Archive for the ‘Cucumbers’ Category

Summer’s in full swing, and let’s face it: you might be tired of grilling by now.

Don’t get me wrong…grilling makes food taste great, but sometimes you don’t want to stand out there in a cloud of smoke while your friends are at the table, sipping wine and having a good time without you.

This is a great dish for those that want to pass on the grill for a day. It’s a delicious salad that you can serve warm or cool. You can make it the day before. Wrap it in plastic, and keep it in the fridge. Then, when your guests arrive, let it warm to room temperature. Taste for seasoning before serving. If you’re not a fan of quinoa, brown basmati rice works well, too. And use what’s fresh and in season. If you can’t find asparagus, some chopped and lightly sautéed squash works just as well.

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1 1/3 cup dry quinoa (or 1 cup basmati rice)
Chicken stock
Juice of 1 lemon
2 lbs. wild-caught American shrimp, peeled and de-veined (16 to 18 count)
1 cup of asparagus stalks, cut into 1″ lengths
1/2 cup minced scallions, green part only
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and medium-diced
1/4 cup red onion, small diced
1/2 cup seeded and chopped tomatoes
3/4 lb. good feta cheese, crumbled
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

 

Prepare the quinoa according to the package directions, using chicken stock instead of water. Once it’s cooked, place it in a large bowl. (1 1/3 cups dry quinoa should give you about 3 cups of cooked quinoa.)

Place the chopped asparagus on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss them to combine and spread them out in a single layer. Roast them for just a few minutes at 350 degrees. Set them aside to cool to room temperature. (You can also simply saute the asparagus in a pan on the stove top with olive oil, salt and pepper.)

Place the shrimp on the same sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss them to combine and spread them out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes at 350 degrees, until the shrimp are cooked through. Turn them once while cooking. Don’t overcook them! (again…you can simply saute the shrimp in a pan on the stove top with olive, salt and pepper.)

Add the shrimp to the quinoa, then add the asparagus, lemon juice, scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend…or, if you’re not serving soon, place the bowl in the fridge. Before serving, allow it to warm almost to room temperature. Taste it and season again, if needed, before serving.

 

 

Sure, most people will be grilling this weekend. But this is a great dish for those that want to pass on the beef. This is a delicious salad that you can serve warm or cool. You can make this the day before. Wrap it in plastic, and keep it in the fridge. Then, when your guests arrive, let it warm to room temperature. Taste for seasoning before serving. If you’re not a fan of quinoa, brown basmati rice works well, too.

FullSizeRender (8)

 

1 1/3 cup dry quinoa (or 1 cup basmati rice)
Chicken stock
Juice of 1 lemon
2 pounds wild-caught American shrimp, peeled and de-veined (16 to 18 count)
1 cup of asparagus stalks, cut into 1″ lengths
1/2 cup minced scallions, green part only
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and medium-diced
1/4 cup red onion, small diced
1/2 cup seeded and chopped tomatoes
3/4 pound good feta cheese, crumbled
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

 

Prepare the quinoa according to the package directions, using chicken stock instead of water. Once it’s cooked, place it in a large bowl.

Place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes in a pre-heated 350 degree oven, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don’t overcook!

Add the shrimp to the quinoa, then add the lemon juice, scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

 

 

Happy National Vodka Day! If you think cucumbers are boring, this drink will change your mind. Garden-fresh cukes are always best.

 

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4 fresh cucumbers, peeled and seeded
Small ice cubes
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons granulated organic cane sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup vodka (I like Tito’s)
1 oz. orange liqueur (I like Cointreau)

 

Peel and seed the cucumbers. Coarsely chop them and then purée in a food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Or, if you have one, use a juicer. Set the cucumber juice aside.

To a large glass pitcher, add the mint leaves, sugar and lime juice. Muddle the ingredients so that the mint leaves release their oils. Add 3/4 cup (at least) of the cucumber juice. Add the vodka and Cointreau. Muddle again briefly.

Fill tall drinking glasses with ice cubes. Strain the cocktail into glasses. Garnish with a cucumber spear or mint.

If you think cucumbers are boring, this drink will change your mind. Garden-fresh cukes are always best.

This drink requires a little prep. If you have a juicer, use that instead of pureeing in a food processor. Just peel the cukes and juice.

 

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Ingredients:

4 fresh cucumbers, peeled and seeded

Small ice cubes

1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

2 teaspoons granulated organic cane sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 cup top shelf vodka, like Chopin

1 oz (2 tablespoons) Cointreau

 

Peel and seed cucumbers. Coarsely chop them and then purée in a food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Set cucumber juice aside.

To a large glass pitcher, add mint leaves, sugar and lime juice. Muddle ingredients so that mint leaves release their oils. Add 3/4 cup (at least) of the cucumber juice. Add the vodka and Cointreau. Muddle again briefly.

Fill tall drinking glasses with ice cubes. Strain cocktail into glasses. Garnish with cucumber spear or mint.

The cukes are taking over my garden! Time to make soup!

The original cucumber soup recipe comes from Ikies Traditional Houses, a wonderful hotel in the beautiful town of Oia in Santorini, Greece. After a long, hot day of exploring this beautiful island, we settled down to a refreshing bowl of cucumber soup. They were nice enough to share the recipe with us, and a few tweaks later, it’s my definition of perfect.

cuke soup

 

Ingredients:

 

3 English cucumbers or 5 regular cucumbers, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 cup vegetable stock, preferably home-made

4 cups plain full- fat yogurt, preferably Fage Greek yogurt

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

Juice of 1 lemon

Fleur de Sel and pepper

 

Peel, seed and chop the cucumbers and place in a blender with garlic, stock, 2 cups of the yogurt, mint leaves, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons Fleur de Sel, and a grating of fresh black pepper.

Turn on blender and mix well. Stop blender and then add remaining 2 cups of yogurt and mix by hand.

Pour cucumber soup in bowls. Garnish with diced cucumber or radish.

 

To make the vegetable stock, boil chopped carrots, celery and onion in a large pot of water for an hour, reducing by half. Strain the veggies before using the stock. You can roast the veggies on a sheet pan in a hot oven for a bit before adding to the water for an even richer flavor.

 

I’ve never met a ceviche I didn’t like. Sometimes, nothing can stop a serious seafood craving like sushi, sashimi or ceviche. They require the freshest seafood and veggies you can get your hands on. And other than some fine chopping, they require little else.

The acid in citrus juices basically “cooks” the seafood in a process very similar to applying heat, but when I use shrimp in ceviche, I place them in some boiling salted water first…although very briefly.

Crazy colored shrimp, thanks to blood oranges.

Crazy colored shrimp, thanks to blood oranges.

Ingredients:

For the poaching liquid…

2 quarts water

1/4 cup salt

For the ceviche…

1 pound raw wild-caught American shrimp, peeled and deveined

juice of 2 lemons

juice of 2 limes

juice of 2 oranges (I had blood oranges this time)

1 cup diced seeded peeled cucumber

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

pinch of red pepper flakes

1 cup diced seeded tomato

1 avocado, chopped into 1/2″ pieces

1 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon Fleur de Sel

Combine water and 1/4 cup salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add shrimp and immediately turn off the heat. Let the shrimp sit for just a minute, drain and transfer to a bowl of ice and place in fridge to cool.

Remove cooled shrimp from fridge and drain. Chop shrimp into 1/2″ pieces and place in a medium non-reactive bowl. Add lemon, lime and orange juice. Stir in cucumber, onion and pepper flakes. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Stir in the tomato, avocado, chopped cilantro, olive oil and Fleur de Sel into the shrimp mixture. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro leaves, if desired.

I love tequila. I love Pimm’s. And I love Dark & Stormies. I’m a lush. This cocktail has an interesting nod to all three.

tequila cup

 

Ingredients:

3 oz Patron silver tequila
1.5 oz Pimm’s No. 1
1 dash fresh lime juice
Chilled Ginger beer (I use AJ Stephan’s, a local product made with cane sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup)
Ice cubes
Fresh mint
Cucumber slices (optional)

Combine tequila, Pimm’s and lime juice in a highball glass filled with ice.
Place slices of cucumber in the glass, if desired.
Top with Ginger beer and stir gently.
Garnish with mint sprig.

The original cucumber soup recipe comes from Ikies Traditional Houses, a wonderful hotel in the beautiful town of Oia in Santorini, Greece. After a long, hot day of exploring this beautiful island, we settled down to a refreshing bowl of cucumber soup. They were nice enough to share the recipe with us, and a few tweaks later, it’s my definition of perfect.

cuke soup

 

Ingredients:

 

3 English cucumbers or 5 regular cucumbers, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 cup vegetable stock, preferably home made

4 cups plain full- fat yogurt, preferably Fage Greek yogurt

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

Juice of 1 lemon

Fleur de Sel and pepper

 

Peel, seed and chop the cucumbers and place in a blender with garlic, stock, 2 cups of the yogurt, mint leaves, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons Fleur de Sel, and a grating of fresh black pepper.

Turn on blender and mix well. Stop blender and then add remaining 2 cups of yogurt and mix by hand.

Pour cucumber soup in bowls. Garnish with diced cucumber or radish.

 

To make the vegetable stock, boil chopped carrots, celery and onion in a large pot of water for an hour, reducing by half. Strain the veggies before using the stock. You can roast the veggies on a sheet pan in a hot oven for a bit before adding to the water for an even richer flavor.

 

This a fantastic drink that requires a little prep. If you have a juicer, use that instead of pureeing in a food processor. Just peel the cukes and juice.

cuke drink pic

 

Ingredients:

2 English cucumbers or 4 regular cucumbers

Small ice cubes

1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

2 teaspoons granulated organic cane sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 cup top shelf vodka, like Chopin

1 oz (2 Tablespoons) Cointreau

 

Peel and seed cucumbers. Coarsely chop them and then purée in a food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing solids to extract as much liquid as possible.

To a large glass pitcher, add mint leaves, sugar and lime juice. Muddle ingredients so that mint leaves release their oils. Add 3/4 cup (at least) cucumber juice, the vodka and Cointreau. Muddle again briefly.

Fill tall drinking glasses with ice cubes. Strain cocktail into glasses. Garnish with cucumber spear or mint.

Cucumber season is winding down here in Southern New England. If you think these veggies are nothing special, it’s probably because you bought them from a supermarket, where they’ve been grown on the other side of the planet, covered in wax to prevent bruising, and then shipped to your local store where they place them under artificial lighting.

Go to your local farmer now. Buy some amazing fresh cukes. Then try any or all of these suggestions…

CRISPY CUCUMBER SOUP

3 medium-sized cucumbers, peeled and seeded

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 cup vegetable broth

4 cups plain yogurt (I like the full fat yogurt)

1/2 cup mint leaves

juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper

Peel and seed 2 1/2 of the cucumbers and place in a blender with garlic, broth, 3 cups of the yogurt, mint leaves, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Mix well. Add remaining yogurt and wisk in.

Finely dice the leftover 1/2 cucumber and place in soup bowl. Add soup on top.

Garnish with a pinch of SEA salt, preferably Fleur de Sel.

REFRESHING CUCUMBER DRINK

This is a recipe I found last summer, and it’s one of the most refreshing summer drinks you can make for yourself. But it also requires a lot of preparation. It’s worth it. I made a pitcher this past weekend, and I can’t even begin to tell you how good it was!

Ingredients per pitcher:

8 English cucumbers, peeled and seeded

4 cups lightly packed fresh mint leaves

12 Tablepsoons fresh lime juice

8 teaspoons sugar

16 ounces vodka

4 ounces Cointreau

Peel cucumbers and quarter lengthwise. Remove any seeds. Cut a couple of quarters into thin stalks for garnish. Rough chop the rest of the cukes and put them in a food processor. Blend until totally liquefied. Strain cuke juice through a fine sieve, squeezing out as much liquid as you can from the solids. Throw the solids in your compost bin.

In a pitcher, combine mint, sugar and lime juice. Muddle the mint leaves, then add 1 cup crushed ice to the pitcher and stir well.

Add 3 cups cucumber juice, the vodka and Cointreau to the pitcher and stir well again.

Strain liquid into tall glasses filled with ice. Garnish with cucumber stalks.

PIMM’S CUP

Pimm’s No. 1 is a gin-based liqueur made in England. There are many variations of this drink, but my favorite is this simple:

Pimm’s No. 1

Ginger ale

1 smaller cucumber, peeled and quartered lengthwise

In a tall glass filled with ice, pour 2 oz of the Pimm’s No. 1. Fill to top of glass with ginger ale, leaving enough room to place a stalk of cucumber in the glass.

And nothing comforts me more than a bowl of chopped cukes with sour cream, some finely chopped fresh dill and a pinch of salt. Something my Mom gave us as kids that I still love today.

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