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 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
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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