.  Be sure to buy the sort canned in water without lots of additional spices or flavorings (I used Trader Joe's brand). 

Chickpea and Artichoke Masala (adapted from Aarti Party)
Serves 4-6

2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 large red onions, peeled and very coarsely chopped
6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Oil for the pan
2 tsp cumin seed
2 tsp ground coriander
1-1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
1-1/2 T lime juice
2 14- to 15- ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 14- to 15- ounce cans artichoke hearts in water, drained, rinsed, and very coarsely chopped
Kosher salt
1/2 cup water

1. Place the garlic and ginger in a food processor and process until as smooth as possible.  Add the onions and tomatoes and blend until smooth (you may need to scrape down the sides a few times).
2. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the pan.  Once the oil shimmers, add the cumin seeds.  When they have stopped popping, add the onion-tomato paste and saute until it thickens and deepens in color, about 10 minutes.  If the sauce isn't as smooth as you'd like it at this point, you can use an immersion blender to puree it further.
3. Add the coriander, garam masala, paprika, and turmeric, and stir for about 30 seconds.  Add the yogurt, a little at a time so it doesn't curdle (if you've ever tempered egg yolks, you can use a similar process).  Stir in the lime juice, chickpeas, artichokes, and salt to taste, followed by the water.   Cover and simmer 10 minutes (or longer). Taste for seasoning and serve with rice or naan.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Ice Cream

We had some cream about to go bad over Christmas, so ice cream was the perfect solution!  This cinnamon-scented ice cream smells fantastic and tastes even better.  It's absolutely divine with a bit of toasted coconut sprinkled over top.  Unlike some homemade ice creams, it keeps a nice soft texture in the freezer rather than becoming rock-hard, so it's easy to scoop.  I also like that it doesn't involve making a custard - although that sort of ice cream is definitely delicious, it was nice to skip the extra step.

Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Ice Cream
Makes about 2 pints

2 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup brown sugar
Generous pinch salt
2 Mexican cinnamon sticks (canela) or regular cinnamon sticks, broken into a few pieces
1 cup heavy cream
Toasted coconut, to serve (optional)

1. Combine the half-and-half, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring almost to a boil, stirring often.  Remove from heat, cover, and let the cinnamon steep for one hour.
2. Strain the cinnamon mixture into a bowl, and stir in the remaining cup of heavy cream.  Chill until cold, at least four hours.
3. Freeze in an ice cream maker.  Eat immediately for a soft consistency, or scoop into a container and freeze for a few hours for a firmer consistency.  Serve with toasted coconut, if desired.

I'm sending this recipe off to These Chicks Cooked!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thai Red Curry with Kabocha Squash and Bell Peppers

This curry is fantastic - rich and creamy without being overwhelming, and full of flavorful veggies.  I do love the kabocha squash here - it's got a distinctive taste and texture from other winter squashes, and so it's worth seeking out if you can find it.  The downside is that it's a ton of work to peel, much more so than something like a butternut squash, but the recipe does make a large batch so I think it's worth it. After struggling through peeling the squash, a friend gave me the tip that you can microwave the squash briefly to soften the skin a bit; I will definitely give that technique a try next time!  I served  this curry with an Afghan flatbread, bolani, which is sort of like a very thin naan stuffed with lentils - not very traditional, but super delicious.  Steamed rice would also be an excellent choice.

Thai Red Curry with Kabocha Squash and Bell Peppers (adapted from Chow, original recipe here)
Serves 4-6

Oil to cover the bottom of your pot
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping T peeled and minced fresh ginger
3 T Thai red curry paste
13- to 14- ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 T soy sauce
1 kabocha squash (about 2-1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, to serve

1.  Heat a large frying pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, and then add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  Add the onion and 1 tsp of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and softened, about 6 minutes.  Add the peppers, garlic, and ginger, and stir to combine.  Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Add the curry paste, stir to coat the vegetables, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the coconut milk, water, soy sauce, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt.  Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
3. Stir in the squash, return to a simmer, and then cover and reduce heat to low.  Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is fork-tender, 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.  Taste and season with salt if needed.
4. Serve topped with chopped cilantro.  Good with rice or flatbread.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fire Roasted Tomato Stew with Lamb Sausage, Farro, and Eggplant

I recently won an Amazon gift card from Life360 for my post on cranberry-fig chutney, and I immediately knew I wanted to use it on Ancient Grains for Modern Meals.  I'm always aiming to include more whole grains in my meals, and the recipes in this book looked like a really delicious way to do that. I spent the weekend reading through all my options, and decided to try the tomato-eggplant stew with farro first.

Oh boy, is this stew ever amazing!  The flavors are deep and rich, but the whole dish is lightened up a bit by a scoop of non-fat yogurt spooned on top.  The yogurt provides the perfect tart balance to the savory flavors of the stew ingredients.  I added chickpeas and lamb sausage to the original recipe to bulk up the protein content of the stew, so that it can really be a meal on its own.  This is the perfect bowl of comfort food on a chilly, rainy evening.

On top of enjoying the delicious stew, I was so glad to finally learn how to cook farro properly!  I've used farro in the past, but I've always felt the results were a bit off - no matter how long I cooked it, the farro stubbornly refused to get totally tender.  I didn't realize that farro benefits greatly from soaking before cooking, just like dried beans!  A six-hour soak allowed the farro to cook up beautifully in about 20 minutes.  If you want to prepare your chickpeas from scratch (using dried chickpeas), you can soak them at the same time - cover with water, bring to a boil, remove from the heat, and then let soak until ready to cook.  Be aware, though, that the chickpeas will take significantly longer than the farro, so you'll want to start them about half an hour before the rest of the stew.

Fire Roasted Tomato Stew with Lamb Sausage, Farro, and Eggplant (adapted from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals)
Serves 4

For the farro:
1/4 cup farro
Pinch of salt

For the stew:
1/2 pound eggplant
1 T olive oil
1 cup diced red onion
1 large garlic clove, lightly crushed
1/4 pound carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 T tomato paste
14-ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
1-1/4 cups low-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup raisins
2 T drained, chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 pound lamb sausage
3/4 cup cooked chickpeas
Olive oil, to serve
Plain yogurt, to serve

1. Soak the farro for about 6 hours (or overnight).  Drain, and then place in a small pot with 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until tender but still slightly chewy (20-25 minutes).  Drain any remaining liquid.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the stew.  Cut the eggplant into quarters, and then slice into 1/4-inch slices.  Place on a large microwave-safe plate and then drizzle with 1 T water.  Microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until the pieces start to soften.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic, along with a generous pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the carrots, eggplant, and cinnamon and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices, scraping the bottom of the pan.  Add the broth, raisins, sun-dried tomatoes, and a generous pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the eggplant is soft and the carrots are tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  Remove the lamb sausage from its casings and crumble into the hot skillet.  Cook, stirring frequently, until nicely browned and cooked through.
6. Add the farro, sausage, and chickpeas to stew.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors combine nicely.  Add more broth or water if the stew seems too thick.  Taste and adjust for seasoning.
7. Scoop stew into serving bowls and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Let cool for a couple of minutes, and then serve with plain yogurt on top.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas and Apricots

This lamb stew is a somewhat decadent treat, but it's absolutely delicious.  The tart apricots are the perfect counterpart to rich lamb and a perfectly spiced broth.  We weren't able to locate Ras-el-Hanout, the key spice in this recipe, so we made our own based on what we had in the cupboard and could find at the grocery.  This was actually a great way to do it - rather than ending up with a whole jar of a spice blend we might not use again for a long time, we made almost just the right amount for the tagine plus a little extra to use as a spice rub on chicken the next week.  Plus, you can customize it to feature spices you love or exclude some that you aren't a fan of or that are too expensive. 

One word of warning - we found the dried apricots didn't hold up well to storage in the fridge, so if you're planning on leftovers, pack them up before adding the apricots to the pot.  When you're ready to reheat your leftovers, you can add the apricots then for perfect texture and flavor.  Since I ended up picking the apricots out of my leftovers, I added some raisins instead, which were also fantastic with the other flavors of the dish.  So, raisins are a good option if you're not an apricot fan or if you're just in the mood for something different.

Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas and Apricots (adapted from Bon Appetit)
Serves 6-8

Olive oil
3 pounds lamb stew meat or lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
5 tsp Ras-el-Hanout (purchase pre-made or recipe below)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chopped peeled ginger
1 cup caned diced tomatoes (with juices)
2-1/2 cups low-salt chicken stock
2 cans chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup halved dried apricots
Couscous, to serve
Chopped cilantro, to serve
1. Heat enough oil in a large heavy pot to over the bottom, over medium heat.  Season the lamb with salt and pepper, and then brown it, working in batches, about 4 minutes per batch.  Transfer lamb to a bowl and set aside.
2. Add the onion to the pot, reduce heat to medium, and season with salt and pepper.  Saute until just golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the chopped garlic, Ras-el-Hanout, and ginger and stir for one minute.  Add the tomatoes and lamb, along with any accumulated juices.  Bring to a boil.
3. Add the chicken stock and return to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the lamb is tender, about one hour and 30 minutes.  Stir the lamb occasionally during the cooking time.
4. Stir in the chickpeas and apricots and simmer until heated through, 5-10 minutes.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Stir over couscous and sprinkle with cilantro.

Ras-el-Hanout (adapted from Bon Appetit and My Recipes)
Makes about 6 teaspoons

1-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp black pepper
Mix everything together.  You'll end up with a bit more than needed for this recipe, but the extra can be used as a spice rub for chicken, beef, or salmon.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Salted Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

When my grandma asked me to make cookies for her new neighbor, these oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies seemed like the perfect choice.  If you're obsessed with salty-sweet desserts, like I am, you'll definitely want to try these cookies.  They're super addictive, with great chew from the oats, bits of rich chocolate, and a great hit of salt on top. They're just as easy as any other chocolate chip cookie recipe, but using good-quality chocolate and adding salt makes them taste really sophisticated and unique.

Salted Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Salted: A Manifesto on the World's Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes)

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
A large pinch of salt, the best you have
2-1/2 cups quick oats
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
10 ounces dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
Good-quality salt, to finish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in the oats.
3. Cream together the butter, both sugars, and the vanilla.  Beat in the eggs.
4. Stir in the flour mixture, and then stir in the chocolate.
5. Scoop dough onto cookie sheet, about one tablespoon of dough per cookie.  Sprinkle the top of each cookie with a bit of salt.
6. Bake until the edges are browned but the centers are still soft, about 8 minutes.  Remove from oven, let rest a couple of minutes, and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bunkerlow-Style Pinquitos

My cousins sent us a variety of heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo for Christmas, and it's been a lot of fun learning about new bean varieties and trying new recipes for dried beans.  We started off with basic refried pinto beans, which were absolutely amazing (but not very photogenic!). Then we turned to these pinquito beans, which I had never tried before.  They turned out to be fantastic - the beans themselves are smallish with a good texture (neither too mushy nor too crunchy) and excellent flavor.  Although this recipe does have lots of differently flavors going on, you can definitely still taste the beans rather than only the sauce.  Molasses, tomato paste, and onions add sweetness, while red pepper flakes add a bit of spice - feel free to adjust to your preference.

Bunkerlow-Style Pinquitos (adapted from Heirloom Beans: Great Recipes for Dips and Spreads, Soups and Stews, Salads and Salsas, and Much More from Rancho Gordo)
Serves 2-3 as a side

4 ounces pinquito beans
Olive oil
1/3 cup minced yellow onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp Mexican oregano, crumbled
1/8 tsp mustard powder
Pinch ground allspice
Pinch ground cloves
A few grinds fresh nutmeg
1 T tomato paste
1/2 tsp molasses
Generous pinch dried red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Soak the beans in water at least six hours or overnight.
2. Add water as needed to cover the beans by about an inch.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the beans start to soften, 45 minutes or so.
3. In a small skillet, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic and saute a few minutes, until softened.  Stir in all the spices and cook briefly, until fragrant.
4. Add the onion mixture, tomato paste, molasses, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to the beans.  Cook until the beans are fully tender, 20-30 minutes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Chunk Brownies

These brownies are rich and delicious, and chock-full of chocolate flavor.  These will definitely satisfy your chocolate craving and would be a great gift for your sweetheart (or yourself) on the 14th.  One word of warning - don't pull these out of the oven when you might pull out typical brownie recipes (i.e. when the center is still pretty jiggly) - while I find this is the perfect time to pull out brownie-mix-brownies, it left these pretty severely underdone.  The brownies were still really delicious - but they were almost more like fudge than brownies.  Next time I make this recipe, I'll definitely follow the instructions and cook them a bit longer! 

Chewy Chocolate Chunk Brownies (adapted from Pixelated Crumb, original recipe here)
Makes one 13x9 pan

1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1/2 cup plus 2 T boiling hot coffee
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate , finely chopped
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 T vegetable oil
2 large eggs 2 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp table salt
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13x9 baking pan with oil.
2. Whisk together the cocoa and coffee.  Add the unsweetened chocolate and whisk until melted.  Whisk in the butter and oil (don't worry if the batter looks broken; it will come together once the eggs are added).  Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the sugar.
3. Add the flour and salt and mix with a rubber spatula until combined.  Fold in the chocolate chunks.
4. Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted halfway between the edge and the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Squash and Fennel Soup with Candied Pumpkin Seeds

This is a really tasty soup, combining roasted winter veggies in a silky smooth puree with onions, herbs, and sherry. For my money, though, it was a lot of work for a soup that didn't taste so terribly different than easier versions of winter squash soup. That said, the candied pumpkin seeds offered as a garnish are absolutely fantastic - I've made them again since on their own as a snack. Although they're sort of sticky from the honey (meaning you have to lick your fingers a lot!), the flavor is insanely good - spicy, salty, sweet, and just divine. They're the perfect crunchy pick-me-up during a long day of work or a great healthy substitute for dessert when you need something a bit sweet after dinner.  Plus, they take all of about 5 minutes to make - you can't beat that!

Squash and Fennel Soup with Candied Pumpkin Seeds (adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table)
Serves 6-8

For the soup:
2 pounds winter squash (I used banana squash)
2 medium bulbs fennel
3 T olive oil
2 tsp fennel seeds
4 T butter
2 cups sliced yellow onions
1 T fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Big pinch crushed red pepper
1 dried bay leaf
3/4 cup dry sherry
8 cups water
1/4 cup Greek yogurt

For the candied pumpkin seeds: 
1 T butter
1/2 cup hulled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 T sugar
Generous pinch cinnamon
Generous pinch smoked paprika (I used bourbon smoked paprika)
Generous pinch ground cayenne pepper
A few grinds each salt and pepper
1 T honey

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and seed the squash and cut into chunks.  Peel and core the fennel and cut into chunks.  Toss with the olive oil and a little salt and pepper, and then roast until soft and caramelized, 35-40 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, toast the fennel seeds in a dry skillet until browned and fragrant.  Grind the seeds in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
3. Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large pot until it foams.  Add the fennel seeds, onions, thyme, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and a bit of salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
4. While the squash and fennel finish roasting, prepare make the pumpkin seeds.  Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat, and then add the pumpkin seeds, sugar, spices, and a few grinds of salt and pepper.  Toss to coat well and cook until the seeds start to brown.
5. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a sheet of foil, wait thirty seconds, and then add the honey.  Toss quickly to coat, spread out the pumpkin seeds, and let cool.  When cooled, coarsely chop.
6. Add the roasted squash and fennel to the onions and pour in the sherry.  Stirring often over medium-high heat, let the sherry reduce for a few minutes and then add the water and bring to a boil.  Simmer about 20 minutes.
7. Puree the soup in batches until very smooth.
8. Reheat the soup if needed.
9. Serve the soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt and the pumpkin seeds.

Monday, February 6, 2012

SRC: Chocolate Brownie Cookies

This month my secret partner in the Secret Recipe Club was Phemomenon. I literally made these cookies within an hour of receiving my blog assignment - they looked that good!  I was in the mood for something chocolatey (and had some chocolate chips to use up), and these cookies absolutely fit the bill.  They feature loads of chocolate, both melted and as chips, in a cookie that tastes a lot like a brownie.  Personally, I like my cookies on the smaller side, especially when they're rich like these - easier to eat lots of them that way!  :)  So, I made these about half as large as the originals, and adjusted the baking time accordingly.  Either way you do it, these cookies are amazing!

Chocolate Brownie Cookies (adapted from Phemomenon, original recipe from Martha Stewart)
Makes about 2 dozen small cookies

9 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 T unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup + 1 T packed light-brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat 4 ounces of the chocolate chips along with the butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring between and being careful not to scorch the chocolate.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat together the egg, brown sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.  Beat in the melted chocolate.  Add the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in the remaining 5 ounces of chocolate chips.
4. Drop spoonfuls of dough (about 1 T per cookie) onto the cookie sheet, giving them some room in between cookies as they'll spread.  Bake until the cookies are shiny and crackly but still soft in the center, 8-10 minutes - be careful as these tend to get overly browned on the bottom very quickly.  Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cucumber-Habanero Salsa

Truly Mexican recommends this salsa for winter months when you want a fresh salsa but good tomatoes are nowhere to be found.  It serves that purpose perfectly - it's crunchy, spicy, and super flavorful, reminiscent of a super-spicy pico de gallo without the tomatoes. It also keeps very well in the fridge for a few days, so you don't need to eat it all in one sitting - the cukes and onions will stay crunchy and perfect for dipping.  We ate this salsa with chips, which is great for getting the full flavor of it, but I bet it would also be fantastic on tacos, especially fish tacos.

Important note: this salsa is definitely hot - if you're not such a fan of extra spicy food, you could reduce the amount of habanero or replace it with a milder pepper like a jalapeno. 

Cucumber-Habanero Salsa (from Truly Mexican)
Makes about 2 cups

12-ounce cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup diced seeded green bell pepper
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2-1/2 T freshly squeezed lime juice (more to taste)
1 T mild olive oil
1-1/2 tsp minced fresh habanero chile, including seeds (or less, to taste)
3/4 tsp fine salt or 1-1/2 tsp kosher salt (more to taste)
1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano, crumbled

Mix everything together and chill for one hour.  Taste and add more lime juice and salt if necessary.  Drain any excess liquid before serving.