Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cucumbers are in season. Here's what's cookin'.

Summer is a tough time to post.  The kids are at my heels and carving out time to write is a challenge.  Therefore I'm going to try something new.  
I'm going to try writing shorter but more frequent posts and using the Blogger App on my phone.  I've become a bit lazy and am relying too much on my Facebook page.   I need to direct more traffic here, so here goes nothin. 

My cucumbers are actually going nuts right now.  I got my starts at Joes Gardens and that's just the additional time they needed to get growing.  Yesterday I picked three big boys that are at least 12 inches long.
They are English cucumbers and are my favorite.  So now what?  One if the biggest problems with home gardening is what to do with all the produce you have outside your door.  It's a good problem to have, but it's still a problem.  Here's where my cookbook and culinary magazine addiction can benefit you. This months recent edition of Food and Wine Magazine had a nice recipe for cold cucumber soup that calls for 2 stinking pounds of cucumbers!!!  Yep, that'll do quite nicely.  My husband Matt is riding his bike today and visiting our favorite local seafood place Vis Seafoods on his way home from work.  He's going to pick up the salmon and I will be making the soup.  
Here's my adaptation of the recipe.  Remember I'm lactose intolerant so I have to modify these things. Have fun, take a look, and leave a comment or question. 

Cold Cucumber Soup
(Adapted from Justin Chapple's Tangy Cucumber Soup)

2 lbs. English cucumbers-halved, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 cup plain yogurt ( strained or Greek)
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (extra for garnish)
2 tsp. chopped dill
1 tsp. chopped tarragon 
Salt & pepper to taste

This recipe calls for Greek yogurt.  I don't usually have that in my fridge so to compensate I just strain the yogurt that I can digest at home.  
Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and scoop about 2/3 cup of your favorite local plain yogurt into it. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth together with kitchen string, attach to a wooden spoon and hang over a bowl to catch the excess liquid (the whey). Strain the yogurt for at least an hour.  The longer you strain it, the thicker the yogurt. 
Peel, seed and chop 2lbs of cucumbers. For me this was about 2 large English cucumbers. 
In a blender or food processor purée the cucumbers, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, dill, and tarragon. When blending gradually add in the olive oil until smooth and silky.  Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled (at least 30 minutes). Salt and pepper to taste. 
Serve in chilled bowls, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with extra dill. 

A few notes. This soup can easily be used as a sauce for fish.  Today I served it as a side of soup to go with some local salmon.  Serve with a dry wwhite or dry Rose wine.  We've been enjoying some fantastic Spanish varietals this year. 
Not sure where to go for wind in Bellingham?  I highly recommend Seifert and Jones. It's my favorite place in town to get a quality wine.  

Here's some pics for us visual folks. 

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