Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Cucumber Chips: Naturally Crunch-licious!
My entire family loves chips -- potato...corn...regular...flavored...fancy....cheap...get all of us together and we can kill 6 bags of chips over a 2 day weekend, easy. I guess we just like things that are crunchy, and salty.
So, its probably not much of a surprise that my favorite summertime "health" snack is basically what a chip would probably be like at Mother Nature's house. Cucumbers (preferably fresh from the farmers market), sliced about a 1/4 inch thick and sprinkled generously with sea salt and toasted sesame seeds. They're crunchy, salty, cool and refreshing. I could snack on these things all summer long.
Two important things to keep in mind when preparing this snack:
- Toasted seeds: The sesame seeds must be toasted. They provide the most wonderful, nutty contrast in flavor. You can actually buy toasted sesame seeds in big jars -- usually in the asian foods aisle of the supermarket...near the japanese foods. Otherwise, buy regular ones and toast them in a pan or under the broiler for a few minutes until they become aromatic and get a slightly golden color. But watch them closely to avoid burning.
- Sea salt: Not regular table salt. This might seem a little nit-picky, but sea salt make a huge difference. Instead of all-over saltiness, the little flakes of sea salt give you little bursts of flavor in each bite. Very yummy. Plus, you don't get that funny, tinny taste that the iodide in table salt can bring.
Oh, and one more important thing....don't put the salt on until just before you're going to serve these. Since cucumbers are primarily made of water, if you salt them too soon they'll become slimy (salt causes them to release their water content). Just sprinkle it on just before you dig in.
And you will dig in. But just think of how much better you'll feel when you find yourself saying..."Jeez, I just ate a whole cucumber!" instead of, "Jeez, I just ate a whole bag of Ruffles."