Quick Pickled Zucchini and Summer Squash

1 lb patty pan, crookneck or zucchini squash-or enough to fill four small 4 oz jars- (pick squash no bigger in diameter than the width of the jars you will be using).
1 small onion or shallot, sliced thin
1 tablespoon salt
1 garlic clove, sliced – per jar
1 T fresh dill -per jar
1 tsp mustard seeds– per jar
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns– per jar
1 small red chile, sliced thin

Pickling Liquid

1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup rice vinegar (or sub more white vinegar)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Using a mandolin, carefully slice the summer squash. If using a knife, make sure to cut pieces as evenly as possible, to the same thickness. Thicker slices will result in a crunchier pickle. Paper-thin will be softer.

Slice the small onion, or shallot. Toss both onion and squash in a bowl with a tablespoon of salt and let drain in a colander or strainer over a bowl for 2 hours or overnight. Pat dry.

Make the pickling solution: In a small pot, bring white wine vinegar, water, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves, let cool slightly.

In each 4 oz jar, add about a tablespoon of fresh dill, a teaspoon of mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp peppercorns, a few slices of chile pepper and sliced garlic cloves. You could also try experimenting with other seeds like whole coriander, cumin, or fennel seed. Then layer the squash and onion in jars, and top off with the pickling liquid.

Press down on the squash. Seal, and let cool in the fridge.

notes

These will keep for up to 2-3 weeks.

Israeli Salad

2 extra large tomatoes, finely diced
1 English cucumber, finely diced
1 cup red onion, finely chopped (1/2 of a medium red onion)
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup fresh herbs (Italian parsley, mint or cilantro, or a mix of all three)
zest of one lemon
Lemon juice (start with ½ a lemon, add more to taste)
4 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Chop the first 6 ingredients into a very small fine dice. The smaller, the better. Take your time with this and a sharp knife really makes this easier!

Place in a large bowl and toss with the lemon zest, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper.

Taste and adjust lemon and salt to your liking.

Pork Fried Rice With Corn and Shishito Peppers

2 cups cooked white rice (12 ounces; 350g)
2 1/2 tablespoons (40ml) vegetable or canola oil, divided
6 ounces (170g) fresh corn kernels, cut from 1 to 2 ears of corn
2 scallions, sliced, whites and greens reserved separately (1 ounce; 30g)
12 shishito peppers, thinly sliced, or 1 green bell pepper, finely diced (about 6 ounces; 170g)
6 ounces (170g) leftover roast pork or ham, finely diced
1 teaspoon (5ml) soy sauce
1 teaspoon (5ml) toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt
Ground white pepper
1 large egg

If using day-old rice, transfer to a medium bowl and break rice up into individual grains with your hands before proceeding. Heat 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large wok over high heat until smoking. Add half of rice and cook, stirring and tossing, until rice is pale brown and toasted and has a lightly chewy texture, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with another 1/2 tablespoon oil and remaining rice.

2.
Return wok to heat and add 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred on several surfaces, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl with rice and toss to combine.

If using day-old rice, transfer to a medium bowl and break rice up into individual grains with your hands before proceeding. Heat 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large wok over high heat until smoking. Add half of rice and cook, stirring and tossing, until rice is pale brown and toasted and has a lightly chewy texture, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with another 1/2 tablespoon oil and remaining rice.

Return wok to heat and add 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred on several surfaces, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl with rice and toss to combine.

Return all rice and corn to wok and press it up the sides, leaving a space in the middle. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil to the space. Add scallion whites, peppers, and pork and cook, stirring gently, until lightly softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Toss with rice to combine. Add soy sauce and sesame oil and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Push rice to the side of wok and add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Break egg into oil and season with a little salt. Use a spatula to scramble egg, breaking it up into small bits. Toss egg and rice together.

Return all rice and corn to wok and press it up the sides, leaving a space in the middle. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil to the space. Add scallion whites, peppers, and pork and cook, stirring gently, until lightly softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Toss with rice to combine. Add soy sauce and sesame oil and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Push rice to the side of wok and add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Break egg into oil and season with a little salt. Use a spatula to scramble egg, breaking it up into small bits. Toss egg and rice together.

Add scallion greens and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Extra Crunchy Fruit Crumble

FOR THE TOPPING:
1 1/2 cups/190 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 cup/50 grams rolled oats
1/3 cup/75 grams light or dark brown sugar
1/3 cup/65 grams granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, ginger or allspice, or use lemon zest
1/2 cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled

FOR THE FILLING:
2 to 5 tablespoon light brown sugar (or granulated sugar), depending on the sweetness of the fruit
2 tablespoons cornstarch
8 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen), or cubed peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, or pitted sweet cherries (or a combination)
Ice cream or whipped cream, for serving

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the topping: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, sugars, salt and spices. Stir in butter. Using your hands, squish mixture until coarse crumbs form. Some should be about 1/2-inch in size, some smaller.

Spread topping in one layer onto a rimmed baking sheet. (You don’t have to grease it first.) Bake until crumbs are solid when you gently poke them, and are fragrant, about 15 minutes. They won’t change appearance very much. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to cool while you make the filling. (Crumbs can be baked up to 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.)
Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch until well combined. Add fruit and gently toss to coat with the sugar mixture. Pour filling into an ungreased 2-quart gratin dish or 10-inch cake pan, mounding the fruit in the center.

Spoon crumbs over filling and place the crumble dish on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any overflowing juices. (You can use the same baking sheet you cooked the crumbs on.) Bake until filling bubbles energetically around the edges, about 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream, if you like. Crumble can be made up to 8 hours ahead and kept at room temperature, or warmed up briefly in a 350-degree oven.

Roasted Asparagus With Buttered Almonds, Capers and Dill

1 1/3 pounds/600 grams asparagus, woody ends trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons/30 grams unsalted butter
Scant 1/4 cup/20 grams sliced (flaked) almonds
3 tablespoons/30 grams baby capers, patted dry on paper towels (kitchen paper)
1/4 to 1/2 cup/5 to 10 grams roughly chopped dill

Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit/220 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet (baking tray) with parchment paper.

In a large bowl or on a work surface, use your hands or tongs to toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon oil, a generous pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper. Arrange asparagus in the paper-lined pan, spaced well apart, and roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until asparagus is soft and starting to brown in places, 8 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness. Remove from oven and set aside in the pan.

In a small or medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until foamy. Add almonds and fry, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes (reduce heat as needed to prevent scorching). Pour almonds and butter evenly over asparagus.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and heat over high heat. Once hot, add the capers and fry, stirring continuously, until they have opened up and become crisp, 1 to 2 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove capers from the oil and sprinkle over the asparagus. Add dill. Using tongs or two spoons, mix gently to combine, transfer to a large plate and serve warm.

Leek Risotto With Asparagus

FOR THE RISOTTO
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 large leek, cleaned and chopped (1 cup)
1 cup white arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine, such as chardonnay
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces grated pecorino-Romano cheese(3/4 cup), plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped, for garnish

FOR THE ASPARAGUS
8 ounces thin asparagus stalks, washed and dried; tough ends trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving
For the risotto: Combine the broth and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. (You’ll gradually add this to the rice as it cooks.)

Switch gears for a moment to the asparagus: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle it with the oil and season with the salt and a few grinds of black pepper, then toss it all together with your hands until evenly coated. Pop it in the oven and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until fork-tender. Let the asparagus cool on the pan.

Meanwhile, let’s get that risotto going: Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped leek and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes, until the rice is starting to turn light brown. Pour in the wine (enjoy that pleasant sizzle!) and cook until that liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.

Now, here’s where you’ll start adding the hot liquid. Stir in one ladleful, along with the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is fully absorbed, then add the next ladleful. Continue this way for about 12 minutes, adding the liquid and stirring it in, and then start tasting. You’re looking for grains that are creamy but have just a little bit of a bite in the center.

When the risotto is done, reduce the heat to low and add one more ladle of broth, the cheese and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes until you’ve got a thick and creamy risotto. (You may have just a little bit of unused broth left over: That’s okay. Save it for reheating leftovers.)

To serve, ladle the warm risotto onto plates. Use the lemon wedges to spritz the roasted asparagus with juice, then top each portion of the risotto with roasted asparagus. Garnish with the chopped parsley and additional cheese. Oh, and enjoy with the rest of the bottle of white wine.

Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower with Pistachio Gremolata

1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-sized florets
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh turmeric (from about three 3-inch pieces), or 1 teaspoon ground (or as needed to fully coat the florets)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
6 to 8 dates, such as Medjool, pitted and halved (or quartered if large)
1 large lemon (finely grated zest plus juice)
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, raw and unsalted are ideal but roasted work too
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or to taste

Heat oven to 425°F.

Toss the cauliflower with the turmeric and olive oil on a sheet pan, season with salt, and arrange in a single, even layer. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven.

Add the dates, toss everything together, and redistribute in a single, even layer. Continue roasting until the cauliflower is nicely browned and tender, and the dates and little bits of grated turmeric are starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes more.

Remove pan from oven, and squeeze half a lemon (zest it first—you’ll need it for the gremolata in Step 3!) over the whole dish; add more lemon juice and salt, to taste.

Meanwhile, to make the pistachio gremolata: Toast the pistachios in a small skillet over medium heat, until they’re fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and when cool enough, chop them into fine yet irregular pieces with a knife.

In a small bowl, toss together the pistachios, lemon zest, parsley, pomegranate arils, and Aleppo pepper; season with a pinch of salt.
Arrange the cauliflower and dates on a large serving platter, and scatter the pistachio gremolata over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cucumber Salad with Mustard Oil

1/2 cup (2 oz; 60g) raw hazelnuts or peanuts, skinned
2 English cucumbers (25 oz; 700g)
2 tablespoons (30ml) mustard oil
2 tablespoons (30ml) lime juice, from 1 lime
2 teaspoons (1/8 oz; 4g) red pepper flakes
Kosher salt

In a small dry saucepan, toast hazelnuts over medium-high heat, until they just start to brown and become fragrant, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to mortar and crush with pestle to form coarse powder. (Alternatively, use a spice grinder.)

Trim and discard ends of cucumbers. Cut each cucumber in half lengthwise and then into thin slices. Place sliced cucumbers in a medium mixing bowl.

Using a whisk or fork, thoroughly mix mustard oil and lime juice in small bowl and pour over cucumbers. Add toasted hazelnuts and pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.

Triple-Cheese Cheesecake with Amaretti Crust

AMARETTI CRUST
3 ounces amaretti cookies (about 20)
2 ounces honey graham crackers (about 4 whole crackers), coarsely crushed
Pinch of kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

CHEESECAKE
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese or sour cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

HONEYED APRICOTS
3/4 cup honey
Three 3-inch rosemary sprigs
6 ounces dried California apricots

Step 1: make the crust
Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a food processor, pulse the amaretti with the graham crackers and salt until finely ground.

Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and stir in the butter.

Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and halfway up the side of an 8-inch springform pan.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is set. Cool on a rack.

Step 2: make the cheesecake
In a microwave-safe dish, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water; let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form; refrigerate.

Step 3: make the cheesecake
In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta, sugar and salt with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in the mascarpone and lemon juice.

Step 4: make the cheesecake
Microwave the gelatin until melted, 5 seconds; scrape into the cream cheese mixture and beat until incorporated.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and smooth the surface. Refrigerate the cake until firm and set, 3 hours.

Step 5: make the honeyed apricots
In a medium saucepan, combine the honey with 3 cups of water and the rosemary.

Bring to a boil and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the honey is dissolved.

Add the apricots and simmer until tender, 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the apricots to a bowl. Boil the rosemary syrup until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Strain the syrup over the apricots and let cool.

Step 6: make the honeyed apricots
Unmold the cheesecake and serve with the honeyed apricots.

Cherries Poached in Red Wine with Mascarpone Cream

2 1/4 cups red wine
1 cup sugar
1 1-by-3-inch strip orange zest
2 pounds sweet cherries, halved and pitted
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons honey

In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add the cherries and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the cherries are just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour into a glass or stainless-steel bowl so the cherries don’t overcook.

In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone with the honey. Remove the strip of orange zest from the cherries. Serve the warm cherries and syrup in bowls or stemmed glasses, topped with a large dollop of the mascarpone cream.

Variations

• The warm cherries and poaching liquid are great alone—without the mascarpone cream—or with whipped cream.

• Serve the mascarpone cream with cut up fresh fruit or mixed berries instead of with the poached cherries.

Grilled Apricots (or Plums, Peaches, or Pears) with Burrata, Country Ham, and Arugula

1 1/4 pounds apricots, halved and pitted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 pound burrata cheese, shredded
4 ounces shaved country ham 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the apricots with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, cut sides down, just until lightly charred, 5 minutes. Let cool.

In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the 1/4 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss in the apricots, radicchio and arugula. Transfer to a platter and top with the burrata, ham and vinegar. Serve.

Mozzarella with Summer Squash and Olive Puree

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1 pound fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into wedges
1 small zucchini, very thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash, very thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Flaky sea salt, freshly ground white pepper and piment d’Espelette or hot paprika, for sprinkling

In a mini processor, puree the olives. Strain the puree through a fine sieve; you should have about 1/4 cup. Spread the olive puree on plates and arrange the mozzarella wedges and zucchini and squash slices on top. Drizzle olive oil over the cheese and sprinkle with salt, white pepper and piment d’Espelette.

Cherry Clafoutis

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
5 large eggs
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour or almond meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces sweet cherries, pitted
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 10-inch round gratin dish and dust it with granulated sugar. In a large bowl, whisk the 1 cup of granulated sugar with the eggs and vanilla seeds. Whisk in the all-purpose flour, almond flour and salt until just incorporated. Add the milk and cream and whisk until light and very smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared gratin dish and arrange the cherries on top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the clafoutis is set and golden. Let cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

The clafoutis can be wrapped and refrigerated overnight. Serve at room temperature.

Fresh Peach Ricotta Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 cup white sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese full-fat recommended
3 large peaches peeled or not, as you like
For topping:
Flaked almonds
Brown sugar
Pinch salt

Garnish:
Icing/Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the centre of the oven. Grease a 9 or 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Set aside. *A 9-inch springform is the best option, if you have that size.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Prepare the peaches by peeling, if desired, then cutting 2 of the peaches into cubes and then cut the 3rd peach into slices. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs with the white sugar until light in colour and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the ricotta and mix in. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Using a spatula, gently fold in the 2 cubed peaches until combined well with the batter. Spoon the batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the sliced peaches on the top of the batter. Scatter some flaked almonds on top, then sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar and and pinch of salt.

Bake in preheated oven as follows: for a 9-inch springform pan, bake for 75-80 minutes. For a 10-inch springform, baking time will be shorter, about 60-65 minutes. In all cases, cake should have pulled away from the sides of the pan and the top should be evenly golden. You can test centre with a skewer to be sure it is cooked in the middle.

Allow cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the outside ring from the springform pan. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan base.

Summer Tomato Salad with Feta and Pita Crisps

1 1/2 pound heirloom tomatoes (about 3 medium)
12 oz. mixed cherry tomatoes
1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided plus more
1 lemon
1/2 garlic clove
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. za’atar
2 cups pita chips
1 1/2 tsp. (or more) honey
3 1/2 oz. Greek feta
1/4 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves

Cut tomatoes to taste, then toss with salt.

Zest 1/4 lemon—-you want about 1/2 tsp. zest (it’s easiest to measure if you hold the Microplane upside down so that the zest collects on top and you can scoop it into the measuring spoon). Grate 1/2 garlic clove. Set aside.

Heat 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a small saucepan or skillet over medium until just starting to shimmer, about 2 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp. za’atar and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and darker in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in reserved lemon zest and garlic. Wait 10 seconds, then remove from heat. (You’re looking to cook off the raw flavor of the garlic without losing the brightness of the lemon.) Transfer za’atar oil to a heatproof measuring cup.

Place 2 cups pita chips in a medium bowl. Pour 2 Tbsp. za’atar oil over; season with salt. Mix well with a rubber spatula, aiming to coat chips without breaking them into too many pieces.

You should have about 1/4 cup za’atar oil remaining. Squeeze 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon) into a small bowl. Add 1 1/2 tsp. honey and ½ tsp. salt. Add za’atar oil, stirring constantly, until emulsified (meaning that you don’t see any beads of separated oil). Taste dressing and add more lemon, honey, or salt if needed.

Break feta into chunks and toss with tomatoes. Add basil and mint. Drizzle about 3 Tbsp. dressing over and toss to gently combine.

Add pita chips to bowl (don’t leave leftover oil behind—scrape that in too) and fold gently to combine. Spoon salad onto platter, making sure to leave no juices behind. Drizzle with remaining za’atar oil.

Eat fast for crunchy chips or let sit for a crispy-gone-soggy experience.

Tomato Egg Drop Soup

2 tablespoons oil
10 ounces tomatoes (1 large or 2 small, about 280g; cut into small chunks)
1 cup chicken stock (235 ml)
2 cups water (or more chicken stock; 470 ml)
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
salt (to taste)
1 egg (beaten)
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch (mixed with 2 tablespoons water
1 scallion (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons cilantro (chopped, optional)

Heat the oil in a soup pot or wok over medium low heat. Add the tomato chunks and stir-fry for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are softened and start to fall apart.

Add in 1 cup chicken stock, 2 cups water, 2 teaspoons light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat so that the soup is simmering with the lid on.

Now quickly beat the egg in a small bowl and prepare the cornstarch slurry in a separate bowl.

Use a ladle to slowly swirl the soup in a whirlpool motion. Keep swirling as you pour in the cornstarch slurry until well incorporated. Now pour a thin stream of egg into the middle of the whirlpool as you slowly swirl the soup. This is how you get that pretty egg drop effect.

Serve hot or at room temperature. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro, if using.

Buttermilk Cucumber Salad

2 cups thinly sliced cucumbers (from 1 large English cucumber or 3 mini, peeled fully or in stripes if desired)
3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallot rings (from 1 shallot)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup torn or chopped fresh tender herbs, such as dill, tarragon, basil, parsley or dill
INSTRUCTIONS

Transfer the cucumbers and shallots to a colander, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss to combine. Set aside to drain for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Stir together the yogurt and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Taste and season with with salt and pepper, then stir in the cucumbers, shallots, and herbs.

Lao Hu Cai (Cucumber Tiger Salad)

3 Persian or mini seedless cucumbers
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 medium jalapeño, finely chopped (seeded first if desired)
1 bunch cilantro, tough stems trimmed, leaves and tender stems cut into 1-inch lengths
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons vegetable or toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, then cut again in half crosswise. Cut into pieces lengthwise into thin strips. Place in a large bowl.

Add the scallions, jalapeño, and cilantro and toss gently with your hands. Add the vinegar, oil, and salt, and toss once more. Taste and season with more salt as needed.

Shaved Fennel and Cucumber Salad

1/2 cup pitted, torn Castelvetrano olives
1/2 cup cubed feta cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large fennel bulb with fronds
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
3 Persian or mini seedless cucumbers
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
Juice of 1 large lemon

Stir the olives, feta, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil together in a medium bowl. Season with black pepper. Finely chop 1/4 cup fennel fronds from the fennel bulb and stir into the olives and feta.

Trim the fennel bulb. Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, shave the fennel and cucumbers lengthwise into very thin slices. Toss the fennel, cucumbers, and lemon zest and juice together in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

To serve, plate the fennel-cucumber mixture in alternating layers with the feta-olive mixture so you get a little of everything in each bite.

Blistered Cucumbers with Spiced Seeds

4 Persian or mini seedless cucumbers
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil

Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and set aside.

Toast the sesame seeds in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until lightly golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Add the cumin and coriander to the skillet and toast until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind until the seeds are just cracked. Transfer to the bowl of sesame seeds and add the red pepper flakes.

Wipe out the skillet and pat the cucumbers dry. Heat the oil in the skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add the cucumbers cut side down, and cook until browned, about 4 minutes.

Transfer to a cutting board, cut each piece in half lengthwise, then serve with the spicy seeds for dunking or sprinkling over.