On my own this week, so am trying to keep ahead of the decay of vegetables in the fridge. The two small cucumbers in the drawer were only beginning to show signs of drying. Mr. Tess brought me a book about Japanese vegetable carving from Tokyo Fish Market when he visited San Francisco last February; I’d not tried my knife skills on any vegetables.
The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving Elegant Garnishes for All Occasions by Hiroshi Nagashima
These little cucumber cups, called King’s Crowns in the book, didn’t look too difficult for a first attempt at decorative vegetable carving. Cut off one end of a cucumber. Make the flat bottom square by trimming little (¼-inch) crescent moons from the edges. Next cut the petals for your first cup. Make an angled slice starting about 1½-inches up with a narrow tip widening to within ½-inch of the bottom. Make three more petals in the same way. Gently twist and pull the cup away from the rest of the cucumber. Soak in water while you make more cups.
The book suggests a filling of tuna salad topped with an olive slice for an appetizer. You could also fill them with baby shrimp, salmon roe, or whipped cream cheese and dill.
I don’t usually have appetizers when eating along, but the tuna salad sounded good. On a quest for wafu spaghetti ideas, I recalled reading a post about an interesting lunch using canned tuna, Kewpie mayonnaise, chopped onion, and a splash of white vinegar, then tossing that with somen.
I put chopped green olives and pimentos in the cucumber cups, and curled some green onions for decoration. Notice the delicious yellow tomato from our local Farmers’ Market? I ate it for dinner, and had it for lunch. Enjoyed it both times…