Cooking with Cucumbers, from Food Fitness Faith

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Perhaps “cooking” is not the best word to use, since I typically use cucumbers raw. I planted one cucumber plant this year in my little raised bed, and it has taken off and taken over! Next year, I’ll give it more space. 


I got a late start with my garden due to traveling this past spring. I decided to purchase one Boston Pickling Cucumber plant, not because I wanted to make pickles, but because the basic cucumber is pretty boring, and there wasn’t much choice at Lowe’s by the time I went shopping. Next year, I’ll look around for some interesting heirloom seeds.


Still, I’ve been happy with the harvest and have eaten more cucumbers than I can count! With all of those cukes, I had to get more creative than just tossing some in a salad. The above photo shows my latest creation, a cucumber salad inspired by a recipe my son’s girlfriend shared with me. I added Tabasco sauce, giving it some heat — a nice contrast to the cool crisp cucumber. I also added fresh herbs from my garden including lime-basil, which was really nice! In fact, I might try it again using lime juice instead of vinegar. 


The pickling cucumbers hold up very well in vinegar sauces, and in fact this salad tastes better the longer it sits. We ate some right away and finished it off the next day. I thought it was better after having been in the refrigerator overnight. Here’s my recipe:


CUCUMBER SALAD

 

2 cups peeled, diced cucumbers

1 clove garlic finely minced

½ T. sesame or olive oil

1 T. vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

5-6 dashes Tabasco

1 T. chopped fresh chives or the green tops of scallions

½ T. fresh, chopped basil (or other favorite herb—I used lime basil)

salt and pepper to taste.

 

Combine everything and mix well.


I’ve also made a unique gazpacho.


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CUCUMBER-CASHEW GAZPACHO


2 large cucumbers, peeled and seeded

Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated

2 T. lemon juice

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked about 4 hours, then drained

1/2 cup filtered water

1/2 cup mint leaves, save a few sprigs

1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste


Blend cashews and water together until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend again to desired consistency. Serve chilled. Garnish with sprig of mint.


And lots of cucumber water. Here’s my favorite combo:


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CUCUMBER GINGER WATER


8 cups filtered water

1 large peeled and chopped cucumber

1/2 cup chopped ginger

1/2 cup rosemary, coarsely chopped


Steep in sun at least 4 hours or let sit overnight.


See my previous blog entry, Summer Harvest in My Little Garden Plot for more cucumber ideas.

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™