Salade van geplette komkommers – California dreamin’
The summer is coming and that means that Goodcook will publish some awesome cookbooks again. For those who appear to me as interesting or as a source of inspiration, I am happy to share a review with you. A few weeks ago I saw Vivian Lui’s book “California dreamin'” on the schedule. To me it seemed to be a nice book with loads of summer vibes that might fit with a nice BBQ. Although I didn’t really have a clue what to expect from the Californian kitchen, I thought this could be a perfect way to explore the region by this book. To my surprise, this cuisine is strongly influenced by Asian cuisine. The salad of crushed cucumbers and “Bowl with caramelized vegetables” that I tested for this review are a good examples.
Disclaimer: The book for this review was donated by Good Cook Netherlands. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions expressed are personal and sincere. Pictures in this post cannot be used without permission!
ABOUT THE BOOK
The book ‘California dreamin’ promises to be an immersion in the melting pot of Californian cuisine offering a combination of local classics and typical fusion dishes. This from a cuisine known for its part in the creation of the “Organic Food Revolution” and “food truck scene”. A promising introduction to a summery cookbook that makes you long for a everlasting holiday, fresh cocktails and surf music. It may be due to the situation we’re in (#longlivecorona), but that idea alone makes me long for more. Maybe I just need a vacation? Although when I open the book I doubt if this is just because of my longing. Vivian Lui has already earned her stripes as a food stylist and recipe developer and works with worldwide renowned magazines such as “Bon Appetit” and even the “New York Times”. A quick browsing of this book teaches us that her experience is also reflected in the book. The photos taken by “Con Poulos” look refreshing, summery and attractive and are also very varied. Ranging from pure recipe photography to sunny atmospheric images of surfboards, Volkswagen vans and beach scenes that immediately make you dream and long for more.
When judging recipes from a book, I like to take a look at the table of contents first. This shows a clear classical division going from breakfast & brunch to desserts and basic recipes. It wouldn’t have been clear if I hadn’t come to the conclusion that this division seems superfluous. The dishes that fall under the breakfast section can charm me at any time of the day. By the way, this applies to almost every division made. This doesn’t bother me any further, but it doesn’t add to the ease of use for this book. Fortunately, the recipe index at the end can offer a nice alternative. The recipes themselves are of course fresh and summery and are characterized by a generous use of fresh vegetables and spices. To such an extent that you often don’t even notice that you’re looking at vegetarian dishes (by the way numerously represented in this book).
Moreover, the choice of recipes also shows that California is located on the coast. Besides vegetarian dishes, fish, shellfish and crustaceans also play an important role in the book. Think of a delicious looking fish soup with kimchi, grilled fish in fig leaf, grilled shrimp with corn and much more. The Asian influences are omnipresent. This may make the dishes in our regions a bit less accessible (or you should have a good Chinese supermarket nearby like we do). Ingredients such as miso, gochujang, shiso, … are important seasoning ingredients used in various dishes.
CRUSHED CUCUMBER SALAD
Anyway, a cookbook is only as good as the recipes it contains. With the small note that this book is very inspiring, so even if the recipes fail, the book would still be fascinating. I took the test with two dishes from the book. The salad of crushed cucumbers and the bowl of caramelized vegetables. Both recipes were warmly welcomed over here. However, the bowl of caramelised vegetables was complemented with a mixture of sriracha and sweet soya to flavor the brown rice, which turned out to be a bit dry. The caramelized vegetables here looked a lot less attractive than those in the book but tasted delicious anyway! A super vegetarian meal where I haven’t missed meat for a second. Would the influence of the miso play a role here?
But also the salad of crushed cucumbers immediately caught my attention. A great achievement because cucumbers are not immediately my best friends. Never understood what people like so much about them. Even though after making this salad I have to confess that I really liked them. The combination of the fresh cucumber with rice vinegar, sesame and Thai basil is a feast for the taste buds and combines easily with different kinds of roasted meat. In this case we supplemented the salad with smoked chicken drumsticks and a dip of soya and sriracha.
Shortly, this book not only looks very attractive and inviting, the recipes presented are actually very tasteful and innovative. As a notorious meat lover you might be a bit disappointed by “California dreamin'”. However, those who are open to vegetarian cuisine, vegetable preparations and also manage to be flexible adapting recipes to the BBQ will have a great time with this book. Curious who among you has experience with the Californian kitchen! What are your favorite dishes?
- 4 drumsticks
- 2 tbsp sweet soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sriracha
- 1 l water
- 75 gr salt
- 1 handful of fresh green herbs
- 2 pieces of star anise
- 2 Cucumbers original recipe: 6 Lebanese Cucumbers
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 tsp roasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 2 thai chillies
- 1 clove garlic
- roasted sesame seeds for garnish
- 1 handful of Thai basil
- additional optional gomasio for garnish
Mix the ingredients for the brine and heat up to boiling point. Leave to cool and place the chicken in it for about 6 hours.
Pat the drumsticks dry and smoke them in the BBQ at a low temperature with some smoke to a core temperature of 65°C. above indirect heat.
Meanwhile, mix the sriracha and sweet soya and lightly lacquer the chicken drumsticks with this sauce. Then place them back on the BBQ at 180°C indirect heat until you reach a core temperature of 74°C.
Crush the cucumber by knocking it flat with a skillet or rolling pin. Separate the strips of cucumber and cut further into equal pieces if desired.
Place the crushed cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave the cucumber to drain for half an hour. Stir gently from time to time.
In the meantime, mix the other ingredients except the sesame seed, Thai basil and gomasio. Add the drained crushed cucumbers and stir gently.
Place in the dish to serve and sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds (possibly gomasio) and torn leaves of Thai basil.