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Cucumbers and Coconut Milk

June 16, 2012

Ladies, I ask you, is there anything sexier than a man on his hands and knees scrubbing out a bathtub? It’s not going to go down in history as the most exciting birthday present ever, but I am really loving my clean tub. To be fair, that wasn’t the only thing Sorin gave me for my birthday. He also bought a bouquet of gorgeous pink and white peonies, a vanilla cake layered with whipped cream and strawberries and he took O and I for a picnic in the park.

A day at the park

A day at the park

I ended the day sipping a glass of wine & having a long chat with my  friend April in Seattle while she drank a gin and tonic on the other end. We used to have these long-distance cocktail hours more often, before we both had kids, and I miss them. We’ve lived in different states for a long time now. Earlier in our lives these long chats happened while I sat on April’s bed and she attempted to clean out her closet in the apartment we shared in Seattle. Before that, I sat on the futon in her sorority while she sorted her closet. Before that, I sat on her bed with the pansy-covered bedspread in the house on  Pine Tree Lane in the neighborhood we grew up in. April and I go back a long way. We both fantasize that one day I’ll move back to Seattle and we’ll be real neighbors and raise our kids together and like April, I too will enroll my daughter in a tee-ball league with Eddie Vedder’s daughters (that last part is only my fantasy).

June Gloom

June Gloom

Until that day comes, I get by here in LA with long-distance phone calls to April and celebrity sightings that I’m not remotely excited about. My homesickness for the Northwest always ebbs a little in June, however, when my favorite of all “seasons” hits LA: June Gloom. I took this picture out of my living room window this morning. It doesn’t look like LA at all, does it? Which is precisely why I love both our view and the month of June. Every morning until about 10am a gentle fog hovers and the air has a pleasant chill. It’s quiet and peaceful. Especially if you’re up at 6am every morning with a baby who has yet to acquire a skill called “sleeping in.”

“Heron?” she says. “Swing?”

“Not yet,” I mumble, “It’s too early.”

This exact conversation repeats itself approximately 700 times before 8am. Finally, we walk to the park to swing and look for herons. As you can imagine, it’s rare that we actually see a heron but O never gets tired of  running around looking for them. I trail behind, happily soaking up the June Gloom.

Cucumbers and Coconut Milk

Cucumbers and Coconut Milk

Spiced Cucumbers and Coconut milk, adapted from Bon Appetit
Total Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4, as a side dish

If you’re in a dinner rut, this meal will pull you out of it. It’s a unique dish with light, refreshing flavor. I love it served over rice with grilled halibut or cod on the side.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups peeled and thinly sliced cucumber
1 cup grated carrot
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed or finely chopped
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon honey
1 lime, cut into wedges
salt to taste
optional: chopped cilantro for garnish; red pepper flakes or a thinly sliced red Thai chile

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cucumber and carrot, season with a pinch of salt, and saute 1-2 minutes.

Add tomato, scallion and garlic. Saute 2-3 minutes more.

Add coconut milk and honey. Simmer rapidly another three minutes. Add salt to taste.

Add cilantro and/or red pepper flakes or Thai chile if using.

Serve with wedges of lime.

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