Italian Recipes – Preparing the Cucumber for Panzanella

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,271
    Culinary and Lifestyle Specialist Lisa Mushaw demonstrates how to prepare cucumber for Panzanella.

    Lisa Mushaw

    A new generation doyenne on the rise who is staking her claim in the lofty arenas of international travel, tourism and the culinary arts, Lisa Mushaw is making transatlantic waves with TREASURES OF TUSCANY – AN EPICUREAN VOYAGE. TREASURES launched in November 2002 as a one-week vacation abroad with a twist – a cooking program where participants are given extensive exposure to Italian cuisine while discovering the physical beauty and traditions that are uniquely Tuscan. The idea was to offer “foodies” an opportunity to share and celebrate the cultural, personal and convivial rites that are the Tuscan Table, while basking in the charm of one of the world’s most exquisite and historic treasures. Lisa is a “natural taster” who cut her culinary teeth in the kitchen of relatives who excelled in the preparation of Creole cuisine. As a child, long before she knew the difference between battuto and affogato, she demonstrated a natural talent for discerning which ingredients were missing or used in excess in recipes. Her culinary gifts are no accident as her family roots include small business owners who made their living as caterers in New Orleans. A fervent student of food and wine, Lisa’s most recent accomplishment was completing a three year sommelier program. TREASURES OF TUSCANY – AN EPICUREAN VOYAGE is ideal for those with a passion for continental adventure who want to escape the drama of daily life and be transformed by a week in Florence – the center of the Renaissance, the Etruscan city of San Gimingnano or the medieval town of Lucca, creating memories that will last for years on end. Those who bask in attention to detail, pampering and personal service will want to join Lisa for the this extraordinary excursion to Toscana, the Italian province rich in beauty and character and the birthplace of much great Italian art, cuisine, and history.

    Lisa Mushaw: Hi! I am Lisa Mushaw, owner of Treasures of Tuscany - An Epicurean Voyage. Today, we are preparing Panzanella. Panzanella is tomato and bread salad.

    Right now, I am going to show you how to peel and seed a cucumber, lets begin.

    First youre going to take a whole cucumber and again Id like to make things little easy for myself, I always just cut a cucumber in half because its somewhat long, and then I cut the ends off. Then youre just going to peel it, like so, removing the skin from the cucumber for the salad.

    You want to remove all the skin on this one because its a textured thing, the salad, I think it is, so you dont want to have bits and pieces of the skin. So, you removed it, and then well do the other one, let me just move some of this out of the way for you. And again, just peeling the skin, and again you dont have to cut the cucumber, its just -- I like to have a little bit more control of what I am using and this is easier for me especially with the slicing peel technique.

    Alright, so now that you have sliced the skin off the cucumber, youre now going to take the cucumber and slice it in half. Once you slice the cucumber you are then going to remove the seeds, and I typically just use a spoon and I just scrape the seeds out of the thinner of the cucumber, like so.

    In this recipe calls for two cucumbers. And again, as the seeds go flying everywhere, but its still easier, this is a very ripe cucumber thats why those seeds are flying, but this is still I think the easiest way to remove the seeds from a cucumber.

    Alright, so once the seeds are removed you are then going to take the cucumber and then you are going to slice it in half, and the thin or thickness of the slices depends on your preference. Just remember that you are making this for salad and typically you like salads to have pieces of the vegetables bite-sized. So, I try to make them not too thin and not too thick, but still enough so that you can have a crunch in the salad because if its too thin youre not even going to notice that you are biting into a cucumber.