A Good Year for Cucumbers

IMG_6985cucmbersLast year my cucumbers didn’t produce well: planted late, hot and dry, powdery mildew, neglect. This year is a different story (earlier planting and plenty of water) and I have had lots of cucumbers. A few have grown so large that I labeled them my “Caveman Club Cukes”. That’s what a well watered neglected garden can produce.
This year’s large harvest prompted me to search the internet for recipes that included cucumbers. Below are a few of the recipes that I’ve tried and enjoyed. The cucumber salad is yet to be made but is does sound yummy…perhaps I’ll make it this weekend. Do you have recipes that you use to enjoy the fruits, veggies or herbs that you have grown?
-Susan
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Chef John’s Gazpacho
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chef-johns-gazpacho/
Serves: 6
This cold summer vegetable soup is best with fresh sweet tomatoes.
Ingredients:
4 large fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced green onion
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
Directions:
1. Combine diced tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, green onion, jalapeno, and garlic in a large bowl. Stir in salt, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
2. Place cherry tomatoes, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender. Cover and puree until smooth. Pour pureed mixture through a strainer into the tomato-cucumber mixture; stir to combine.
3. Place 1/3 of the tomato mixture into the blender. Cover, turn blender on, and puree until smooth. Return pureed mixture to the remaining tomato-cucumber mixture. Stir to combine. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.
4. Season cold soup with salt and black pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with basil.

Pineapple Cucumber Gazpacho
http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/print/recipe/pineapple-cucumber-gazpacho?css=recipe_no_image
Serves 4 to 6
Sweet-tart pineapple adds a nice balance to a classic gazpacho. A garnish of macadamia nuts lends body and richness to this fresh, cooling soup.
Ingredients:
3 cups chopped pineapple
3 cups chopped, seeded and peeled cucumber
1 1/2 cup pineapple juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 jalapeño, halved and seeded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, (white parts only)
2 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Directions
Put pineapple, cucumber, pineapple juice, oil, lime juice, jalapeño and salt into a blender and purée until smooth. Add green onions and purée just until combined. Transfer soup to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with macadamia nuts and cilantro.

Tzatziki – Cucumber Yogurt Dip
http://greekfood.about.com/od/dipsspreadspures1/r/Tzatziki.htm
Cool and creamy, this tangy cucumber dip flavored with garlic is the perfect compliment to grilled meats and vegetables. It’s served on the side with warm pita bread triangles for dipping, and is also used as a condiment for souvlaki.
Ingredients:
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 cup greek yogurt, strained
1 cup sour cream
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tsp. chopped fresh dill
Directions
Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Using a whisk, blend the yogurt with the sour cream. Add the olive oil mixture to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Finally, add the cucumber and chopped fresh dill. Chill for at least two hours before serving.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh dill just before serving.

Cucumber, Tomato and Feta Salad
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cucumber-Tomato-and-Feta-Salad-365671
Serves: 8
This classic refreshing salad pairs perfectly with grilled lamb .
ingredients
6 cups coarsely chopped English hothouse or Persian cucumbers (about 2 pounds total)
2 large tomatoes (about 1 pound total), coarsely chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 cup assorted pitted olives (such as Kalamata or Gaeta), halved
1 7-ounce package feta, crumbled, divided
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions:
Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, olives, half of feta, and mint in a large bowl. Whisk oil and lemon juice in a small bowl; season dressing with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining half of feta over and serve.
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