Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook

Tip: Before we get into the juicy elements of cukes, did you see Guru Gene Sumi’s Facebook valuable advice yesterday? Basically to keep plants in the healthy mode during the very dry spell, have at least 2-inches deep of mulch around the base to keep hydrated.

Wealthy in Cucumbers

It came upon me unexpectedly from my kitchen garden...masses of perky burpless cucumbers in this intense heat. The vines from just 2 plants, happily climbed my bamboo trellis filling out a raised bed with yellow blooms and sweet twirling vines. What to do with all of that bounty?...why experiment, of course! The recipes below are delightful even to me who has had a plethora of cukes.

Recipes

Cuke Ribbon and Nectarine Salad with Thai Dressing 

Cucumber Rounds, Almond Butter and Cherries

Cucumber, Fennel, Red Onion Health Salad

Cucumber Mini Sandwiches

Cucumber Refresher 

Cucumber for Beauty and health: As a silica rich food, cucumbers are extremely beneficial to health especially during the summers as it mostly contains water and many important nutrients that are essential for human body. The flesh of cucumber is rich in vitamins A, C, and folic acid while the hard skin of cucumber is rich in fiber and a range of minerals include magnesium, molybdenum, silica, and potassium. In addition, cucumber has silica, a trace mineral contributing greatly at strengthening our connective tissues. Cucumber is known to heal many skin problems, under eye swellings and sunburn. From Raw for Beauty

Cuke Ribbon and Nectarine Salad with Thai Dressing

The Thai style dressing recipe hails from Kitchen Gardeners International, where you will see by the measurements, that many gardeners go by handfuls rather than precise measurements. I married the dressing with my Cuke Ribbon and Nectarine Salad as the herbs and ginger are a beautiful combo with the nectarines, cukes and saltiness of the feta.

  • 2 cups cuke ribbons, sliced with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 nectarines, washed, halved and sliced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Thai Garden Dressing (recipe below)
Toss the cuke ribbons, nectarine slices and scallions together. Place on a serving platter, sprinkle with feta and drizzle with the Thai dressing.

Thai Garden Dressing

This recipe was inspired by Kitchen Gardeners International but I found it needed a bit of oil which I have added.

  • 2 tablespoons nut or seed butter (almond, cashew, sunflower seed, tahini, etc)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice and zest
  • Handful fresh basil
  • Handful fresh chives or green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup water (more or less, for the consistency you want)
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil

Puree all of the ingredients until smooth and creamy. For a milder ginger flavor, squeeze the juice from the grated pulp rather than adding it all. Add a pinch of salt if you need it, but if you use fresh ingredients you might not need any.

This dressing works really well drizzled over sweet potatoes and tossed with some fresh greens. Or, you can leave it thicker and use it as a dip for some fresh cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes. Try it with different dishes and see how you like it. The best way to learn is to experiment!

Cucumber Rounds, Almond Butter and Cherries

Makes 12

As simple as it gets...just spread a bit of the almond butter on each cuke slice, top with fresh cherry halves and sprinkle with more almonds.

  • 12 slices cucumber, cut 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 tablespoons almond butter
  • 12 pitted dark sweet or Ranier cherries, cut in half
  • Almond slices

 

Paper thin slices achieved with an inexpensive mandoline

 

Cucumber, Fennel, Red Onion Health Salad

Serves 4

  • 2 cups cucumber, sliced paper thin with a mandoline (see photo)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced paper thin with a mandoline
  • 1 cup fennel, sliced paper thin with a mandoline
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
Toss all ingredients together in a medium bowl and let season, refrigerated at least 1 hour before serving.

 

Cucumber Mini Sandwiches

Per mini sandwich

These are positively scrumptious and you don't have to let on they are way healthy.

  • Cuke slices
  • Smoked turkey
  • Slices avocado
  • Tomato slices
  • Wasabi mayonnaise

Have the bottom slice of cucumber laid on a cutting board. Layer the turkey, avocado and tomato slices on top. Add the top slice and a dab of the spicy wasabi mayonnaise.

Cucumber Refresher

Make cucumber water, by slicing up some cucumbers into a pitcher of water. Replenish as you drink it. You can add sprigs of mint too.

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