Creating real food sides on the fly

Real food fast: Cucumber salad photo
This crisp, cool salad can be made in the few minutes just before you serve dinner. Perfect with spicy food.

The difference between a good meal and a great meal is often the little sides or condiments you add to the main dish. This little cucumber salad is perfect to prepare as you wait for the meal to cook.

Don’t think of this idea as a recipe, more like a concept. My sides are often inspired as I gather the ingredients for the meal. Here’s how it went: I noticed that I really needed to use some of my cucumber. That thought joined with the thought that the curry I was preparing was quite hot and spicy. As soon as I was thinking about a cooling side, the yogurt was a given. Cucumber + yogurt = tzatziki. That brought garlic and lemon juice into the dressing.

The result: Cucumber and green onion as the base. Yogurt, garlic, lemon juice as a dressing. Chopped mint to garnish. Perfect, especially as I had overdone the heat of the curry (as usual). With this cooling side salad to dampen the fire, the meal was perfect.

Note: the yogurt in this dressing was homemade, and has been drained of some liquid, becoming thick, creamy, Greek-style yogurt. (Post coming soon about making yogurt.)



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