Archive for the ‘Cucumber Recipes’ Category

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September 17, 2015: Cucumber Soup

September 17, 2015

Cucumber SoupAs I mentioned in my last article, when my family visited last month we went to the Colonial Inn in Concord, Ma. Cooking for myself like I usually do, I’m very impressed when I go out to eat these days to find almost every restaurant caters to the vegetarian palate to some degree. Sometimes it’s just soup and bread, but I can almost always find something to eat.

Once in a great while I find a restaurant that raises the bar on their vegetarian dishes to the unique and noteworthy. Such was all the dishes we  tried at the Colonial Inn.

My niece ordered the Colonial’s Black Bean Burger. I saw this on the menu as was almost going to order it, but changed my mind at the last second. As she was on the other side of the table, I didn’t hear her order and was very pleased when she offered to share a taste with me.

One problem with black bean burgers, homemade and store-bought, is that they often add just a tad too much cumin in the mix. Cumin is one of those spices that it takes an expert hand (and tasting while tweaking the addition) to keep the balance from interesting that can quickly shift to overwhelming. The Colonial got that balance just perfect. Topped with a tiny corn relish and a fine roll, the taste was easily the best of any black bean burger I’ve ever had. The texture was very close to a meat burger, which shows the skill of the chef, as veggie burgers often fall to pieces when soft like this, but because we’ve never had one with such a delicate texture, both my niece and I agreed that it was rather unfamiliar.

I was pleased to find Truffle Fries on the menu and they were very good at the Colonial and seemed to be fried in truffle oil. But after one taste, I realized the down-side of knowing a master chef like Yoshio. He makes truffle fries and tops them with real grated truffle (which makes the dish far too expensive to make for mass distribution.) Yoshio has forever spoiled me this way, but the Colonial’s fries were a very delicious and welcome second.

I also ordered what the Colonial called their Cucumber Gazpacho Soup. The name was a little confusing (as gazpacho is usually a tomato-based broth and cucumber soup is usually a cream-based broth) so I asked the waitress to describe the soup. She explained that it was a cold, creamy cucumber soup with a topping of salsa. I loved the addition of a tiny bit of heat into the cool, slightly sweet, very smooth, cucumber base and I was inspired to make my version. Again, made for mass-consumption, there was nothing wrong at all with the Colonial’s soup….I just tend to like my soups a bit more on the savory side and I don’t mind a slight amount of texture that the Colonial carefully got rid of.

Cucumber Soup

2 Medium Leeks (washed thoroughly; chopped; green part for stock)

6 Large Cukes (washed; de-skinned (save skins for stock); de-seeded

2C. Baby Kale (washed; chopped)

6 Tblsp. Fresh Dill Weed   2 Bullion Cubes

2 C. Heavy Cream         3 Tblsp. Butter

Make stock of cuke skins, green part of leeks, and baby kale stems. Sauteé veggies in oil until tender. Add 1 Qt. H2O. Add bouillon cubes to fortify. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. Strain.

Sauteé white part of leeks in butter until tender. Add de-seeded cukes (cubed into 2″ pieces) and baby kale. Add stock and H2O to cover veggies. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover until veggies are tender. At the end of the simmer, add dillweed, salt & pepper and grind with an immersion blender. Add cream.

Top with a splash of hot sauce, then sour cream and a dab of mild salsa.

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March 20, 2013: Cucumber-Bean Sprout Salad

March 20, 2013

Cuke-Bean Sprout SaladHaving Summer vegetables available year-round allows the delicious taste of this Japanese Summer salad just when we need it the most! Cucumber-Bean Sprout Salad combines crisp  veggies with the nutty taste of sesame and a light dressing of shoyu and rice vinegar.

In a wok, over medium-high heat, add 1 Tblsp. sesame oil and 2C. bean sprouts. Turning often, fry the bean sprouts until they start to crisp. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with a dash of 5-spice powder, stir and chill. Take a medium cucumber, wash, slice in half (length-wise) and de-seed. Scrape the skin with the tines of a fork, slice thin (1/4″) and soak in salted H2O for 20 minutes (this will remove some bitterness of the cucumbers.) Drain well and chill. Assemble the cucumbers on each plate and top with bean sprouts. Add a small of equal amounts of shoyu and rice vinegar to salad and sprinkle with toasted white sesame seeds.

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September 13, 2012: Summer Punch

September 13, 2012

Here in New England we’ve already had a couple of cold-ish nights, a sure sign that there is more cold not too far down the road. So this recipe may be coming a tad late, as it is a perfect thirst quencher for a hot day, and just different enough to make it interesting.

My sweet neighbor Cindy, has been feeding me fresh veggies from her garden for a couple of weeks now, and they all have been very appreciated. The fresh beans, tomatoes, squash, and the latest…cucumbers, have been just delicious! Cindy gave me a couple of cukes the other day, but only after I had picked up a few from the reduced produce rack, so I had to come up with a way to use them so that none went to waste. I came up with not one, but two slightly odd (but delicious) recipes. Summer Punch is a mix of lemon, apple, and cucumber juices. The Cucumber “Pudding” was, at first, just a way of using the part of the cucumber not used for the punch, but I ended up liking this recipe perhaps even more than the punch recipe.

Summer Punch:
Skin two medium cucumbers, slice in half and de-seed with small spoon and put the seeds/pulp in a sieve with a bowl underneath. Lightly crush seeds/pulp with a pestle and let drain as you finely grate the rest of cucumbers in another bowl. Discard seeds and pulp and add the grated cukes to the sieve to get a total of about 1/2C. cucumber juice. To cucumber juice, add 1Tblsp. lemon juice and 1.5C. unsweetened apple juice. Serve with ice and a slice of lemon.

Cucumber “Pudding:”
With the pulp (NOT the seeded pulp…the pulp from the flesh of the cukes) left over after the juices for the Summer Punch have been drained, add an equal amount of your favorite yogurt. Plain is fine, lemon…even better. The best buy for yogurt today was…stay with me…bannana…and I thought it was just fantastic! Add a sprinkle of cardamon and serve right away. The crunch of the fresh cukes is a wonderful texture, and I got the feeling that if left too long in the yogurt, the cukes would get too mushy.

Two recipes for the price of one. Thank you Cindy, for all the fresh food, for the inspiration to these healthy recipes and for keeping the “price” near to zip!

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