Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Culinary Kicks

I’m really a sucker for these unusual things. I think the guy at the Farmer’s Market has got me pegged as an easy sell if he can pull out anything not normally found at our local grocery store. I’m not always sure the things he has to offer are actual foodstuffs, and not some weeds he just pulled from between his rows of corn and figured he could con us into buying. But we munch on, all in the name of new culinary kicks.

But the things we had spotted actually looked interesting.

My first impression was some sort of squash. But then guy at the Farmer’s market stand let us try a slice.

And it was a cucumber. A lemon cucumber. Apparently heirloom.

Lemon because of the color and shape. But definitely cucumber from taste, nothing to do with lemon. Delicate. Mild. Lots of seeds inside.

So of course we bought some.

Here’s a link with more info:

We also picked up some heirloom tomatoes. Two kinds. Japanese Momotaro tomatoes, and some Bruno Rosso tomatoes.

No idea what to do with it all. But I wasn’t too worried. Something would pop up.

We had a lot of dill from the previous week. And I thought we could somehow get the dill involved. In a dressing, maybe.

And I was in the mood for mustard.

Who knows why. Maybe it was the phase of the moon, or some odd deficiency in my diet lately that made me crave mustard. Mustard ice cream is coming this weekend, but that was too complicated for today. We would have to make due with a simple mustard dill vinaigrette.

Now I’m thinking stacks. Stacks of the yellow cucumber against the red and black tomatoes. With a mustard dill vinaigrette.

And maybe some goat cheese, infused with dill, as one of the layers between the vegetables. Just to give it a bit more substance.

So we made heirloom cucumber, tomato and goat cheese napoleons with mustard dill dressing.

In addition to mashing some chopped dill into the goat cheese, I formed the cheese into a log and rolled it in some additional chopped dill. This would have worked really well – note to self – if I had put the herbed goat cheese roll in the fridge for a half hour before cutting and plating. The cheese softened as we were debating how to make our stacks. We got the stacks up, but some started to lean like the tower of Pisa pretty quickly as the cheese lost stability. It lasted long enough for the pictures, but barely!

The taste was wonderful. Even though we used a mustard dressing, the cucumber and tomato flavors were still very evident. The dill infused goat cheese was great. A nice creamy interlude between the crisp layers of heirloom veggies.

Easy to make, full of flavor, dramatic to look at. They went fast!

Heirloom Cucumber, Tomato and Goat Cheese Napoleons with Mustard Dill Dressing
Recipe by surfindaave
Serves 8 as an appetizer or 4 as a salad

(note – for the pictures, we made a double stack, but this is impractical for actual eating, so I recommend a single stack as described below)

2-3 heirloom lemon cucumbers, sliced evenly, not too thin (you need 24 good slices)
3 heirloom red tomatoes, sliced (you need 16 good slices)
2 heirloom black tomatoes, sliced (you need 8 good slices)
8 ounces goat cheese
3-4 tbsp fresh chopped dill
salt, pepper
Mustard Dill Dressing (recipe follows)
Additional sprigs of fresh dill for garnish, if desired

Mix goat cheese thoroughly with 2 tbsp dill. Form into a log approximately ½ the diameter of the cucumbers and tomatoes. Roll the log in the remaining 2 tbsp of chopped dill to coat the outside. Chill the log at least ½ hour, or longer. When ready to assemble dish, cut log into 1/3 inch think slices (16 slices). Keep slices cold until ready to use.

On a small serving plate, begin stack with a cucumber slice, then a red tomato slice, then another cucumber slice. Place 2 goat cheese slices on the cucumber slice side by side. Continue with a red tomato slice, a cucumber slice, and finish with a black tomato slice.

Repeat the stacking to make a total of eight stacks - either one to a plate for eight appetizers, or two to a plate for four servings as a salad.

Drizzle the stacks with some of the dressing, garnish with a dill sprig, and serve. Enjoy!

Mustard-Dill Sauce
Recipe by surfindaave

2 tb Dijon mustard
1 tb white wine vinegar
1 tb agava nectar
4 tb fresh dill; chopped
1/2 c light olive oil


In a bowl whisk together mustard, vinegar, sugar, and dill. Slowly whisk in oil until mixture is blended and thickens slightly. Adjust flavors to taste.

Makes about 2/3 cup.

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Blogger Kalyn said...


8:22 PM  
Blogger surfindaave said...

Thanks, Kalyn!

1:58 PM  

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