Thursday, July 9, 2009
A bevy of cucumbers
I got an e mail from a reader who calls himself Greenman, it sounds like he has a green thumb, which is a very good thing. He is facing what many of us with gardens face...an overabundance. There are times when one vegetable will take off more than any others giving us more than we can eat, and share. When one thinks of cucumbers one thinks of salads. Their clean crisp taste is a delight in salad, but one can only eat so many salads.
I went to the Farmer's market early this morning and have been playing in the kitchen and behold the cucumber... a very versatile vegetable.
#1 Cucumber Pea soup
This preparation reeks of fresh summer flavor and is incredibly simple.
In a pan place
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups finely chopped cucumbers
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
Bring to a boil. Turn off heat, let rest for about a minute and then puree in the blender. Adjust seasoning if needed and serve either warm or cold with fresh mint and chive. I was so happy with this simple soup it became my breakfast.
#2 Cucumber Thai noodles
3 cups shredded cucumbers (use a mandolin and make them into long noodle shards or a cheese grater for short ones)
4 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fermented fish sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 lime cut into 4
Flax seeds/chopped peanuts/green onions to garnish
Shred the cucumber into long pasta like tendrils and DRAIN for at least an hour in a colander over the sink. It helps to lightly salt and toss the cucumber so that the maximum water comes out.
Take all the sauce ingredients and blend with a whisk or in a food processor. Toss with cucumber and top with the flax, peanuts and onions, divide into 4 servings and give each person a wedge of lime to squeeze over the noodles.
#3 stuffed cucumbers with a Tahini butter
1/3 pound ground lamb
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup cooked rice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 small onion chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon tahini
Lop off the top of the cucumbers and scoop out with a spoon. Mix all your stuffing ingredients in a small bowl and pack down into the cucumbers. Place cucumbers into a pan with a touch of water on the bottom and place into an oven set at 375 for 30 to 40 minutes until stuffing is cooked and cucumber is tender.
Melt butter and stir in the tahini, blend with a whisk until it is full integrated and drizzle over your stuffed cucumber. If you have a little greek yogurt in the house, put a blob on each one and serve.
I had all these dishes today and am not sick of cucumbers, in fact I am marinating some for a salad tonight.
Anyone who has an ingredient they have no idea what to do with...when I have the time there is nothing I like better than playing with my food. Write me and I will see what I can do.