Cucumbers, Corn and Crab

Sometimes enthusiasm gets the better of my common and culinary sense. This was one of those weeks.

When I saw Moirah’s scallion-sauce spicy cucumber recipe, I instantly decided I wanted to make it. Cucumbers are one of those Adult Things I’m still coming to terms with, like taxes and treadmills.

I’ve had an aversion to them my whole life, but I’m grudgingly accepting that there might, in some conceivable variants of this universe, be a handful of ways of preparing them that I don’t hate. My first inkling of this was when I cracked a jar of Rick’s People’s Pickles and realised I love pretty much anything with that much garlic.

I also love scallions, red-pepper flakes, sesame oil and salt, all of which figured prominently in the recipe, so I figured I’d give it a go.

But then I started talking to my spouse about this week’s CSA share: “We got chard, thai basil, zucchini, onions …”

“Why do you always get greens?” he whinged. (He’s Australian. They whinge.) “You keep cooking greens all the time. Why can’t you cook something different?”

“Like what?” I asked.

“Like corn.”

“Oh! We got that too!”

So David requested corn on the cob for dinner. And I wanted to try the Grand Sichuan cucumbers. And I had some crab cakes we needed to eat …

We ended up with Mexican elote corn, Chinese cucumbers and Maryland crab cakes. It all seemed to make sense at the time. And it made even more sense after I downed a glass of Viognier while chopping the scallions and cucumbers.

Moirah’s recipe calls for an immersion blender. I don’t have one, so I decided to give the scallion/oil/salt mix a whirl through my regular blender. A word of advice to future adventurers: After you lift off the blender lid to see how things are chopping? Do not stick your head in.

“What’s wrong? Why are you crying?” David asked in alarm as I staggered over the couch.

“Very. Fresh. Scallions!” I gasped out.

After recovering from the onions’ attempt to kill me with their fumes, I managed to finish the sauce. The blender wasn’t quite doing the job, so I dragged out my teeny tiny completely smooth wooden mortar, which I secretly suspect is some prop mortar with no grinding powers whatsoever.

A few semi-futile bangs with the pestle was enough for me to decide I’d done my kitchen duties and was ready to declare the sauce ground enough for service. Which was good timing, because the corn I’d attempted to “grill” in its husks, in a 500-degree oven, was completely blackened and on the verge of incinerating.

After a bit of mixing and flame extinguishing, I plated my Maryland/China/Mexico “fusion” dinner. At that point, I made a culinary breakthrough and, in the process of seasoning the corn, discovered my new culinary guiding principle:

With enough mayonnaise, butter and Parmesan cheese, any dinner tastes completely excellent. -Stacy Cowley


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