So, I've been quite silent about what's been going on. Last night I got the letter. Well, not the letter since I received the letter in May. What the frick-frack is she talking about? Well, you see, in May, I received a letter from Cal State LA's Nutritional Science Department. Nope, better yet, I first received an email from one of the professors on the selection committee.
Picture this: I see a new email notification on my phone. I sit down, I open it up. I read. I read again. "I'm a good candidate for the program." My mouth drops. I start crying. I've been accepted.
She said I'd receive an official letter in a few weeks. I was lucky to get it the morning that I left for San Francisco. It said I was recommended for the program and to the university. You receive this letter and you're like, "Um, yay? I'm being recommended? I'm not in?" Well, it seems the University Admissions part is a formality and they'll admit you once they receive your final transcripts and calculate a final G.P.A. Last semester, I earned straight A's, a 4.0, so, there wasn't much to calculate, eh? Hehe. Well, last night, I received an email from University Admissions and I AM IN! Whoo-hoo! Now you can see why I've been enjoying my summer vacation so far--I'm a grad student beginning Fall 2012 :-) Yup, my next endeavor is that M.S. in Nutritional Science, one more step to me becoming a registered dietitian.
Okay, hullabaloo aside, because I'm not starting school till late September, this summer is an actual summer vacation! There's no school, no real obligations for me... except perhaps to enjoy life a lot! After a break from the kitchen in June, I've recently begun cooking and baking again. This recipe was one I whipped up the other night and oh my, it was divine!
I have never been a huge fan of raw fennel. Whenever I use fennel it is to be thrown into a pan to be cooked down. I think it's because I'm not a huge fan of the licorice/anise flavor. Maybe the aversion started when I was a kid and my mom would put star anise into her Pho broth. And well, everyone who knows me knows I wasn't a Pho fan but rather a Bun fan, a Vietnamese rice vermicelli dish with grilled meats, fresh veggies, and fish sauce.
I wanted to make a Persian cucumber salad to go along with the arroz con pollo I was making for dinner. I am a huge fan of Persian cucumbers; they're smaller and have a slightly "sweet" flavor. Perhaps it is more refreshing in flavor to me. I thought about the ingredients I wanted in my cucumber salad and thought, "Hmm, the fennel bulbs are looking good and it would add a nice crunch."
And the rest is history. It is really a simple salad to put together. As we all know, simple recipes are usually incredibly tasty, too. When I was writing it up after dinner I was like, "Oh, that's it. That was a short recipe." Ya gotta love those ones!
While I usually use Greek feta, I found Armenian feta cheese when I was at the market. This was rather creamy and had some dried herbs and spices mixed into it. I liked it! It gave a lovely, slightly salty, even slightly spicy addition to the refreshing salad. This cheese even mellowed out the anise flavor of the fresh fennel. From the green onions you get a slight onion-y bite. And if you should add grape tomatoes, they are a wonderful pop of flavor and color and burst of juiciness! Try this salad out. I definitely find it a welcomed reprieve during these warm days that we are having in Southern California.
Fennel and Cucumber Salad
- 5 Persian cucumbers, peeled and diced into half moons
- 1 fennel bulb, diced
- 1/4 cup green onions, diced
- juice of one lemon
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- lots of freshly ground black pepper
- large handful of feta cheese
- Optional: grape tomatoes, halved
1. Combine diced fennel, green onions, and cucumbers in a large bowl.
2. Add the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix everything together.
3. Crumble in the feta cheese. Break the large pieces down. Mix well.
4. If desired, add grape tomatoes for garnish.
|It looks like a lot of green onions but it really isn't. Don't be afraid!|
|If you have never tried Persian cucumbers, I recommend that you do. I believe their cucumber flavor is more intense (if that makes sense).|
|Ooh, it's starting to look delish!|