Monday, July 8, 2013

For the Love of Gardening



I am here to announce that I Love Gardening - the being outside, the working with the soil, composting, growing vegetables from seed.  It gives me a feeling of accomplishment.  It also reminds me of my grandfather - who could grow anything.

This season I am just in awe of my garden - mostly my vegetable garden (my flowers are doing great as well, but my vegetables); I've never seen them so hearty.  Some years have been better than others and there have always been one or two vegetables that have given a good yield - tomatoes and jalapenos.

But, this year - this year is over-the-top.  I have tomatoes, green peppers, jalapenos, and herbs that are just out of control - I Love It!  And something that I have planted year after year; and it dies year after year - cucumbers.


People I have cucumbers and not just ordinary cucumbers. 
A wonderful friend informed me that the variety is called 'lemon cucumber'.  They are
are coming in like gangbusters.  Because of this abundance
 I have come up with a few recipes that use this 
wonderful fruit and I hope you will enjoy.

 (oh, something else I have learned - a cucumber by definition is a fruit. 
This from a Bontonist - A fruit is the part of the plant that developes
 from a flower.  It's also the section of the plant that contains the seeds.)
You learn something new every day.

Cucumber Martini
  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 1/2 oz. cucumber vodka (I used Skinnygirl Cucumber Vodka, three or four slices of cucumber (any type of cucumber works just fine), and at least 1 cup of ice.
  2. Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds (this may seem like a long time). You're not just mixing the ingredients, you're trying to melt some of the ice into the cocktail to soften its edges and blend the flavors.
  3. Strain into a martini glass (or vessel of your choice). Add a slice or two (or three) of fresh, unbruised cucumber and serve immediately.











Cucumber Infused Water

  • 2 whole cucumbers, rinsed, and sliced round
  • 2 gallons of filtered water
  • glass pitcher (or whatever you would like to serve the water in)
Directions:
  1. Add cucumbers and water in the pitcher. Let steep for a few hours before serving. Right before serving, throw in ice to keep the water cool.
  2. It's as simple as that! 



















Cucumber, Basil, & Lime Juice
(this recipe is from Gwyneth Paltro's new cookbook - "It's All Good" page - 213)
**this is a must try - love this recipe and her book** 
 



 
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 lime, zest & pith removed
  • 1 apple, cut into wedges
      Starting with the basil, juice everything into a glass.
      ** If you do not have a juicer she suggests - chop all the ingredients and pop them into a
      powerful blender with 1/2 cup of water - then pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer
      into a glass. Stir and drink immediately.







Greek Tomato, Cucumber, & Bread Salad
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 6 cups diced rustic bread
  • kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cucumber, unpeeled, sliced a 1/2 inch thick - the halved
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 and onion, thinly sliced into half-rounds
  • 1/2 pound good feta cheese 3/4-inch diced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
      Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large sate pan until hot.  Add the bread and sprinkle with salt
      and pepper; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for about 5 to 10 minutes
      or until nicely browned.  Set aside.

      Place the cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onion in a large bowl and toss together.

      Add the feta, olives, and bread to the vegetables in the bowl, add the vinaigrette, and toss lightly.
      Let sit for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.  Season to taste.  Serve at room
      temperature.

      
       
       Vinaigrette 
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
      Place all the above ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.  Whisking constantly, 
      slowly add the 1/2 cup of olive oil to make an emulsion. 
  
There you have it - 5 different ways to have cucumbers.  I really hope you try these recipes.

Here's Wishing you a Happy Monday!

 



 
       



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