Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mantra: the rules of indulgence and a recipe for Cucumber Water

Upon hearing on the morning news that we were entering our fourth big heat wave of the summer, I decided to dig out my new cookbook, Mantra: the rules of indulgence, by Jehangir Mehta and find his recipe for Cucumber Water that I have been itching to try.  I ordered the book a few months ago and hadn't yet had time to dig through it yet.  Mantra: the rules of indulgence is a dessert cookbook written by an Indian chef who uses ayurveda, his Indian upbringing, and his extensive experience in chic and high-end restaurants together to create the recipes in this book.

Some of his recipes sound absolutely indulgent and others sound so obscure I honestly don't really understand them.  Many recipes contain exotic ingredients and others have new and uncommon techniques applied to standard ingredients.  Of the ones that tempted me to try, the Jasmine Glazed Doughnuts, Pepper-Coconut Sorbet, Chamomile Macaroons, and Red Grape Sev stand out by far.  The Beet Sorbet and Radish Gourd Chutney sound fascinating and could potentially make it to my favorites list.  I'm not quite sold on the Vegetable Cake and Cauliflower Clafoutis recipes, although I won't officially comment until I've tried them...sweet and savory does make an impact...

For today's heat and bright sun, I will stick with what I need which is hydration and refreshment.  To add a bit of color and some extra fruitiness, I replace the author's ingredient, 1/2 lemon, with 2 juicy slices of organic valencia orange.  I will let this one sit for a few hours in the fridge and am looking forward to a tall glass later this afternoon!

       Cucumber Water
adapted from and inspired by Mantra: the rules of indulgence, by Jehangir Mehta

Two 12-inch unpeeled cucumbers (I think using just one is better, though.), julienned
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I used Hawaiian pink sea salt)
1/2 lemon (or two orange slices!)

Add the cucumbers and salt to 1 quart (4 cups) water in a pitcher.  Squeeze int he lemon juice and drop in the squeezed lemon (or orange).

Briefly stir. Cover and refrigerate until cold.  Remove the lemon, if desired.  Strain before drinking if you prefer (I wouldn't, though).

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