Sometimes when I settle in to write a post for the blog the words just flow onto the screen. The narrative is usually lighthearted, a little bit spunky, and half the time I’m asking my proofreading husband “Did I go too far this time with the crazy phonetics?” On a few rare occasions I’ve asked if he thought the narrative was too heavy (like here and here). In response, he answers with “Well…are you being you? Are you sharing your voice and being true to where you are at today?”
I enjoy sharing recipes with a dose of fun. Food should be fun, right?
Yes, most definitely. Especially when you can spiralize it (aka: new favorite kitchen gadget).
But just like food, life has its seasons. And it’s not always a mountaintop experience.
And food has the ability, as with all things that appeal to the senses, to create associations or spark long-forgotten moments from the past. Like those moments when the taste of a particular flavor suddenly transports you back to a childhood memory as if it was just yesterday. And recipes also carry stories with them. Stories of culture, moments of inspiration, milestones in life, and narratives that range from joy to grief.
I recently became acquainted with this spiralized cucumber summer salad while hanging out with Shasta (who I’ve long considered to be my soul sister) after a vigorous training run (I’m getting ready to run The Hood to Coast Relay…again). Shasta’s mom and our friend Matt had just ordered some food from a local Cuban restaurant and the offer of sharing this cool as a cuke salad after a hard workout and hot summer day sounded great. The fresh cucumber combined with citrusy lime juice and sweet mango were refreshing and flavorful.
But per my tendency to analyze food, the salad was lacking the sufficient quantity of mango for my liking. And it was begging for some soft goat cheese (however, if you prefer vegan you’ll still enjoy this salad without the goat cheese). Also, somewhere in the salad there was supposed to be avocado but it was either too small to see or was completely forgotten. Avocado is a must. Always.
But the general idea of the salad, particularly on a hot summer day, was perfect. And the simplicity of the salad caught my attention and was a definite win. A simplicity that in contrast to my dear friend Shasta’s present-day situation has been anything but simple.
Cancer has a way of sucking the simplicity out of life. In fact, there is nothing simple when battling cancer. And my dearest best friend has been warring against that evil for over three and half years now.
Over the last three and half years, there have been
so many too many doctor appointments, treatment days, surgeries, and scans that Shasta might actually have her own designated bookshelf in the medical records storage room. Not to mention the countless number of days where her body feels fatigue beyond any type of reasonable norm, days coping with nausea, and days filled with endless body aches and pain beyond what an average person would tolerate (let alone become accustomed to as a new norm). Some days are days of just trying to make it through to the next day with hopes that the next will offer some sort of respite.
Cancer really sucks. Biggest understatement of the decade.
But in spite of all that Shasta has endured these last three and half years, and is still enduring, I am continually humbled and amazed by my friend’s huge and overflowing heart for others and their well-being, and the deep and abiding love she has for God that is deeper than any other person I know.
If you go to her house for a visit, she’ll without pause ask if she can get you something to drink, even though the very act of getting up out of her seat and walking to the kitchen sometimes looks like it might be physically painful and exhausting. She serves others without hesitation, even though she should be the one served without hesitation.
She’ll talk about recipes and food with me, and ideas of things to try and taste, even though the cancer and chemotherapy have stolen her appetite and ability to eat most of the foods that she once loved.
And then she’ll ask about your day and what you’ve been up to as if it’s just another ordinary day, and you’ll sit eating your spiralized cucumber summer salad talking and laughing together (and sometimes crying) the way two close friends do. Just simply enjoying time together.Print
A cool and refreshing spiralized cucumber salad with mango, avocado, and lime. Perfect on a hot summer day for lunch or dinner. Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish.
- 1 large cucumber, spiralized (If using the Inspiralizer, use Blade A for wide, ribbon noodles, also see Notes below)
- 1 firm-ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
- 1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 lime, juiced (plus lime wedges for serving)
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (about 2 ounces) (optional for vegan)
- In a large serving bowl combine spiralized cucumber, mango, avocado, red onion, salt, and lime juice. Toss to combine.
- Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese on top of the salad. Lightly toss again to combine.
- Serve immediately.
If after spiralizing the cucumber you have one long, continuous cucumber ribbon, you may need to use your kitchen shears to snip it into shorter length ribbons to make it more manageable for serving.
It’s best to eat this on the same day that you prepared it because the cucumber, avocado, mango, and goat cheese begin to melt into each other pretty quickly. It can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two but the salad will begin to break down and become slightly watery.
I use this spiralizer. After having tried other spiralizers, the spiralizer by Inspiralized is my favorite for its ease of use and ability to spiralize just about any fruit and vegetable you can think of.
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