Yet again, a bountiful harvest of vegetables came home. The time came again for cooking ingenuity to use them in tasty ways the Constant Companion and Daughter would enjoy. We ate cucumbers in several formats this past week.
English, or seedless, cucumbers* which tend to be fragile and not last long called out to be used first. One evening, I made a chinese-ish dinner and the cucumbers took a side seat as Smashed Cucumber Salad (see 11-30-2019 post, or this recipe, https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/smashed-cucumbers).
Note: Save the left over dressing when the salad is finished and dress a lettuce salad with it.
*As a child, English cucumbers were a luxury, if even available in the market. We are regular American cukes, whatever their name! My mother carefully chose cukes that were thinner and firmer to the touch from the bin. She believed they contained less liquid than their softer, fatter neighbors. Many cooks cut open these cucumbers and remove the seeds.
Still on an Asian bent, I turned to cucumber kimchi, one of a wide variety of preserved vegetables, mainstays of all Korean cuisine. Again, I would classify the result as Korean-esque dish. I doubt the real item is not close to my interpretation?
Cucumber Kimchi. Salt two English cucumbers chopped in 1-2 inch lengths, place in a bowl for twenty minutes to sweat. Mix together 2-3 julienned carrots with 2-3 chopped scallions, including the green tops, with a sauce made of 2 tbsp pepper flakes, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tbsp grated pear/apple, 1 tbsp honey, 1/2 tbsp. minced shrimps, ½ tsp fish sauce, and ½ tsp grated fresh ginger. Mix together with the cucumbers. Store in a glass container and enjoy.
Moving to another continent, I found a recipe for Green Arugula Gazpacho to use two more cucumbers and a bag of arugula languishing in the vegetable drawer (https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/sippin-green-gazpacho).
Green Arugula Gazpacho. Cut two English cucumbers into 2-3” lengths and puree in a blender with 2 garlic smashed cloves and ½ cup water. Add 2 cups of fresh arugula, 2 cups herbs (parsley, mint, basel), 3 tbsp red wine vinegar and some kosher salt. Finish by slowly adding ¾ cups of olive oil. Again, enjoy with some crusty bread.
Note: I also sauted some beautiful shrimp that evening. Adding a few shrimp or some chopped avocado to your gazpacho is almost icing on the cake!